It’s a honorable decision to excel in your area of expertise, and it’s even more respectable follow the standards and the latest trends so you can offer your clients the best work that you could come up with. Today, i’ll write a long article about “What it takes to be a good Web Developer”. In order for any client to take you seriously (especially in the Freelancing world, where competition is endless and the wages are becoming lower and lower everyday), by following the methods i describe here, you will be able to get good, steady clients in no time! These are the steps that i followed and never failed me (I managed to collect 500 Euro in my first month of freelancing, working at low rates to prove myself, that’s why i am so based on these methodologies).
Take a good sip of your coffee, light a cigarette and read on.
In order to excel in any niche, you should first make a research of what the client needs. You should always address the needs of a client, for more steady work, and to stay relevant.
There are a few kinds of websites:
- E-commerce Websites (Amazon, eBay, e-store)
- Personal Blogs
- Tutorial and Information Sharing Blogs (Hongkiat, Techwench, and many others)
- Blog Writing Niches (eZine, About.com)
- Video Sharing
- Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest)
But to generalize much better:
- Websites with up to 10 Static Pages (With paypal, contact form etc)
- Personal Blogs with plugins (Intermediate)
- E-Commerce (Hard/Intermediate)
- Full Blown Web Applications (oDesk, Google Mail, Facebook) (Hardest)
The thing is to find what you prefer (I personally prefer building web applications, much more fun) and excel in it. In order to be able to write web applications you must learn:
– a Back-End language (such as PHP)
– a front-end Language (Consider Angular.js, coolest one i found till now)
– XMLHTTPRequest, JQuery AJAX
– A responsiveness tool (Such as jQuery Mobile, Twitter Bootstrap, and others)
Plus that you must have a knack for software design (How do i send the data here without the page reloading? How should i structure the business model? How should i lay out the controllers so i can make Ajax and REST calls to them? figure.).
If you don’t like coding so much, learn some CMS and some e-Commerce software, and plugin with styling techniques on them. There are thousands of clients waiting you to make their next online store. You don’t need much computer experience either, as these have become very simple to manage. There’s a plugin for almost everything you could wish for (provided you took your time to learn the skills so you can modify them to you client’s needs).
Technical and Personal Skills to Have
All niches require a degree of expertise and it will be much better for you in the long term to look for the newest demands of clients (I just jumped to Twitter Bootstrap, and i did not regret the decision not once). But let’s not put a huge burden on your shoulders. You should start with:
- Scripting Languages: PHP / Node.JS ./ Ruby on Rails / Django (oh god please, no ColdFusion)
- Frameworks to make the development process faster (Laravel, CodeIgniter, CakePHP for PHP, Camping,RoR for Ruby,Django for Python)
- Responsiveness Tools Such as jQuery Mobile, Twitter Bootstrap
- Social Media Additions (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest API’s)
- Payment methods such as Paypal or Moneybookers, Skrill etc
Personal Skills to have, in order to succeed, might sound like a cliche to you, but it’s actually real. Clients are looking after motivated and skilled workers like hawks look for prey (not in a bad way though, i appreciate the attention :D), so the following attitudes will get you hired faster than the ones that don’t have it simply stated:
- Motivated (You take initiative, need not be told what to do, try your best to help the client succeed, never turn down work except you are already working)
- Scheduled (For example, i have started sleeping in the day to be compatible with American client’s timezones. Never looked back since then. The pizza store is non-stop anyway :D)
- Desire to Succeed and Gain Skill (Reading manuals, reading documentation, following latest blogs about your desired skills, always willing to learn something new, curious)
- Sociable but Keeping Professionalism (This will not be easy if you are usually introverted though, just try to be appreciative and funny. You can go great lengths by having a client understand and have fun with you. I can close a deal by coming closer to a client much better than if we remained strictly professional. Meetings are a way to socialize and learn new things from your clients.)
- Performing and Quick (If you are a fast writer, and already have snippets/ words / parts of design that you can easily re-use (without infringement to your clients old rights) You can easily raise your income to new levels. Remember, clients want things to happen more than they want “100% original”. They wont get mad for using a 4 pixel dot or 10 lines of common code.
More articles on the way!