Okay, the title includes the answer, they develop the website, right? That’s correct but let’s go a little deeper into what that entails and explain the term “website developer” can be used loosely and include a range of activities that go beyond development in the engineering sense of the word.
A web developer's job is to create websites, granted and while they are primarily responsible for creating a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate website, some developers also ensure the website performs quickly and can be found on the internet.
The following are some of the primary tasks of typical web developer:
1. Create the Design for the Website
While this is generally handled by two different disciplines, with the rise of visual website tools like Wix and Webflow, the line between designer and developer is getting very blurry. The fact that these two disciplines can be intertwined is actually a great thing in a lot of ways because there is now a more symbiotic relationship between design and development needs. Let’s take visual hierarchy for example: a web developer can not only consider how to structure the page behind the scenes to perform well for SEO and site indexing, they can also ensure that the designs follow these same patterns and save time adjusting when designs move to development.
2. Develop the Website
Okay, duh, but to be clear, this is a lot of work. Whether you’re developing the website with a web development tool like Webflow or you’re coding it from scratch, a lot of work goes into taking those designs and bringing them to life including performing test runs to ensure the site works properly, optimizing media to load quickly, integrating the site with analytic tools to monitor traffic, and creating a mobile responsive version of the site to work on all devices.
3. Optimize the Website
When a website goes live, it is just the beginning. The next step is to make the website as search engine-friendly as possible. A web developer can optimize the website to increase its ranking on search engines. This includes optimizing the website for search engines like Google and mobile devices so that users can find the site and engage with it in a way that actually gets them to convert.
4. User Interface or User Experience
A user interface or the user experience is crucial for ensuring the visitors get a good impression of the site and can navigate it easily. A web developer is responsible for ensuring that the site is user-friendly. This also includes ADA compliance and accessibility. It’s important to consider how ALL users will use your website so if they are using a screen reader, they can consume images with what is called alternate text that describes what is depicted in the image.
5. Troubleshoot Web Applications
Every website goes through minor glitches from time to time. This is when a web developer steps in and troubleshoots the problem before it turns into a significant problem or they find that the site looks great except for one browser (looking at you, Explorer).
7. Animations and Interactions
The web developer sometimes has to be an animator as well. While the designs will inform them what the site looks like and sometimes will include animations, they have to often come up with these and implement them. These can include how elements load as you scroll through the site or how buttons animate when you click on them. All of these choices and execution require a lot of creative skill and technical knowledge, depending on how the website is built.
8. Working on Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is one of the most important aspects of a website. A web developer ensures that the site is well-optimized for search engines like Google. The web developer is responsible for adding the necessary meta tags and keywords to the site content and like stated above, making sure the site loads quickly, is well organized, and is mobile friendly. All of these contribute towards the website’s ranking.
Okay, so web developers are responsible for kind of a lot more than just coding a website. With today’s technology more and more web developers are able to do the jobs traditionally handled by three or more people which is great but also means they need to be skilled in many disciplines and understand how all of them work together to produce the best results.