Nowadays, building a website can be fairly easy what with all the drag-and-drop features, custom themes, and plug-and-play options to get your domain online. This may be fine and dandy if your goal is to build a site to share photos and stories with loved ones. But if you are a business owner and your objective is to have a website that attracts consumers and converts viewers into buyers, you are going to need something more sophisticated built by a professional with a background in search marketing. Whether you are considering a creative website development agency that offers SEO and marketing automation services, or a freelancer working from his home office, knowing how to choose a web developer can save you time and money. Here are five considerations to take on board when shopping for your web dev guy.
1. Hire a Website Developer Whose Skills Pair With Your Needs
First things first, you need to ask yourself what it is you really want. Often, business owners will tell web developers “I want a cool-looking modern website”, or “I want a site that will make me rank on page one of Google”. But 9 out of 10 times they want a website that will, ultimately, make them money or improve their branding. Let’s assume you want both of these. So when you interview web developers ask them questions like these:
- How does website architecture matter in sales conversions?
- What design elements work specifically to attract buyers in my industry?
- I want my interns to run a blog; can you design a site with features easy enough for them to publish their own content?
- Do I need a website that performs well on mobile devices, and can you build one?
From a first glance, a website can look amazing and aesthetically pleasing, but if it isn’t designed to deliver according to your needs, you are left with a pretty digital business card that nobody will ever find. When you look for your ideal developer, learn how to find creatives capable of combining their set of skills to help you achieve your specific goals.
2. What Kind of Technical Skills Should Your Website Developer Have?
The best website developers will have a wide range of technical skills. Not all websites are designed to do the same thing, so being able to build to a client’s specific needs makes any web dev guy stand out in the crowd. Skills your developer should have include:
- Adobe Photoshop / Adobe Illustrator
- HTML / HTML5
- CSS / SCC3
The ability to both code and design using these will make a developer a desired candidate. He would also have an advanced knowledge of WordPress. If you need an eCommerce website, then then Magento and BigCommerce should be at the top of your requirements.
3. How Fast does the Developer Respond?
If your website ever gets hacked, experiences some errors, or for whatever reason it isn’t performing, your developer needs to be on the ready to respond quickly because in this case time offline translates to loss of earnings. Clearly, your developer has other clients who also have needs that need to be handled diligently. Ask your candidates if they can comfortably take you on as a client and offer quick turnaround times on tasks. Ask him or the agency what their available hours are for handling any potential crisis, and an average ETA on standard design projects.
4. How Experienced is the Developer?
In order to gauge a web developer’s level of experience, you will want to know what past projects they have done, and what previous clients say about them. Don’t ask for references; any developer could get his Uncle Jack to pretend to be a past client and give sterling praise. Also, references can be biased. If you are interviewing freelancers, check job portals like UpWork where past clients rate each freelancer in a true and honest fashion.
If you are interviewing creative digital agencies that build websites, go through their own website and look for case studies and past projects. You can also ask for three current clients. Sure; the agency will give you the three clients that are getting the best results, but if they can do this for three clients and each has a lengthy retention period, this is a good sign indicating they are on top of the ball.
5. How does the Developer Bill Clients?
Both digital marketing companies and freelance web designers bill in various ways. Both can bill by the hour, while others have a monthly fee with additional billable projects that extend outside the scope in the contract. Either way, make sure your developer has a detailed tracking system that records each task performed and the time it took to complete. This should all be recorded in a monthly report given to you at the end of each month. This way the developer is making himself accountable, and you know where you are spending your money.