One of the questions I get asked quite frequently is, ‘How can anyone have in-depth experience in all these different areas of the web?’ This is my attempt to explain.
There’s always more to learn
There’s a misconception floating around that you can only be good at design OR development OR content writing OR marketing OR search engine optimisation. I’m a firm believer that if you work in any aspect of the web industry, you should learn as much as possible, and do as many relevant things as possible. It can only help you. As design, development, SEO etc. are all fundamentally connected, you’re at a big disadvantage if you have blind spots.
When I started learning web design, I was fourteen. At that age, and at a time when only geeks had heard of Google, content management systems didn’t exist, and most company websites were just contact details, you did everything yourself. If you couldn’t do it, you went without. Instead of it being a restriction, it fuelled the existing community.
If you couldn’t do it, you went without. Instead of it being a restriction, it fuelled the existing community.
Most people did their own design, promotion, content and development from scratch…and whilst strengths, weaknesses and preferences obviously still existed, most webmasters had extensive practical experience and understanding of all the key elements of a website. As the web has expanded and developed, people are increasingly specialising in one or two areas and aren’t as self-sufficient as they were previously. Whilst this obviously allows people to focus on what they enjoy and what they’re good at, it can also lead to a lot of problems if they only have basic understanding in other areas.
If you’re employing someone in the web industry, you need to have confidence in their decision making skills and reasoning. You need to be able to ask ‘Why?’ and get a well-informed, logical answer. You need to know that they aren’t working on theoretical assumptions and trusting their colleagues to fix mistakes. You need to know that they understand the impact of their choices from all angles and not just the area they primarily specialise in.
Jenni of all trades
My strongest commercial areas are writing for the web, search engine optimisation (SEO) and social media, followed by design and development. I don’t believe that ranking for your own name makes you good at SEO, I don’t believe installing WordPress makes you a web developer, and I don’t believe that having a blog automatically makes you a good writer.
If you’d like to find out more about my views and experience, feel free to check out the rest of this site.