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How to become a website designer

Although every young web designer starts their journey from the same place, taking suggestions from the veterans in the industry goes a long way in treading the first few steps. From there, you have to write your own story. There are a lot of new creative minds trying to set their feet in the web design business. However, in a market that is already saturated, it is not easy to leave a solid mark. The right skills, expertise, intelligent decisions, and of course a spark of luck, is really what is required to reach your goal.

What really is a professional website designer?

A professional website designer is a computer professional who produces a website using web programming languages. Their job is to assemble websites, content and graphics creatively using technology, tools and computer software. These websites visually communicate ideas and information to the consumers/clients.

The projects undertaken by website designers usually include developing company websites, managing networks and servers, learning how the ICANN system works and how DNS is used in domains, creating company internal sites, managing social media sites, writing personal and professional blogs, and much more depending on the specific application. They are very engaged in creating content for search engines and social media like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, web pages, and usually have a say in the graphic design portion of the creative.

What makes a successful website designer?

Here are a few tips that will help you in establishing your career as a professional website designer:

Get professionally qualified

Though creativity is a natural flair, technical education is a must in almost any field. There are some steps one should go through before starting as a website designer.

  • Get a formal education – Undergo a formal training in the field of graphic design, web design, or visual communication.
  • A college degree or an associate degree would be helpful in knowing the fundamentals in this area. Design software like Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver are requisites for any website designer to learn and master. Other IDE softwares work. This can be accompanied by new tools and application knowledge as a supplement.
  • If a college or a diploma course does not seem feasible due to financial reasons, do your own self-study using textbooks and the vast sea of knowledge on the internet. Some great options for self-learning are Treehouse, Lynda.com, SkillShare, Kelby One, Creative Live, Codecademy, W3Schools and more.

Run your own network

We can’t stress how critical it is that a website designer have their own tools. That means their own network. This network needs to be a dedicated resource from a reliable hosting company like TurkReno Incorporated where there are no clouds and no shared environments. You can’t do this at somewhere like GoDaddy as they don’t sell anything but crap. It is absolutely essential that you begin learning how to harden a website as soon as possible to prevent intrusions and security flaws.

Learn the top web platforms

The more diverse you can get with different web platforms, the more successful you will be. These web platforms include:

  • Basic HTML5 – HTML runs the web. You should know this well enough to eventually write it on a blank sheet of paper.
  • WordPress – WordPress controls over 50% of the public Internet and is one of the most popular platforms available. There are millions of plugins that result in millions of different types of sites you can make, too.
  • Joomla – Joomla is a solid CMS that rivals WordPress. It has similar functionality, but is more focused towards the skills of the developer.
  • Drupal – Drupal is the most difficult of the three CMS’s as it relies entirely on your knowledge of programming. This also makes this CMS the most customizable.
  • Magento – This is one of the most popular eCommerce CMS platforms and is a good start for those who want a solid eCommerce web design platform.

Specialize in a niche

The arena and scope of website design are vast, and therefore, it is better to specialize into a particular stream. Secondly, with the market being flooded with designers of this niche, specialization could give you the edge in the competition. For example, some young professionals could opt for an addition in multimedia, print, animation, and advertising. Weigh all the pros and cons before taking the plunge into your field of specialization.

Keep reading and learning

Every successful person we know doesn’t stop learning. Even after the completion of any formal training, keep reading about the new design tools and applications that launch. It gives an insight into the industry changes, makes you more confident and gives clients a better impression if you are updated with the latest innovations in the web design field. Keep practicing to improve your expertise.

Stay updated with tools and technology

The recommended tools for application by website designers’ are:

  • Adobe creative cloud programs – These include Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Muse, and Dreamweaver
  • A reliable operating system – Use a good platform where designs can be made, applications can be downloaded and design programs can be run efficiently. We prefer MacOS.
  • A notepad and pen – This should be accompanying the web designer everywhere he goes. Rough sketches and points can be noted to use for ideation later.
  • Tablet or notebook – Though optional, this device comes handy when on the move or when quick changes have to be made.

