KillerSites Blog

Business of Web Design

Outsourcing and its’ Impact on Web Designers and Programmers

July 18, 2011


The one great fear any nerd has is the specter of outsourcing – will my job be outsourced to some cheaper part of the world?

Yes, free trade is really not free trade, it’s actually opening up barriers to allow big American, Canadian and European companies to ship jobs to much poorer countries so that they can save money on cheap labor.

The people who benefit are:

  • The executives of the big companies, since they can pay themselves big bonuses. Of course, they are the few who WILL NOT have their jobs outsourced!
  • The hard working people in the poorer countries – people of the west should not bear them any ill will. They are simply trying to earn a living like anyone else.
  • Bankers – who see the stock prices rise in the publicly traded corporations. In fact, it seems the big Wall Street banks were the major force behind outsourcing.

… But it is not all bad for SMART web designers and programmers working in the crumbling west. Read on and learn how!

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Web Design Trends of 2011

December 30, 2010

web design trends 2011

One of the early lessons in my business life was that to make money, you had to figure out the trends going forward.

… You can’t be looking at what was popular last year and you shouldn’t pay too much attention to what might happen 5 years from now – you need to figure out what will be the in thing within the next 12-18 months.

Web Design Trends of 2011

My predictions are as follows:

  1. Android development – this means HTML5 and CSS3
  2. iOS development – this means HTML5 , CSS3 and for programmers: objective C.
  3. Small business website development – this means PHP or Ruby, Javascript/Jquery and learn a blog program like WordPress or a CMS like Drupal. Of course these days, WordPress is pretty much a CMS too.

So there you have it. Concentrate on learning one of these and you should do well this coming year.

Stefan Mischook

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Starting a web design business – two questions.

August 4, 2010


I recently got an email from someone asking about the skills needed to start a web design business:

1. Is it essential to know how to build DATABASE DRIVEN WEB PAGES to become a web designer?

2. Can I start my own simple web designing business without it?

My answer:


You can build a web design business without web programming skills … but it will be harder. That said, learning basic PHP and Javascript will make building your business much easier. Think about it, just about every website out there needs some Javascript and PHP functionality.

Also take into consideration that knowing how to program will allow you to get more jobs and charge more for your time.

Some links to look at:

Web Designers must Learn Programming

How much do web designers earn?

The WordPress Web Design Strategy.

Finally, if you want to be a web programmer, check out my video tutorial package on web programming.

I hope that helps.


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Can old geezers make a living in web design?

June 8, 2010

Once again, an article derived from a question put to me:

What do you offer unemployed 75-years old geezers doing a Flash self-learning approach, to maintain my sanity knowing no company, at my age, will ever offer me gainful income employment ???

Marvin G

Translation: Can old geezers make a living in web design?

Short answer: yes.

… If you train properly.

The best thing about the web design field is that it is very open and not hindered by regulation and formality that we see in many other professions.

In fact, the professional web world is one of the few meritocracies left on this planet – imagine that, skill and talent count!

… It never fails to baffle me why economists and professional stock pickers still have jobs!? Oh yea, they don’t need to produce results!

Anyway …

Flash though, may not be the best route because it is a marginalized aspect of web design and I think with the added pressure from Apple and HTML5 (that supplants some important aspects of Flash) … it will fade even more so. I am NOT saying Flash will disappear, but I think it will be used that much less.

So what is the solution?

First thing, you may want to consider being self employed web designer, start taking on web design jobs. It much more fun anyway! And 2nd, you need to learn the skills of a modern web designer … skills that are used everyday:

– Javascript

The last two on my list may scare you (programming for web designers?), but in fact, it is the key to you getting more jobs and earning more money than the next guy.


I believe that the open nature of the web design profession and the growing demand for websites, combined with some strategic web design training … and yes, geezers will not just make some extra cash, they can make a good living and on their schedule. Remember, with web design, you don’t need to go work for a company.

Thanks for reading,

Stefan Mischook

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Want a job? Become a web professional!

March 13, 2010

web design jobs

A common question that is put to me by aspiring web designers is:

What are the job prospect looking forward, for web designers and web programmers?

Oftentimes, they will mention web templates and other tools/technology that speed up the process of web design, seeing them as potential roadblocks for the profession:

… if these tools keep getting better and making web design easier, who’s going to need web designers?

Let me first start by saying that web designers, programmers, market specialist and all other web professionals are going to become even MORE SOUGHT AFTER, over the next many years.

Why? Simple young nerdlings, everything is jumping onto the Web. Radio stations and newspapers are going bust, magazines and books are going digital … even TV is fragmenting, where video sites like Youtube have huge audiences that rival many traditional TV networks.

But wait, there’s more!

Besides traditional media business having to go online, just about every business (large and small) NEED to have a Web presence. Today, a business without a website is like a home without electricity.

So it’s pretty clear that business needs to be on the Web and so the Web is growing like crazy. But how about them pesky templates and blogs that make putting up a website easy? Well, let me ask you, do you know how to install a blog, set up a database? Do you know how to choose a good domain name, structure a website so that it is search engine friendly? Do you know how to add sound, video, contact forms, forums …. e-commerce systems to a site? Do you know how the design a custom theme for WordPress or Drupal?

… Now, as a web professional you may know how to do some of these things, but what I can tell you with great certainty, is just about all non-web designers no nothing about how to do these things. That’s where a web professional comes in:

– installing that blog.
– customizing the theme.
– adding the forum.

… etc.

Anyway, don’t just take my opinion on this, the LA Times just wrote an article talking about how IT professionals are finding jobs easily.

