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. The options can sometimes seem overwhelming, with hundreds of companies out there offering design, website development, and digital marketing and SEO services to small businesses. How do you figure out who to trust, and who you can work with?
There are a few things you can look for to help you find web development professionals to work on your project:
Choose a website developer that takes the time to understand your business, your customers, and your sector
Your initial conversations with your developer should set the scene for what’s to come. Are they attentive? Do they understand what you want and propose a solution which best fits your needs? Are they focused on the outcomes that you want to achieve with your website? Pay attention to the questions your developer is asking, and how enthusiastic they are about your project.
Good website developers have testimonials and reviews, and you can easily access other sites they have built in order to view their work.
It’s all well and good to hear a developer talk about their previous clients and work, but do you have proof that they can deliver on what they’re promising? A developer who is happy to send you testimonials and samples of their recent work shows you that they take pride in what they have done, and the relationships they have with their clients. Without a clear understanding of their track record, you’ll have to take it on faith that they can deliver on their promises.
Choose website developers who are responsive, listen to your needs, and work with a “can do” attitude
Website design can be a stressful process. The last thing you want is to send off an email, or ask a question, and hear … crickets. Work with a developer who is responsive to your emails and phone calls, and who is willing to work with you if you request a change or add-on to your site without making you feel like you’re being an inconvenience.
Good website developers work to appropriate time frames
When you give your website developer the green light, the last thing you want to do is wait to see your published site. Good things take time, but your developer should be transparent about the project timeline. They should communicate with you if any problems or issues arise that could change the timeline for delivering your site.
Choose website developers who will put your business needs first, instead of steering you toward a one-size-fits-all solution
Your needs should come first, so we recommend choosing a developer who works with a number of website platforms. A one-size-fits all approach won’t help you to achieve a unique result. While templated sites have their benefits, the decision to use one should be because it suits you best, not your developer. You can find out more about our two preferred platforms, WordPress and Squarespace here. Look for a developer who uses widely recognised and supported platforms and technology, as using a small or relatively unknown platform for your website build could result in future problems if you wish to expand on your site or have another developer assist you down the track.
Good website developers can customise and build specific services and integrations depending on your needs.
What are your end goals for your business website? Would you like the ability to add integrations or customise your site further in the future? Some traditional drag-and-drop websites are hard to build out, so your developer should be aware of your goals for your website, both now and in the future. If you currently use third party systems, such as Shopify or Mailchimp, it’s important that your new website platform allows for these integrations too.
Choose website developers who are transparent about the ongoing costs and maintenance plans for your website post launch
The costs of running a website extend beyond the initial build. You need to consider security, maintenance, and on-going expenses associated with your site, and your developer should provide this information to you. Costs will also depend on your chosen website platform, so they should spell out the pros and cons of different platforms before you make any decisions.
Good website developers provide training for you to get to know the administrative side of your website, so that you can make edits and changes yourself
Use a developer who provides you with a CMS for your website (Content Management System). A CMS will make it possible for you to make changes and updates to your website, without the need to call or email your developer for every minor change. While your website may appear confusing or hard to understand initially, training provided by your developer should help you feel confident and capable about making these changes to your site in the future.
Choose website developers who can provide services for you beyond the build of your website, such as copywriting, SEO assistance, and digital marketing
Creating a website is just one small part of your bigger business marketing and branding picture. Unfortunately, once you hit publish, your website won’t magically appear on the first page of Google search results. Your developer should be able to provide guidance on what should happen next – from the copy that drives conversions, to the SEO that helps to improve your website ranking and the marketing channels you can use to enhance your reach and customer base.
Use this checklist to help you find and source a developer who will both align with your ideas and needs, and bring your new website to life.