Start small

As a newbie, it is best advised to start will lower means, keeping a low profile. One can easily start from home to save costs and look into the various avenues of freelancing sites. Investments should be made step by step once the revenues start flowing. In this process of starting small will help you discover your talent and then you can specialize in working in that stream. Grab any job, however small that comes your way, as it is your next step to the level ahead!

Market yourself well

Make an attractive portfolio of your work, highlighting your strengths and achievements. Since it is the designing world, it should be strong enough to grab attention. Also, try expertise in one field. It could be web development or blogging on technical issues or any other field you enjoy working in. Try and create a niche, so that when a company is looking for someone to design a website, it is only you that come to the mind. So basically: Leave an impact. At this stage, one has to put the best foot forward and try and deliver better than the client’s expectations and much before the deadline. This will leave the customer impressed and happy and would recommend your work to other organizations in future.

Dare to dream

It is not the most qualified that are the most successful in the field. Knowledge is necessary but how to employ it, and how creatively you can design is what makes the best stand out. Do not be afraid to take risks, challenging projects and nail gritting deadlines. Deliver good work and charge for it. Be confident in yourself and let it radiate in your personality and work. Who knows, after a few years, your story might shape the future of other young designers.

Stay updated

This is a highly vital point in this competitive and constantly challenging scenario where technology is being developed and dumped every minute. You have to be aware of the advances and developments in the web design arena. Listen to people, be alert, sign up on the social networks, meet the peers in the industry, read design journals, and make a note of any interesting web design you spot at any public place. You can use this for inspiration later.

In conclusion, the website design market is a hard niche to crack. It requires significant dedication, skill and business/marketing intelligence to make a name for yourself, and build enough credibility to earn a comfortable income. The results are worth it, though, working from home in your pajamas is only part of the dream!

GoDaddy sucks. Period. If it isn’t obvious to you from the smutty campaigns with Danica Patrick, supposed President and former CEO “Bob Parsons” having ‘secrets’ like, “The SECRETS to finding and hiring GREAT employees. + 2 Smoking-Hot Go Daddy Girls!”, while being totally sexist and a general creeper, poor advertising in general or the absolutely crappy hosting plans they over-sell hosting nodes on, then we need to talk. This has been a long time coming from us as timing is everything. We wanted to make sure that we took proper precautions to protect ourselves, our intellectual property and free speech as what we’re pissed off about is far from acceptable and borders on near to criminal on Go Daddy, Inc.’s behalf. So to make it crystal clear, this is an account of our experience and not some random slanderous prose on who to hate.

GoDaddy

Might as well preface this with: A) It’s technical, B) It’s personal, and C) We gave them ample opportunity to make this problem right before we had to take the issue into our own hands. And in light of recent SOPA problems with GoDaddy, we hope this testimonial is even more of a reason that you don’t use their service. Speaking of, their real CEO, Warren Adelman, put out a statement about SOPA stating that because the Senate couldn’t come to a consensus that GoDaddy was no longer supporting SOPA. Read that again if you need to figure out why we’re astonished or read the whole article about SOPA and GoDaddy sucking. Now, on to the show!

We affiliated ourselves with GoDaddy, a.k.a. GoDaddy.com or Go Daddy, Inc., as an ICANN domain provider back in 2006 before we went public and as a reseller in 2008 to offer competitive pricing and an alternative storefront when we did begin offering public services. As a reseller, they take one of their other companies, Starfield Technologies as well as Wild West Domains (remember this name, it’s key to what went wrong) and have your WHOIS/Registration information pass through them. Since then, we’ve obviously learned that there are just as viable alternatives to domain acquisition and purchases than dealing with GoDaddy, often for pennies more or less. And our network continues to grow.

Looking for a way to keep costs the same or lower and provide the same if not better service, we looked at integrating what was called GoDaddy’s AnyCast DNS now called ‘Premium DNS’. We suspect that they stopped calling it ‘AnyCast DNS’ because you can’t serve DNS from one datacenter and honestly call it AnyCast… sort of a technical oxymoron. This was to be used as an extension of our services and as an alternative to running solely our own network of DNS servers. We didn’t jump in with both feet, but we were deep enough to start losing air before it was too late.