Now the article doesn’t mention web designers or programmers specifically, but you can be sure they are a serious part of the mix. One thing the article does mention though, is that the more skills you have, the greater chance you will get a job and the more money you will make – something I’ve been pushing for years: web designers need to evolve into 21st century web designers and learn:


.. Just knowing how to design won’t cut it anymore.

Stefan Mischook

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The Future of Web Design as a Career?

February 25, 2010

question about web design


Sometimes change makes people nervous. I got an email from someone recently, who’s been noticing some changes in the web design world and had some fears. Check it out:

I been noticing more ads on the TV and the internet about web site building kits and companies set up to build web sites through the use of templates and prearranged page layout formats to choose from. Since this is on the rise I was wondering in me learning to become a web developer, will this occupation be a dieing breed given all the self help web template sites that are popping up. What are some of the pros and cons of going with a web template based company or a guy who can do it all from scratch like yourself. Any thoughts appreciated.

Best Regards,

So let’s hit the major points:

… will this occupation be a dieing breed given all the self help web template sites that are popping up

Good question. Short answer: no. Couple of quick points:

  1. Many of those website building kits are very, very limited. Though they will satisfy some segment of the population, they only have a small place in the grand scheme of web design things.
  2. Web Templates should not be looked at as competition, instead you should look at them as tools … a way to rapidly produce websites. That said, you will find that many clients will not want to use templates for fear that their website will look like it was built with a template.

I would say that you should be open to using templates and designing from scratch. Some budgets will require templates where other clients will want to spend the extra money on original design work.

In the end, if you want to be competitive, you ought to expand you skills into things like PHP, Javascript and blogs.

Stefan Mischook

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Choosing a web career for people with disabilities.

February 16, 2010


A really interesting question was emailed to me recently by someone that I will call ‘Rick’. Her real name was Jenny, but she wanted to keep that private:

I’ve been trying to make a decision about my career path and I wondered if you could offer me any words of advice?

I have a disability that prevents me from working on-site and I will need to work from home as a freelancer. I’m trying to find out which of these server side technologies will make me more marketable from home as a freelancer …

… Rick goes on to mention a few of the popular web programming languages that he is considering:

  • PHP
  • Ruby
  • Java

The answer and the key points

If you want to work from home, by far and away PHP is your best choice because it is the most widely used language and it is the language that you see small business use more often than not. After PHP, I would give Ruby a go.

… Actually, why not learn both!


Java and .NET are not great choices for stay-at-home freelancers because those technologies are more or less used by larger corporations that more likely than not, will want you to work on site.

Thanks for reading,

Stefan Mischook

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The Web 2.0 Web Designer

January 12, 2010


In the following video, I talk about the skill-sets that modern web designers need to know.

Let me know what you think. Oh yea, a high quality version of this video can be found in the killersites university.

Stefan Mischook

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Pull: The Power of the Semantic Web to Transform Your Business

December 30, 2009


In 1995 David Siegel wrote one of the most important books on web design Creating Killer Websites. He taught in the book, the future of how the Web should look.

Pull: The Power of the Semantic Web to Transform Your Business

… I still have a copy on my bookshelf after all these years.

David is about to release a new book that should also be a ‘killer’ – Pull: The Power of the Semantic Web to Transform Your Business

I’ve just started reading about Pull on David’s new site and I’m anxiously waiting to get my copy of the book. This time around, I’m not going to be late to the game.

From the Amazon editorial:

The first clear guide to the Semantic Web and its upcoming impact on the business world

Imagine that, in 1992, someone handed you a book about the future of something called the World Wide Web. This book claimed that through a piece of software called a “browser”, which accesses “web sites”, the world economy and our daily lives would change forever. Would you have believed even 10 percent of that book? Did you take advantage of the first Internet wave and get ahead of the curve?

Pull is the blueprint to the next disruptive wave. Some call it Web 3.0; others call it the semantic web. It’s a fundamental transition from pushing information to pulling, using a new way of thinking and collaborating online. Using the principles of this book, you will slash 5-20 percent off your bottom line, make your customers happier, accelerate your industry, and prepare your company for the twenty-first century. It isn’t going to be easy, and you don’t have any choice. By 2015, your company will be more agile and your processes more flexible than you ever thought possible.

The semantic web leads to possibilities straight from science fiction, such as buildings that can order their own supplies, eliminating the IRS, and lawyers finally making sense. But it also leads to major changes in every field, from shipping and retail distribution to health care and financial reporting.

Through clear examples, case studies, principles, and scenarios, business strategist David Siegel takes you on a tour of this new world. You’ll learn:

-Which industries are already ahead.
-Which industries are already dead.
-How to make the power shift from pushing to pulling information.
-How software, hardware, media, and marketing will all change.
-How to plan your own strategy for embracing the semantic web.

We are at the beginning of a new technology curve that will affect all areas of business. Right now, you have a choice. You can decide to start preparing for the exciting opportunities that lay ahead or you can leave this book on the shelf and get left in the dust like last time.

Stefan Mischook

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Smart Web Designers Play to their Strengths

December 5, 2009


Once in a while, I will step away from teaching raw web design and web programming and look at things from a broader, more strategic perspective. This is one example of that …

One of the biggest mistakes people often make, is trying to develop skills in areas that they suck in. For example, you maybe good at writing HTML and CSS code, yet you still have a terrible time at making your pages look good.

… Let’s face it, some people just don’t have that artistic/designers eye.

You can read more about in the web magazine

Stefan Mischook

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