Bolton Web Designer
Bolton web designer – that's me, Patrick Taylor, located in the Borough of Bolton (in the town of Horwich actually) and I design websites, so that makes me not only a 'Bolton Web Designer' but a 'Horwich Web Designer' too. I can also design websites for clients in Wigan, Preston, Chorley, Blackburn, Manchester, or any other town or city in the vicinity of Bolton, or Lancashire, or indeed anywhere else in the world. I have web design clients in Australia.
Professional web design
Web design is not a regulated profession. Any person can pronounce themselves to be a professional web designer and build websites for a fee. There's no professional institution, no code of conduct, and no need to be professionally qualified to provide an excellent web design service or, as the case may be, a poor one. Some people who offer their web design services on a professional basis don't seem to have much understanding of how to build a technically sound and effective website, so they take your money and build low quality sites.
They get away with it because their clients often don't appreciate the difference between good and bad any more than they do. If the pages of the website look okay on superficial inspection, everybody's happy. The client pays the fee, confident that the money has been well spent. This is particularly true for small businesses who regard their website as an 'add-on' to their core operations. In fact, the site may quietly be doing more harm than good.
Web developer in Bolton
Web development is a much better definition of the process of creating an online presence for a small business than 'web design', whether in Bolton (see location map inset) or anywhere else. Any prospective client who wants to employ a web developer in Bolton should chose carefully, to make sure the completed site does good, not harm. This rule applies equally to small businesses in Bolton and to clients who require a professionally built website for another purpose.
For people thinking of starting a new website I've provided some guidance in an article titled 'A Layperson's Guide to Starting a New Website' with a checklist of web design basics. But that's just the start. To become successful, a website needs constant attention and continual development, like a garden. And the resources devoted to that attention and development should be invested within a sound framework from the beginning, otherwise time and money is wasted on undoing the damage resulting from earlier errors.
Bolton website examples
When I mention to people in Bolton that I build websites, they often assume I'm into IT. But I'm not. IT experts who try their hand at web design very often make a very bad job of it, because expertise in IT is not the same as expertise in web development. There are some large prestigious organisations in the Borough (who think of themselves as part of the 'Bolton Family') who've employed IT experts to build their sites using over-elaborate content management systems:
- (1) Bolton Council's website (W3C validation, 45 errors*)
- (2) Bolton Hospital's website (W3C validation, no errors*)
- (3) Bolton School's website (W3C validation, 784 errors*)
(*homepage, 17th January, 2008)
It's easy for me to talk, because I don't build large corporate websites, but if those organisations had employed a professionally competent and experienced web developer with a successful track record as lead consultant, their online presence wouldn't be so mundane and full of elementary design errors.
The professional webmaster
[Webmaster = System Administrator]
Client webmastering is often delegated to someone in an organisation who is unaware of the issues involved and who assumes that because the web designers they appoint work from an office and have a full portfolio they are professionally competent to do the job properly. Big mistake. Web design is unregulated with no professional qualifications, and a well marketed service isn't necessarily an effective one.
A professional web designer/developer in Bolton is likely to be working for small businesses who can't afford an in-house webmaster to act in a skilled client role. It's often up to the professional to advise the lay client about the importance of webmastering and for both parties to reach a clear understanding on how this important role will be fulfilled if the website is to contribute to the success of the business.
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[ First published January 6th, 2008 ]