We called and spoke to a sales representative about their services a long time ago, long before our trust was broken and our issue ever occurred. At the time, we declined moving forward with their DNS service because there was no way to CNAME or create a hostname for the servers that matched a domain name of our own as we said a moment ago. When GoDaddy added the ‘vanity name servers’ bit to the DNS service, we were more interested. We called back several months later and spoke to a sales representative that we had make sure with her supervisor her statement was accurate and ordered the Premium DNS service because we were able to not hand out a string like a CDN does. At the time, we had been hosting our own servers and wanted at least one extension off of that for even more redundancy. Since we already had our .com at GoDaddy at the time with the core hostnames coming from GoDaddy, it was easy to say yes to testing out something for like $2.99 a month since we were paying much more than that per DNS server.

Before I get too far into this, a very important part of hosting relies on DNS. DNS to the layman is a server or network system which broadcasts the IP address or location of a server by converting the name of a top-level domain like turkreno.com into an IP address. DNS serves out usually every request that goes through a network and it also plays a very large part in the latency, or speed, in which content is found. There are times when a network is undiscoverable or slow just because of routing issues with backbone service providers. Those providers in the United States, such as AT&T, Global Crossing, Layer3 and others actually run the flow of the Internet and usually own the fiber optic cable on which it runs. So, when a DNS server does a query, the response or reply may tell your traffic to go to Washington first, because that’s where the first router is between you and the domain that resolved and the server you’re asking for, then further “hops” to other locations until your request reaches its destination. Having multiple servers, or an AnyCast-type network, that are within multiple datacenters around the world where those backbones are routed through provides what’s known as a Point-of-Presence (POP) and will decrease latency since the answer is locally cached to that router. In a worst cast scenario, the traffic where a network client requests a site that isn’t cached by the ISP, which is the usual case, the router may have to search or query the router ahead of it to search for a resolving DNS server, thus creating latency. Speed is of the essence and maybe that explains why this improvement is important for any network.

Digressing back to what happened is most likely easier if we just put it into a handy mind map and bullet out the entire issue here for those who don’t want to view a huge PDF. For months this issue was up on the whiteboard in the office and it took precisely that long to fix all of the screwed up issues that happened. We ended up making a mind map chart of what went wrong and we’ll go from there.

GoDaddy Network Failure Mind Map

GoDaddy Network Failure Mind Map

 

PDF of the Mind MapMP3 of the Voicemail

We spent hours on this with them. Hours we want back from our lives. Maybe we can save you some time. Switch hosting to us, we’re not on GoDaddy’s crappy 4GH Network or whatever they want to call it. Or maybe you want to contact the Office of the President for GoDaddy. No problem, here’s all of their contact info:

E-Mail: president@godaddy.com

Phone: 408-505-8828

CEO: Warren Adelman

Alt. Numbers to GoDaddy Corporate Offices: 408-505-8800

So, when you think of DNS hopefully GoDaddy won’t be the first that comes to mind. We’ve got an awesome platform setup to accommodate multiple types of needs, including those of web masters using Linux or WHM/cPanel. Contact us if you’re interested. It’s private for the time being, but will be live soon.

Don’t trust GoDaddy with your DNS, their SysAdmins know NOTHING of how to complete a ticket and they COULD be stealing your traffic, or worse, blocking it because their tech support knows NOTHING.

The great evil of the modern day Internet: SOPA. The Stop Online Piracy Act, or as it’s formally known H.R. 3261, which threatens Freedom of Speech and Expression on the Internet. The Bill titles itself with the very false objective – “To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.” – and it’s the “Other purposes” as usual we’re all worried about. Blocking a site at the DNS level is one of the primary concerns. The other concerns that we’ve heard and see online are the linking of one site to a site that is infringing against Copyright laws. With SOPA marked as it is now, the whole site would be taken down rather than the offending content. What ever happened to the DMCA? Wasn’t that good enough? Apparently not.

