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Hiring a web developer: what you need to know

23-Aug-2013

From how to find a reputable developer to determining reasonable rates, here are five questions to ask a web developer before embarking on a web project for your business.

At what point should I bring in a web developer?

Dan Duke, a Senior Developer at Comic Relief, advises this can depend on your industry, but recommends getting a form of web presence as soon as possible to make it easy for people to find and communicate with your brand.

Even consulting a web developer in an advisory role can have huge benefits. Having someone with the experience can be invaluable and will help you in not wasting time or money with issues that have known solutions.

Where do I start?

“The first step is always to sit down, breathe, and consider some key question,” says Dan, “the point of this exercise is to get the answers written down somewhere so you can discuss and evolve them over time.”

Dan recommends having answers for the following before approaching a web developer:

  • Why do I want a website?
  • Who is it targeted at?
  • How do I want people to find my site?
  • How will I measure success?
  • What is my budget?
  • What materials do I already have?
  • What are the requirements of my site?

How do I identify a reputable professional developer? 

“Look at their work,” advises Dan. “At the end of the day, all developers will have some form of online presence whether it’s LinkedIn, a personal website or a GitHub account.”

After this, Dan says, the best thing to do is simply get in contact and ask them a few questions. “Ensure you get on together,” he advises. “You will be talking with them a lot and entrusting them with business, so you have to feel comfortable with them.”

How much money should I set-aside for developing the website?

Dependent on your business needs, the cost of hiring a web developer can vary greatly. Establishing what you need and want from your website will help you determine exactly how much investment will be needed. Gaining multiple quotes will help you gauge exactly how much you should be spending for your requirements, whether it’s a simple home page or a more complex multi-paged site.

Having someone with the experience can be invaluable and will help you in not wasting time or money with issues that have known solutions

Do I need a web designer too?

Determine how comfortable your web developer is in designing your site. Web designers may not be developers and vice-versa, so it’s best to ask or to visit their websites to determine exactly what services they can provide and ensure your needs are met.

Should I have an idea what my website should look like?

A rough concept can be useful when answering the initial questions above, but Dan advises that it’s not vital. If you have branding materials already, share and talk them through with your developer to help give him/her an idea of the focus of the final product.

What would the timeline of development look like?

  • Plan your requirements and budgets
  • Find a developer you trust and get on well with
  • Agree requirements and discuss alternatives/extras
  • Develop sitemap/wireframe
  • Design/prototyping
  • Website development
  • Website goes live

At each stage, discuss and feedback to the developer so they can edit and amend as necessary. Be open and honest with your development team to ensure you end up with a product you are proud to have support your brand.

About Dan Duke:

Dan has been a digital enthusiast since he played ‘Chuckie Egg’ on his Dad’s spectrum in the 80s. Since then he has achieved a digital arts degree and has worked creatively and technically on several high profile corporate and charity projects including Comic Relief. He also works under his retrobadger.net brand.