Web developers are ten-a-penny these days, and with an internet presence being such an essential part of modern business, choosing the right one is vitally important. Asking the following nine questions will help you separate the wheat from the chaff.
Do They Use Responsive Design?
The days when a website was always viewed on a desktop computer are over. Modern sites need to work across PCs, tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, and more. While it’s not the only way of ensuring this, Responsive Design is a popular set of techniques for ensuring compatibility across devices. Whether they use it or not, if the developers don’t know what it is, then steer clear.
Will They Test on a Variety of Devices?
The limited screen real estate available on a smartphone can present a challenge for designers, but with so many people accessing the web through their phones, it’s essential that your web developers ensure the site looks good and works well on the most popular models. Will they guarantee to test for this before delivering the site?
Will the Site Be Search Engine Friendly?
The slickest website in the ‘net is no good without visitors, and a site that doesn’t please the search engines will struggle to get ‘organic’ (i.e. free) traffic. This doesn’t mean trying to fool the engines with deceptive techniques, but ensuring that the site is coded in such a way that the search engines can understand what it’s about, and so send it relevant visitors.
Will a Content Management System (CMS) Be Used?
The modern web is dynamic, and sites need to be easily updated. A CMS is software used to handle the content presented to the visitor, and there are various popular ones available including WordPress and Drupal. If your developers plan to use one, which one will it be? Their choice will affect how you interact with your own site far into the future.
Who’s Responsible for Content Creation?
As part of creating and updating the site, someone needs to actually write the text used and source the graphics and images. Who is responsible for this? It can be very costly to achieve high quality, so this is a prime consideration when deciding on a price you’re willing to pay. You won’t want to skimp on quality content. No amount of good design can mask a badly written message that fails to convey the value of your offering.
Which Major Technologies Are Used?
Ideally, the site should be coded to work with mainstream technology so that it can be easily transferable, and worked on by another developer if needed. It’s best to avoid developers using proprietary software unless you intend to enter into a long term relationship with them.
Are the Package Costs Fixed?
Make sure you set out in a contract whether the price you’re quoted is a straight price, or if there’s a possibility of further costs being incurred. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – the unexpected happens – but you need to know up front to avoid nasty surprises.
What Hosting is Included?
The servers your site is placed on will have an impact on how fast and reliable it is. If the development package includes hosting, ask which company provides this, how reputable they are, what up-time they guarantee, and who will hold final control over administration of the site on the servers.
What Ongoing Support is Included?
Is the package a one-off deal, where you’ll be presented with a complete site and that’s the end of the relationship? Or will there be continuing updates, maintenance, tweaking, and so on? Will they be there to help with any technical problems?
Your partnership with your web developers could be a huge contributor to your business success, or a source of endless problems – choose wisely by making sure any prospect can give good answers to all these questions before considering hiring them.