This Act, when read in further detail, not only pressures Internet Service Providers like TurkReno to make rather extraneous measures to filter content and national providers of ICANN services to block a domain that they blacklist from search engine results and beyond. If they passes it to the US Senate then you can expect more than one derivative of its kind following SOPA. You see, it’s failed before. And, like a bad cold, this is another variant. Here’s the best summary from Wikipedia that shows what it was and how it’s moving:

The PROTECT IP Act is a re-write of the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), which failed to pass in 2010. A similar House version of the bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was introduced on October 26, 2011.

GoDaddy

What’s disgusting about this is that GoDaddy, one of the largest ICANN domain registrars was, and under speculation still is, supporting the writing of this Act. They crafted it themselves. And then they release a press release today stating they would not further support SOPA, but we don’t trust it and neither should you. If they knew what they were getting themselves into, then it’s clear that their Executives are bluffing their way into keeping business. What really matters here is that they see the big picture. GoDaddy isn’t the only registrar.

And, with as much content as GoDaddy hosts, and over-sells (see Caption 1), they’d shut down 5,000 to 6,000, yes – THOUSAND, customers at a time per ONE (1) SOPA takedown order.

And here’s what they had to say:

GoDaddy No Longer Supports SOPA

Looks to Internet Community & Fellow Tech Leaders to Develop Legislation We All Support

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Dec. 23, 2011) – Go Daddy is no longer supporting SOPA, the “Stop Online Piracy Act” currently working its way through U.S. Congress.

“Fighting online piracy is of the utmost importance, which is why Go Daddy has been working to help craft revisions to this legislation – but we can clearly do better,” Warren Adelman, Go Daddy’s newly appointed CEO, said. “It’s very important that all Internet stakeholders work together on this. Getting it right is worth the wait. Go Daddy will support it when and if the Internet community supports it.”

Go Daddy and its General Counsel, Christine Jones, have worked with federal lawmakers for months to help craft revisions to legislation first introduced some three years ago. Jones has fought to express the concerns of the entire Internet community and to improve the bill by proposing changes to key defined terms, limitations on DNS filtering to ensure the integrity of the Internet, more significant consequences for frivolous claims, and specific provisions to protect free speech.

“As a company that is all about innovation, with our own technology and in support of our customers, Go Daddy is rooted in the idea of First Amendment Rights and believes 100 percent that the Internet is a key engine for our new economy,” said Adelman.

In changing its position, Go Daddy remains steadfast in its promise to support security and stability of the Internet. In an effort to eliminate any confusion about its reversal on SOPA though, Jones has removed blog postings that had outlined areas of the bill Go Daddy did support.

“Go Daddy has always fought to preserve the intellectual property rights of third parties, and will continue to do so in the future,” Jones said.

Here’s the great crux in this Press Release: SOPA has not been introduced to the US Senate. And it’s a reaction, not something they’ve done after hearing the SOPA proceedings. As celebrities threatened to leave GoDaddy, they pushed this out to stop the bail out. It’s a House of Representatives Bill. As stated on the US House of Representatives Website under “How Are Laws Made?” this answer can be found (We’re at the In Committee phase):

Laws begin as ideas. First, a representative sponsors a bill. The bill is then assigned to a committee for study. If released by the committee, the bill is put on a calendar to be voted on, debated or amended. If the bill passes by simple majority (218 of 435), the bill moves to the Senate. In the Senate, the bill is assigned to another committee and, if released, debated and voted on. Again, a simple majority (51 of 100) passes the bill. Finally, a conference committee made of House and Senate members works out any differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The resulting bill returns to the House and Senate for final approval. The Government Printing Office prints the revised bill in a process called enrolling. The President has 10 days to sign or veto the enrolled bill.

Anyone with half a brain can see this is just a PR stunt on GoDaddy’s behalf. Maybe even the protection of the recent additional DNSSEC properties which don’t totally jive with their product offerings. And admittedly DNSSEC doesn’t really jive with SOPA either, but it’s their main point of pressure to go after when attempting to take down a domain aside from seizing the name registration itself.

