Choosing the right Website Developer for your small business website can be challenging. We want to make it simple! When it comes to finding reliable, knowledgeable, and experienced professionals to assist in building and designing your website, it’s important to do your research and find a developer who aligns with your values and understands your needs. This is why we created this ultimate guide of what you need to know before hiring a Website Developer so you can choose wisely and avoid any pitfalls.
Choose a Website Developer (or Agency) Who Takes the Time to Understand You Business
You will be able to tell a lot about a website developer through your initial conversations with them. It is important to pay close attention to the questions that your developers are asking and how excited they are about your project. Here is a list of things to consider after you talk with potential developers:
- How attentive was the developer to your needs?
- Did the developer take the time to understand what your business is about, and what you need to do with your website?
- Is the developer trying to learn more about your problems and/or goals?
By paying attention to how the developer interacts with you when trying to earn your business, you will be able to get a good idea on how they are going to act once they earn it. Not all developers (or agencies) are created equal, so its important that you pick one that is looking to help you succeed.
Choose a Website Developer Who Can Provide Testimonials and References
You can’t always take a website developer or agency at their word. In order to verify whether they are as good as they say, you need to ask them for client testimonials and references from past clients who have used their services in the past.
A Website Developer that doesn’t walk the talk will struggle to give you references, while Website Developers that are truly passionate about their work will have no problem providing you with glowing reviews from past clients. This is a very easy question that can save you from months of stress and lost time.
Choose a Website Developer Who is Willing to Collaborate With You During the Website Design and Build Process
Every small business has different needs and obstacles, so it’s paramount that you find a developer who is flexible enough to work with your unique situation. The best developers are always willing (and excited) to figure out how they will solve any problems or questions that come up during the design process.
Even the best Website Developers have had their fair share of client struggles throughout their careers, so they should be eager to collaborate with you every step of the way in order to make sure your website is a success!
Choose a Website Developer Who is Responsive and Listens to Your Needs
Developing a website can be a stressful process and it requires a high level of collaboration and planning with your developer. It is extremely important for you as a website owner to make sure you select a developer (or agency) who outlines clear communication channels. The last thing you want is to send off an email or make a phone call that isn't answered or responded to for days. Understanding that as a small business owner in the 21st century, your website is your lifeblood, your website developer should make sure to set clear expectations around communication.
Make sure that the website developer is available during the times you need them (most Website Developers work normal business hours) and make it clear to them if there is a time of day when they should not contact you. By communicating with your Website Developer, you will be able to avoid any misunderstandings or issues down the road!
Choose a Website Developer who Builds What you Need, Not What They Know Best
Choosing a developer who has experience working on multiple website platforms is the best way to guarantee that your needs are met. While templated websites have advantages, choosing one should be based on your preference rather than your developers.
Using an obscure, or relatively unknown platform for your website build will likely result in future problems. As your business grows, your website will need to be able to grow with you. Completely custom or obscure solutions will make it harder and more costly to find talent when you need to make updates.
There are many great platforms out there to work with. We recommend Drupal and WordPress Content Management Systems (CMS) for our small business customers. These popular open-source platforms have large communities and large developer pools that will help you rest assured that bugs are being addressed, security is being prioritized and talent will be available.
Choose a Website Developer who is Upfront About the Continuing Costs and Maintenance Plans for Your Website After it is Launched.
The cost of running a website go beyond the initial development. Your business will have to consider security, maintenance, and enhancements for your website, as well as any costs associated with your hosting, marketing, and/or sales platforms. Costs will vary based on the platform you select, so you should understand the benefits and drawbacks of various platforms before making any decisions.
A good website developer will be transparent and open about what's included, and what additional costs will be up-front. When you are reviewing your options, be wary of developers who do not bring up any of these things.
Choose a Website Developer who Recommends a Content Management System and Offers Training for the Website You are Building
Use a developer who provides you with a Content Management System (CMS) for your website to make changes and updates. A CMS will allow you to make modifications and updates to your website without the need of calling or emailing your developer for every little change. The platform will also allow your Website Developer to provide training and train you on how to make updates yourself.
Choose a Website Developer who is Knowledgeable About SEO and Website Analytics
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves making sure you are getting found in search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo!. Choosing a website developer who understands Search Engine Optimization will ensure that your website is being built with optimization in mind. This can be very time-consuming and costly to fix after the fact so it is highly recommended that this be a key requirement in any business's website development.
Website Analytics is important to track traffic sources (e.g., search, paid advertising, social media channels, etc...), view visitor behavior patterns (such as which pages visitors tend to visit first or if there’s a decline in returning customers) and demographics (user location, age, gender). Analytics are key tools in your marketing toolkit and they allow you to make more informed decisions.
We hope that you find this checklist useful in finding the right website developer for your company. Remember, a fantastic website developer will balance your ideas and requirements while also bringing your new website to life. If you'd like to learn more about how our team at Digital Polygon can help you develop your site, set up your free consultation today.