Business - Success

Any successful transaction relies on the following:

  1. Clearly defining the product or service to be delivered
  2. Understanding what it costs to deliver it
  3. Doing the work well

Easy mistakes:

  • Optimism - unrealistic agreements
  • Scope creep - allowing the product or service to change beyond what can be absorbed by the cost of delivery
  • Pursuit of perfection - failing to limit the delivery to what was agreed upon in an effort to do an outstanding job at the expense of the provider
  • Incompetence - inability of the provider to deliver due to lack of skill
  • Poor cost control - this begins with the estimate or price. It must reflect the actual cost to deliver the product or server. Through the entire project, those costs must be tracked to keep the project within the budget and provide data for future projects
  • Team failure - Failure of the team to work cohesively

Organization - Titles and Roles

Titles and roles define an organization.

Titles reflect the responsibilities, and there is a fairly standard hierarchy:

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Team Leader/Senior Team Member
  • Team Member

These titles confer implicit authority, and if enforced by upper management, explicit authority.

It is extremely important to match the title with the skills of the holder, in order to balance the team. For example, if there is a junior manager, and a senior technical person, all parties should understand when the manager’s decision is final, and when the senior person is responsible for ensuring that the best technical approach is followed. Failure to establish these roles prevents the important checks and balances of a strong team, or creates an environment where team members are bypassed to avoid conflict, to the detriment of the project.

Titles which are inflated, for any reason, defeat the organization. Even if it is an interim assignment, if the title holder is not well-suited for their post, problems will arise. An undeserved promotion is difficult to undo, and can have serious long-term consequences.

It’s impossible to construct the perfect team, so in addition to the formal assignment of titles and roles, the team members’ strengths and weaknesses must be considered.

The starting point should be the company’s mission statement. After all, the objective of the team is to fulfill the mission of the company, or some element of it. Once the mission is broken out into tangible pieces, identifying who is best at delivering them is next. Care should be taken to ensure the flow of deliverables is properly managed by those best qualified.

Common job titles/roles and requisite skills in the web

Graphic designer/Web designer/Designer
Builds a visual interface – an image
Skills
Adobe PhotoShop
Adobe Illustrator
Art / color / design
User interface knowledge

Web developer
Usually converts the comp or image into XHTML/HTML/CSS
Skills
XHTML
HTML
CSS
Able to prepare images for the web
Able to use javascript to support rich interfaces

Internet/LAMP engineer
Usually makes the site work – provides all backend support to get the HTML from the server to the browser
Skills
HTML/CSS – basic competence
LAMP – understanding of the whole stack
Strong logic
Able to install a commercial application and make it run
Able to help a developer customize an application

DBA
No explanation needed

Content Editor
Responsible for posting content
Skills
Strong written communication
Should be able to associate images with text
Able to connect content with links, reusing it efficiently

SEO
Responsible for setting up a site to get the best possible search engine positioning
Skills
Able to follow the instructions at Google/Yahoo, etc
Should be able to handle basic Linux commands
Advise content editor

Server admin
No further explanation needed

Site admin
Handles issues like setting up email accounts, supporting clients

SEO

Search Engine Optimization

If you are planning to rely on search engines to deliver the bulk of your site visitors, you should first learn about how search engines help people find web resources. You may want to reevaluate your strategy.

As far as I know, there is no absolute, sure fire way to gain high ranking in search engines without purchasing a sponsored link. My recommendation is to focus on building a good site that meets your business objectives.

Resources:
http://www.google.com/webmasters/
http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/search/

If you are an optimist, with a sense of humor, you can purchase a Site Flag …

http://site-flags.wirehopper.com/

:)

What is a Web Site?

A web site is a technical service.

It isn’t a product.

It requires some technical skill.

It can be simple or complex, big or small, busy or idle, pretty or bland, functional or frivolous.

It can be a technical or artistic success and a business failure, or a business success but a technical/artistic disaster.

So - before you start working on a site, ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I trying to do with this site?
  • Who am I trying reach?
  • What do I want to tell these people or allow them to do?
  • How can I measure the success of my site?
  • How much money do I have?
  • How am I going to maintain the site?
  • How much do I want to spend maintaining the site?
  • How long will this site last?
  • How much do I want to spend on hosting?
  • Can I host it in my office?
  • Do I want to hire a person to run my site or outsource it?
  • Will I use email?
  • Who will help me when I have problems?
  • Are there security issues I should be aware of?
  • Do I need to process credit cards?
  • Are there laws that must be observed?
  • Can I send out newsletters?

There are alot of questions. Get answers from several people. Decide which ones you like best. Listen, and ask more questions.

Good luck.