How to hire a Web Developer
This Quote is more meaningful than usual today. We have been hoping to get shown by QVC but were denied because our Unity Designs do not fit their current marketing needs. This was an obvious disappointment to us but we will continue to look for and create the opportunities we need to reach a larger audience. In the mean time we will continue to refine our Website so that it has all the features our customers need.
Getting our Website to the point where it is now has been a challenge that was both costly and time consuming so I want to offer you some advice when looking for a website professional, and tell you why I will not hire anyone to build a complete site for me again.
- Look at Portfolio: This cannot be understated! So many people can get you caught up in the excitement of creating your own site that you forget to ask about what they have done before. Be sure that what they specialize in is relevant to what you have in mind. I have found that web developers, like most professionals in other fields, have different styles. In the beginning we were referred to a web developer who had built a site for a real estate professional we knew also some other service based type of websites. For UDC we required a very different type of set up but failed to ask for any relevant examples of what we required. This little failure as well as some others cost us several thousand dollars.
- Track Progress: As entrepreneurs we have so much to do that we love the thought of just having one or two meetings and then handing the handing over the whole project to a trained web professional. This allows us to forget about any web related headaches and focus on the other aspects of our businesses. No matter how competent you believe you Web developer to be, this is a recipe for disaster. You must regularly check progress to ensure that you are getting what you want. Many times you will find that what you wanted wasn't what you envisioned and you will need to make changes quick. Because websites are usually built in in sections on top of other sections the longer you take to notice what you don't like the more frustrating and costly it will be to fix. This happened with UDC and we ended up not only frustrating or web guy but delaying our site even further.
3) Have a written contract: This can be simple or elaborate but it should always include
- Exactly what you are getting
- What you are going to pay
- And "how long it will take".
4) Be sure that you pay in in installments: Don't ever hand over full payment until you have exactly what you want in your hands. People respond to incentives, and if money is the the incentive for your Web site developer keep that carrot hanging out in front until the job is done. Yes, we made this mistake too. We assumed we were getting what we wanted and we had the money so we paid for our site in full before it was completed. This left us not only with a Web guy who was busy doing other things but also with a site that we hated.
5) Understand what you are paying for: Do a little research and figure out what how things are done. You may figure out that what you are being billed hours for takes only minutes. We were told that it took hours upon hours to upload p products to our shopping cart. I later discovered that with CSV files mass product uploads can happen in seconds. There are also sites that make creating your own website possible. Some of the more popular sites are:
A lot of these sites have free and pro versions. your individual needs will determine which you require. I myself have never had any web experience but I found weebly very intuitive and user friendly. Be sure to look at these sites (They are really a developers worst nightmare) before you pay someone to build a site for you. I can say honestly that I will probably never pay for a complete site build again because weebly was so easy to use. There may be certain elements you require that build your own sites will not offer. You can always pay a someone with programing knowledge to tweak your site and add the features you require. This will save you tons of money compared to them building from the ground up.
6) Know how to update your own site: A lot of developers will build your site in a way where you have to depend on them to post new content or make small changes. These maintenance fees can be costly and take more time to get done than you would like. You should always work it in to your agreement that updating content will be able to be done in away where you can do it yourself if you wish. This is another reason I love the do it yourself sites. They really do allow you to take control of your content by providing an easy way to post, change, and delete it at your convenience.
I have suffered frustration and payed too much money for not adhering to these these simple guidelines. For many of us with small businesses our Website is our primary marketing arm to customers all over the world. You need it to accomplish everything you require in a straight forward common sense manner. I hope these tips can help you along your journey.