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What is Web Development?

written by: Niki Fears•edited by: Robin L.•updated: 6/30/2011

A basic introduction to web development.

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    You hear the phrase “web development” thrown around a lot; after all, we even have an entire channel dedicated to it and you can find resources, books, and a variety of products and services that all deal with web development; but what exactly is web development?

    The first thing that comes to mind is the design and creation of a web site. This involves choosing or creating a theme and template that will drive the over all look and feel of your web site as well as the actual task of putting the site together. This is certainly a vital part of web development since you will, of course, first need to develop and web developers are great at turning out web sites. The design will greatly impact the success of a web site. If it is simple to read, has user friendly navigation, and serves a useful purpose of some sort for your visitors, they will continue to use your web site. However, web development is much more than just designing the web site.

    Web development incorporates everything that goes into a successful web site beyond just the visual appearance of the site. Functionality, as already mentioned, is very important. Users need to be able to locate the information and various sections of your web site quickly and easily. Web developers also pay a lot of attention to what that content is. Every site, regardless of its size or purpose, must provide content that not only appeals to web site visitors but also helps to distinguish the site and set it apart in the world of search engines and key words. So web developers also spend a lot of effort in finding or creating powerful web site content that can make a site more useful and attract attention from search engines.

    Web developers are also community builders. By utilizing ways of making your site interactive, you help to create a community around your web site which ultimately will deliver more hits to your site which in turn means more exposure for your products, services, or ads. Web development draws on your creative ingenuity and problem solving skills to develop resources and interactive components to make web sites more than just a URL but create a real brand awareness through powerful and dynamic communities.

    Lastly web development also involves tracking and analyzing information about web sites. Watching which pages get more visitors and which are seemingly a flop. Paying attention to information and trends about the visitors you are getting, for example they look for trends such as: Is the web site getting more weekend traffic but not generating many hits during the week? Has there been a marked drop or rise in the number of hits to the site and if so what are some of the likely reasons...seasonal changes, economic climate, competing web sites, etc? Which marketing angles seems to be getting the best results? And what sort of feedback are you getting from your web site visitors? All of this information is gives a vital piece of a puzzle that web developers use to help them decide what is working for a site and what is not inorder to can keep it updated and fresh so that today's web site does not become tomorrow's memory.

    As you can see web development involves a multifaceted process that includes a myriad of components. All of which are necessary to give a web site depth, character, and longevity. And even with all the hard work that goes into web development, for most in this world affectionately called Web Dev it is still a fun and very satisfying endeavor that most engage in out of the pure passion for the art of web development.