The pandemic put a lot of pressure on finding ways to generate income. In our industry alone, thousands of people have popped up claiming to be expert web developers, but lack basic, fundamental knowledge to create lasting, functional, and efficient websites. We’ve been in the industry long enough to provide some insight on choosing the right developer for you. Of course we want it to be us, but what’s most important is the relationship between client and developer. We’re not a match for every client and every client is not a match for us. But we can help you figure out which developer is right for you to avoid making the same costly mistakes we’ve seen time and time again.
Here are a few tips to help you make the best decision for you and your needs
- Do Your Homework
All you have to do is type “web developer” in the search bar and hundreds of options will come up. Sorting through the list can get a little overwhelming. Having a little homework done beforehand will eliminate the vast majority of developers that don’t fit your needs. Jot down these questions and answer them before you start your search to increase the likelihood of a great client/developer match.
- How extensive is your need? Do you need a front-end developer (focuses on the appearance of a site), back-end developer (focuses on the functionality of a site, user experience), or a full-stack developer (can do both front and back end development)?
- Are you needing an entire site from scratch or just a page or two?
- What are your specific needs? For instance, do you know what design elements you like or what programs you will need to integrate?
- Will you need assistance with copywriting and SEO?
- What is your budget?
Sometimes, finding a site or 2 that you like for inspiration can be helpful.
- Research Your Options
Once you have answered the questions, it’s time to do some research. It would be great if you could just put in the answered questions and be presented with the options. But, since we are not at that stage of technology, some old fashioned research will have to be done. You are looking for:
- Their portfolio. What type of sites have they created? Are any of them in your same industry? You also need to go to the actual site and check it out for yourself. Check the footer for the website designer to make sure the same company is still doing the company’s website. Take notice of the page’s load speed and the quality of the design. Are there any broken links? What does the page look like on mobile, desktop, and tablet views if you have access to these
- Have A Conversation
When you find a company you believe fits your needs, talk to them! A lot of developers and designers offer a free consultation. Take advantage of this. There are some standard things to cover such as goals, what you want your website to look like, functionality needs, and of course the budget. But you will also want to ask these questions.
- What is their availability? Do they have multiple projects simultaneously or one at a time and how do they prioritize (Note: one is not greater than the other, but it is a look into their time management skills.)
- How do you incorporate current design trends into your work? Trendy doesn’t always mean better, but there are some trends that are timeless. Make sure your developer has a good understanding of how trends work and what trends would work for you.
- How would they incorporate your ideas? You want a company that acknowledges your expertise in your field, just as you acknowledge their expertise, without becoming a “yes-man”.
- What type of research is conducted on your clients needs?
- Review the List of Services
Nothing is worse than finding out mid-project that a company doesn’t offer something you need. Verify (verbally and in writing) that whatever services you need are included, whether it be copywriting, digital marketing, branding, logo design, or content creation. You need to know exactly what you are getting as well as not getting. Some companies contract out parts of their services, so you’ll want to know that as well.
While it may seem like the 1st thing you should ask, a website is about much more than the cost. It is an investment into your company’s future. And with the right design, you will increase your bottom line. If your perfect web developer is out of your budget, let them know. A good web developer will be able to provide you with options and even add on elements as you go. Make sure you discuss the budget before any project starts, and have a realistic mindset.
Although this list is not exhaustive, it will give you a great starting point on finding your perfect developer. As always, you can reach out to the Quartz and Clay team with questions.