Find Web Developers
Find Web Developers

8 Steps to Hire a High Quality Web Developer – What You Need to Know About Your Project

What parts of your website do you have materials for already?

Your website consists of many pieces: the “look and feel”; writing, layout, photography, graphic art, marketing, user interface, etc. It is not reasonable to expect that one person will have all of these skills. In fact, you may need to hire several people to do the various tasks. Take stock in the high quality photography and written materials you already have before you decide whom to hire.

How many pages will your website have?

The size of your site will make a marked different in whom you hire to build your website. If your website is very large, you may need to hire a web development company with a team of employees who specialize in different areas of development. If your site is small, a high-quality private contractor working from home could save you a lot of development costs.

What is your timeframe?

Your chances of finding a high-quality web developer just sitting out there waiting for your job is extremely unlikely. Even the shoddy web developers have plenty of work – you have probably run into a lot of their sites! If your site is small, and you have all your materials ready, and you happen to catch a developer with open time, you could have a website in a month. However, many sites take a year or more to plan and create. (A good reason to start with a small site.) Ask prospective developer what her time availability is.

Does your website have programming?

If your website needs a shopping cart, or map functionality, or a catalog of any type, you need a programmed website. Programming requires a special skill set and a whole new set of decisions to make. Now you need both a designer (look and feel) and a programmer (functionality.) It is possible that these two functional areas might not work well together.

For example, I once had a former student who built excellent websites for clients. One website needed programming; so, she hired a programmer. The programmer could only work in .NET and she worked in Dreamweaver. Every time the client asked for a design change, my former student had to create the design and turn it over to the programmer to put into the programming. It should have been the other way around. It was her site. The programmer should have given her the programming to put into the design. This caused the development process to be delayed and frustrating.

How much can you pay for a website?

Ask some of your business friends how much they spent on their initial web development. Generally, expect that your website will cost you thousands of dollars. If your site is very small (5 pages or less) you may get one for hundreds. The budgeting problem lies in the fact that web development is a process, and very few owners have enough experience in planning a website for a developer to give an accurate estimate of the cost. It is highly unlikely that you will like every bit of work that your developer does. And, it is not reasonable to expect your developer to read your mind. Changes and tweeks are just part of the process. You can reduce your costs by having a clear plan and communicating your needs well.

If you can only afford a few hundred dollars for your website, or if you hire an intern, you cannot expect a high quality, professional site. However, there is a wide range of prices even in professional web development companies and contractors. At the high range, it is not unusual to pay over $100.00 per hour for web development.

How much will you be involved in the development of your site?

Will your schedule allow you to spend an hour or several hours every week gathering images and text, discussing the best options for your website and reviewing the work finished? While there is a fine line between driving your developer crazy and being a working partner in the development, the more you understand about the development (listening,) and the more you help your designer know what your want (communicating,) the less you will pay in the long run.

For example, I had one would just agree to everything and tell me to do whatever I thought. Then he would get very angry, if the work didn’t suit or if there was a typo. I have other clients who proof carefully and send me a list of the changes through email. That is so helpful to me as a developer. A good website is good for both of us!

How much will you be involved in the maintenance of your site?

If you want to do your own website maintenance, your needs are very different than if you expect your developer to be available to do the work over time. First, unless you plan to pay your developer a salary, you can’t expect him to jump on your work immediately and push other clients aside.

If you plan to do your own maintenance, you will have to purchase the software you need to make the changes. And, hopefully, your developer will be very good at teaching you how to do the work. If you don’t plan to do your own maintenance, make sure that your developer has your work in his future planning! I do recommend that every website owner be able to make quick site updates. You might have a very important website change while the developer is on vacation!

What tools will you have available to maintain your site?

If you plan to work on your own website, you will need the software tools to do so. If you already have software, such as Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Joomla, etc. you will want to work with a developer who is using those tools, or who can easily make a site that works in those tools. If your software is very old, it would be best to start with new software. You can expect to pay up to $1000.00 for software to work on a website. However, in the long run, you will be surprised how quickly you can recoup those costs, compared to paying a developer to do the work.

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