And the kicker to both Go Daddy and the rest of the world? DNSSEC is all controlled by IANA, Verisign, the gTLD (Generic Top-Level Domain) registrar for ALL .com and .net domains, acknowledging these Zone directives. ICANN and the U. S. Department of Commerce. Don’t believe me? http://www.root-dnssec.org.

Either way, this is part one of a few more that will outline why GoDaddy is failing as a company and why we believe that it’s not in your best interests to continue to do business with them.

Update 1/5/2012: GoDaddy, in all of it’s uncanny glory, has released a statement from CEO Warren Adleman. They don’t support SOPA because the representatives could not reach a consensus. I like one of the comments that state that “transparency should be a two-way street and not a one-way mirror”. Here’s the statement:

Go Daddy opposes SOPA because the legislation has not fulfilled its basic requirement to build a consensus among stake-holders in the technology and Internet communities. Our company regrets the loss of any of our customers, who remain our highest priority, and we hope to repair those relationships and win back their business over time.

Still don’t trust them. Part two coming soon.

PlayStation Network Down

Sony has released a Questions list that can be found here: http://us.playstation.com/support/answer/index.htm?a_id=2356

  • April 19th – Amazon:

Dear Amazon Web Services Customer,

We’re excited to announce the launch of live HTTP streaming for Amazon CloudFront, AWS’s easy-to-use content delivery network.

Using Amazon CloudFront with Amazon EC2 running Adobe’s Flash Media Server and Amazon Route 53 (AWS’s DNS service), you can now easily and cost-effectively deliver your live video via AWS. And, we’ve made it simple to get started by creating an AWS CloudFormation template that handles all of the provisioning and sequencing for all the AWS resources you need for this live streaming stack.

Portal 2 on Steam, XB360 and PS3, SOCOM 4 Launches.

  • April 20th – GigaOm:

The first graph gives an idea of normal Amazon EC2 response times over the last 30 days, but notice the US-EAST region start to spike at April 20.

The outage that affected a hundreds of applications running in the provider’s US-EAST region is almost resolved, more than 24 hours after a “networking event” took down a number of popular services, including EC2, Elastic Block Storage and Relational Database Service.

We continue to see progress in recovering volumes, and have heard many additional customers confirm that they’re recovering. Our current estimate is that the majority of volumes will be recovered over the next 5 to 6 hours.

First 24 hours of outage (worldwide)

EC2 Outage

Foursquare, Quora, Amazon, Sony, Apple, Reddit, Hootsuite, Wattpad – All went down.

  • April 21st – Sony:

While we are investigating the cause of the Network outage, we wanted to alert you that it may be a full day or two before we’re able to get the service completely back up and running.

  • April 22nd – Sony:

An external intrusion on our system has affected our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services.

  • April 22nd – ZDNet:

Amazon’s Web Services outage: End of cloud innocence?

  • April 24th – 1:42 AM Amazon:

Service disruption: Database instance connectivity and latency issues

In line with the most recent Amazon EC2 update, we wanted to let you know that the team continues to be all-hands on deck working on the remaining database instances in the single affected Availability Zone. It’s taking us longer than we anticipated. When we have an updated ETA or meaningful new update, we will make sure to post it here. But, we can assure you that the team is working this hard and will do so as long as it takes to get this resolved.

At the time, Amazon’s AWS Service Health Dashboard was at red.

  • April 24 – 2:08 PM Amazon:

The number of Database Instances without access continues to reduce steadily. As the access to these remaining database instances is restored, they will become usable without additional action on your end. If your Database Instance is not yet available, you also have the option to initiate a Point-in-time-Restore operation using the steps outlined in our previous post at 10:08 AM PDT. We are in the process of contacting this small set of customers who still do not have access to their Database Instances.

  • April 25 – 8:20AM Sony:

I know you are waiting for additional information on when PlayStation Network and Qriocity services will be online. Unfortunately, I don’t have an update or timeframe to share at this point in time.

As we previously noted, this is a time intensive process and we’re working to get them back online quickly. We’ll keep you updated with information as it becomes available. We once again thank you for your patience.

  • April 25 – 7:39PM Amazon:

We are digging deeply into the root causes of this event and will post a detailed post-mortem.

