Hiring a web developer can be time consuming and has a large impact on your business. Hiring a bad web developer is far more costly in the long run over investing the time and energy into hiring the right web developer at the start. We live in a world where the usual practice is to accept resumes or Linkedin profiles as proof of qualifications and making a decision to hire someone based on one or two meetings. It is difficult to understand how well a person fits with your business in one or two encounters.
Since there is so much riding on just a few meetings with a web developer the key is to ask the right questions. Here are some questions you should have ready and why they are important when hiring a web developer:
- What content management system or programming language do you use for website?
The developer should be able to provide you with a list of programming languages or content management systems (i.e. WordPress) that has more than one item on it. Every website is different. Each has their own goals, their own target audience, and their own expectations. The reason there are so many programming languages is that each one has is own advantages and limitations. The language or platform used for your website should be selected based on the goals of your business and website, not on the limitations of the web developer.
Beware of the web developer that only uses one programming language or content management system. You will be forced to compromise on your business to make your website work.
2. Who will register and own the domain of the website?
Many business owner become stuck when they allow web developers to own the domain of their website. When the web developer owns the domain associated with your business it is very painful to separate and start a new web domain. Holding the ownership of the domain in your hands lets you end the relationship any time a problem occurs. Pointing a web domain to a new hosting service takes less than an hour. Prying a domain away from a web developer may never happen.
3. Please describe the support you will provide after the website is published.
The development process can seem like the most painful part of creating a website but support after launch can cost more in money and business in the long run. The support you want is the support they should provide. If you are only comfortable with support that includes being able to call and talk to someone then do not go with a web developer that only offers email support. Do not settle or you will have an unsettling feeling every time there is an issue with your website.
4. What is your theory about SEO and how does it impact the website you create?
There is no secret to Search Engine Optimization. Google and Bing provide plenty of documentation to explain what they are trying to achieve. The only secret in SEO is the actual calculation used by the search engines. There are 2 reasons to ask this question:
1) See if their application of SEO aligns with your expectations. If the web developer’s theory is that SEO is hog wash and you believe it is important this will cause disagreement later down the road.
2) If the web developer tells you they have a “secret sauce” that works for their customers walk away! There is no secret sauce to SEO. As a business owner you have a right to know what is happening with your website and why the site is configured in a certain way. You need this information so you can make accurate business decision and align all of your properties to work for you.
These four questions are just the start of what you need to ask when hiring a web developer. The goal is not to trick the web developer, rather it is to understand the principles from which the web developer works from and to have a clear conversation about what is expected.
We offer a free guide on “Hiring A Web Developer” that includes these and other questions to ask, how to find a developer, and how to manage the relationship. If you want more information about how to manage your online presence checkout the course and free video tips we offer.