The web business can be one of those businesses where the primary focus is placed solely on the final look and feel of the website. While that is one of the end goals, it is not the end all, be all of web design and “development”. And development is in quotes because this is what differentiates web agencies.
Let me explain.
Most websites are built on a Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, Magento, and Joomla just to name a few. (Just a side note, WordPress is by far one the best and the largest CMS with 20% of all websites being build on it.)
Content Management Systems have made websites readily available to the general public and it has reduced cost to build a website.
To take things further, companies have been designed around giving people, just about anyone, the ability to build websites using templates with a few points and clicks. Many people who lack the skills of seasoned developers are building websites. And there in lies the problems with today’s web industry.
Designers create the look and feel. Developers write the code that brings the art work to life. They ‘develop’ the methods used to display all the information on a website. Developers coupled with designers are the people who work to give websites there functionality.
Many small agencies can not afford the high cost of hiring a season developer hence, they lack the skill set, experience and comprehensive quality control measures. In fact, most agencies never talk about quality control, or what developers call validation.
While I will always try to avoid industry jargon, this is one term anyone and everyone who runs a website should be familiar with. Validating a website, in its simplest form, is checking a website for errors and warning as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium. Also known as WC3
To keep things simple, errors typically consist of structural problems in the website while warnings tend to consist of issues created by old methods and practices. Warning will become errors once an end of life date has been set by W3C.
Many of these errors and warning will not kill a website, however, they will have a negative impact on your search engine ranking. In other words, it will have an impact on your website’s ROI.
That is just some of the bad news. But the good news is that anyone can check any website for errors and warning by using W3C Validation tool.
With this tool, you can identify issues with your website, let your web guy or gal know there are problems in order to get them fixed and give yourself a competitive advance.
If they say don’t worry about it, and many will, you can take that report to someone who will be transparent about the quality of work they provide and get it done right.
After all, your livelihood is that which should be protected and I’m sure you wouldn’t willingly build your home on a crack foundation.