Amazon and Sony appear to be taking a very similar approach. So was the attack on the PlayStation Network, on Amazon Web Services, or are they one in the same? The answer is: No, they are not.

Others blame Anonymous who had taken credit for a separate hacking attempt earlier in the month towards SCEA. Some believe that this is also partially motivated by Geohot’s impending court rulings. First IANAL, but it would seem there’s a certain level of legality that has been crossed. Clearly he’s not getting hired right now by Sony at the moment because he’s probably being prosecuted by the US DOJ because he’s IN FEDERAL COURT. When a Corporation files a complaint of that caliber, especially one with a DMCA, Copyright Infringement and allegations of Computer Fraud and other crimes, that could be the act of a number of different things including faking the identify of Sony, misuse of the Sony logo or other things that we’ll never hear about. “Geohot” may deserve what’s coming to him just like any one who has walked across a line that fine. He alone will decide what he does with his life at that point.

A lot of people have been rooting for Google to bring a new method of verification to Google Webmaster Central and today, we have it: DNS Verification. We’ll explain how to properly set this record for WHM in just a moment (as a server or VPS admin), but the technique should be all the same. Here’s what Google had to say, read on after the blog to find out how to do it yourself.

DNS Verification FTW Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:16 PM Webmaster Level: Advanced

A few weeks ago, we introduced a new way of verifying site ownership, making it easy to share verified ownership of a site with another person. This week, we bring you another new way to verify. Verification by DNS record allows you to become a verified owner of an entire domain (and all of the sites within that domain) at once. It also provides an alternative way to verify for folks who struggle with the existing HTML file or meta tag methods.

I like to explain things by walking through an example, so let’s try using the new verification method right now. For the sake of this example, we’ll say I own the domain example.com. I have several websites under example.com, including http://www.example.com/, http://blog.example.com/ and http://beta.example.com/. I could individually verify ownership of each of those sites using the meta tag or HTML file method. But that means I’d need to go through the verification process three times, and if I wanted to add http://customers.example.com/, I’d need to do it a fourth time. DNS record verification gives me a better way!

First I’ll add example.com to my account, either in Webmaster Tools or directly on the Verification Home page.

On the verification page, I select the “Add a DNS record” verification method, and follow the instructions to add the specified TXT record to my domain’s DNS configuration.

When I click “Verify,” Google will check for the TXT record, and if it’s present, I’ll be a verified owner of example.com and any associated websites and subdomains. Now I can use any of those sites in Webmaster Tools and other verification-enabled Google products without having to verify ownership of them individually.

If you try DNS record verification and it doesn’t work right away, don’t despair!

Sometimes DNS records take a while to make their way across the Internet, so Google may not see them immediately. Make sure you’ve added the record exactly as it’s shown on the verification page. We’ll periodically check, and when we find the record we’ll make you a verified owner without any further action from you.

DNS record verification isn’t for everyone—if you don’t understand DNS configuration, we recommend you continue to use the HTML file and meta tag methods. But for advanced users, this is a powerful new option for verifying ownership of your sites.

As always, please visit the Webmaster Help Forum if you have any questions.

Posted by Sean Harding, Software Engineer

So! Now, you may be onboard or you may be very confused. No worries. Let’s explain the anatomy of a TXT, or text, record.

name  ttl  class   TXT     text

With this in mind, you can easily SSH and dig txt domain.com, or go to http://www.kloth.net and do a DIG for TXT, to the domain of your choice. We originally speculated that you can have multiple TXT records, and you can. The trick, however, is in the name of the TXT record. Your TXT record name much match the CNAME of the domain that you are trying to create the record for or else it will not show up in the answer section of a DNS lookup. Therefore, let’s use turkreno.com as an example:

turkreno.com.  14400  IN  TXT  “google-site-verification: asdfasdlkfaslkjas2f2f2f2kfkjf2jkfkj2fkj2f”

Just make sure that you have a matching CNAME to the name of your TXT record and put your Google Site Verification in quotation marks, and you should be good to go! Post us some feedback if you have other ways on other DNS systems that this should be done and we’ll approve your comment!