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How to be a Web Developer

Do not learn html. There are CMS that could make your life easier. Think in a very cheap first investment, no more than $150 and you will get a server for be the next webmaster of your university/job/family.

There are different ways to get some extra money, so this tutorial is focused to do that. And there are three steps to do that, understanding the need, seeing what options do you have to solve that needs, and charge the right money per hour.  

So first, the need.

We are selling a blog, that means, a place (like this) where users upload content, classify it and put a form for contacts. It could be more complex, but remember keep it simple. If you are not a web developer my first recommendation is to keep it simple, don't offer more than the basic stuffs, specially if you don't know how to develop other kind of features. Every time that you want to offer something else, please try to do it first, and this advice is also for the blog.

If you are going to sell blogs, create a blog for you, upload some contents, basic stuffs, it will help you to demonstrate that you can do that kind of things. It is really simple to do, but is hard to prove that you can do something like that without evidence.

Now, the topic, the need. I do not recommend to start paying for publicity on social media or search engines, that is a really good strategy and very cheap, but if you are beginning, after do your blog, is time to start from the bottom.

It means, is a good idea to sell your first 2 web sites very cheap, it doesn’t mean that you have to do it for free. Remember this two site will help you to attract more clients and test you like a developer. So your market will be a couple of friends maybe, a professor from the university or a close family friend, it doesn’t matter, we need someone that can trust in us, not a blind trust, someone who has seen our personal website.

Take a note: Using the concept of personal branding is a very useful way to attract clients, read more about that, see why is it important or what kind of people need it. All that kind of information will help you with your next customer.

So is important to remember that you don’t only need have a good portfolio of products, with your personal site or your two first blogs for your friends, you also need to understand your future clients, what are their reasons for have a website, where are they, what they want, etc.

With all that clear, i recommend you to start thinking in invest with social media or search engines to attract clients, but for that i will write another blog.

Step number #2, what options do you have.

Like i said before, do not learn html. Yes it is important and i am sure that it will be useful for a web developer, but is not the main requirement to be one. There are more options, more easy to learn and with a better performance. I am talking about the CMS, like Drupal or Wordpress, or even Wix. All of them are designed to work with no-developers. They are relative easy to learn.

But there is an other world, the servers. A website live inside a server. A server is a computer in the cloud that allow you to manage content, for example a website. So to manage content you will need a developer server. Yes it is the most technical part of being a web developer. I can not recommend you to work with a cheap server with an FTP access, in fact is better for someone new to start working with a server who give you the possibility to use everything inside it, installing dependencies, using git, ssh access, etc. And most important, you need a server that gives you support, it is really important, in fact this is the main reason to pay a little extra to get a better server.

In my opinion, you can find very good servers, even specified servers depending what are you doing, like Amazon EC2 for managing a lot of data, Acquia for websites made in Drupal, or Pantheon for working in different environments. But in our case of beginners, any of that servers aren’t necessary.

I recommend Webfaction, where for for $10 per month you get 1GB of RAM, 100 GB SSD storage, 1TB of Bandwidth and fully managed server. If you pay for it annually it gets almost $110 with a discount, and if we talk about blogs, you can easy put in there 10 or more, depending in how much big they are.


#3, Charge the right money per hour.

So well, now we can talk about cost of be a web developer, first pay for a good server, and now, pay for domain. This domain, cost me $16 in godaddy for a year. The cost of the server is $110 annually. And they are, no more indirect cost for now.

See, if you sell a website to a friend for $200 (really cheap) you have cover all your indirect cost. Now tell me, how many websites/blogs can you make in a year?.

To evaluate the real price of a product you need to see many things, first of all is to evaluate your costs, in our case they are very cheap, principal because we are not considering the cost of the computer or a salary. I recommend you to use open source, so don’t think in an extra cost for particular software.

Now we can also think about the price of an hour. In theory when you get more experience doing websites they become easier to do. So for your website number three you know how long it will take to develop it, for example let's say 80 hours, one week, five days working 8 hours each day.

Now see how much a web developer junior get per month in your city, here in Madrid it is $1200 for work 8 hours in a month. If you see that you are working a quarter of that time, that means $300. That is your direct cost, for more time working, more money.

Now added it the cost of the domain of your client, maybe other $16. And a portion of your indirect cost. If you do a blog per month, then adds twelfth part of your indirect cost, let's say $20.

  • Cost of the development: $300

  • Cost of the client domain: $20 (get a feed for the configuration)

  • Cost for the server: $20 (annually) (but is inside your server)

Now take in count how are the market is in your area, i mean, maybe your cost are $300 but outside people are paying $600 for a blog, then think about it,(be carefull, see what you can do) and maybe give a better offer, that margin will help you to negotiate.



So, I hope this blog give you some ideas about how is the web development world. It is very easy, and with practice it become more and more easy, i will make a tutorial about how to manage the Webfaction server, how to configure a godaddy domain,  how to make your first basic drupal 8 site, and more. But all that information is already on the web, go ahead and make your own research, is not difficult. Good luck.