HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT WEBSITE DEVELOPER FOR YOUR PROJECT
I want you to get the best value out of your next project, even if that means choosing another developer. Having helped numerous clients who have gotten into a mess with a developer who is absent or not the right fit, I have compiled a list of the most important questions to ask before you hire any website developer.
Choosing the right website developer is a crucial aspect that will decide the fate of your website. With so many options out there (good and bad) it's hard to make an accurate and informed decision.
It's not a one-size-fits-all answer, however. Every customer has different needs and expectations, and every developer has different qualities and skills.
So how do you choose the right developer? It's important to make an informed decision. While price is important, there are a lot more factors that go into making a wise decision. Below you'll find 8 questions I recommend you ask any developer you are considering hiring.
1. Can you provide a list of 3-5 references I can contact?
Any good developer should have at least 3 people they can point you to that they have done work for. While they are likely going to only give you names of people they think will give them a positive review, you'll be surprised at how honest references can be. I recommend contacting the references by telephone, people are most likely to be honest when they are not having to put their feedback into writing. They will also have less time to "prepare" or "craft" something more politically correct.
2. Do you do this full-time and how long have you been doing web design?
There are a lot of DIY solutions out there that can make anyone into a "part-time web developer". It's important you put your website in the hands of someone who is focused on developing websites for clients. If this is the work they do day-in and day-out they are more likely to be up-to-date on technology, trends, and web standards.
3. What is your process?
Every website developer is going to have their own ways of doing things. Knowing what all their process entails will help you choose the developer that better suits your needs. You can ask follow-up questions like "What do I need to provide?", "What is the typical turnaround time?", and "When can you start the project?". These questions will help give you a more realistic set of expectations for your project.
4. What is the typical budget range for your projects? And how are payments broken down for projects?
While these answers can vary greatly from one developer to another, and will likely depend on exactly what functionalities your website will have, it will give you a good range to see if this developer fits your needs. Knowing when payment is due is critical for budgeting your website. Most developers will require a down-payment, but be weary of any developer that requires the full amount up-front.
5. Does the price include making the site mobile friendly?
This question is more important every day. People using a mobile device now accounts for more than half the traffic on a typical website and if your website isn't mobile friendly that could lead to a bad user experience. Some developers build websites that are mobile responsive (which automatically detects the user's device and adjusts your content accordingly) while others tack on a fee to make a "mobile version" of your website, which is typically very paired down and lacks much functionality.
6. Do you offer maintenance or training or post-launch support?
Make sure you look down the road at what will happen once your site is built. It's guaranteed that at some point you will need to make changes or edits to your website. It's important to know before you choose a developer what your options are. Do you want to be responsible? Or do you want the developer to continue to work with you after the website is launched?
7. Who is the contact person and who is doing the work? is anything outsourced or subcontracted out?
When choosing a website developer you might run into anything from freelancers to large agencies. There's also a chance you are talking to a salesperson who outsources all the work overseas. If you are planning a large scale, complex website an agency that has multiple team members that specialize in highly complicated tasks might be the answer. If your website is more simple and straightforward, freelancers or small design companies will most likely better fit your budget. Salespeople who subcontract all their work typically are commission based and rely on high volume over quality.
8. Will you provide any Search Engine Optimization (SEO), indexing or site mapping?
Even if you don't know what these things are, know that they are crucial to the success of your website. SEO is what allows search engines (like Google, Bing or Yahoo) to display your website in their results. Without at least some sort of SEO, no one will find your website. Indexing and site mapping are equally important. These tasks tell search engines what your site is all about. It's more technical than we will get into for the purpose of this article but steer away from any developer who answers no to any of these questions.
WHY CUSTOMERS CHOOSE OGAL WEB DESIGN
I take a very straightforward approach to working with my clients. I have been in the visual communications field for over 15 years, and have a vast knowledge of the industry. But I realize my clients might not speak that "language". I will take the time to personally walk you through your options and help you make sound decisions by helping you have a better understanding of some of the technical aspects of any project.
You can use any of my clients for reference. I will gladly provide you a list of contacts if you would like, but I encourage you to look through my portfolio and reach out to anyone I've done business with. I'm confident any one of my customers will give you an honest assessment.
I want to help you grow and develop a long-term relationship. That means I charge a fair price, I want to provide value to your company and offer many different ways to continue support your website after the build is complete. I understand business, and I want you to get the most out of your investment. I will help you setup goals for a return on your investment and work with you to develop a plan that will help us achieve those. There's nothing more satisfying than when a client tells me their website paid for itself in a matter of weeks or months.
I handle your project personally from top to bottom. This will help me better serve your needs. There is a smaller chance of any of the nuances being lost in translation because I'm not having to pass along the project details to other team members. I want to know about your business and what makes it unique so I can highlight those things in your marketing.
I'm easy to contact. I am invested in your project and will make myself available at your convenience. I hear nightmare stories about absent developers who won't return emails or go missing. You'll have my personal cell phone which you are free to call or text anytime.
I love what I do. Why is that important to you? Because developing powerful websites is my passion. This means I am constantly reading articles, listening to podcasts and further educating myself on an ever-changing technology based industry. It's not uncommon for me to go back to customers and upgrade something at no charge when I have found a better option for them.
I'D LOVE TO WORK WITH YOU ON YOUR NEXT PROJECT.
Do you want me to answer all of these questions for you? Fill out the form below and I'll send you an email with my answers.
WHY CHOOSE OGAL WEB DESIGN?
Unless you plan on being a part-time web developer, building, maintaining and running your own website is difficult. I want to take that task off your plate and partner with you to give you more time to focus on your business. Choosing a developer with experience will ensure your website meets current standards and is easy for users to navigate.