The Essentials of Hiring a Web Developer

The Essentials of Hiring a Web Developer

After giving your blood, sweat, and tears to build your business, it is now time to let the world know about it by putting it online! You have bounced back and forth with the idea of building one yourself, but deep down you know your business deserves a professional. However, this can be a daunting task when they all promise to create the best website for you.

Choosing the right web development agency is essential for your business’s success for the following reasons:

  • Maximizes Your Online Presence – The agency you choose should know the in’s and out’s of optimizing your online presence via design, SEO, and overall functionality.
  • Stand Out With a Customized Site – Your website should be as unique as you are. Hiring a web developer to build a custom site will help you stand out from the competition.
  • Mobile Friendly – It should be no surprise that 75% of users prefer a mobile-friendly site. Delivering a good mobile experience is essential and serves as a catalyst in promoting sales.

With all web development agencies promising this and more: How are you supposed to know who to choose?

Well, you’re in luck because we’ve compiled a list (and checked it twice!) of some things you should look out for when hiring a web developer:

What to Look for When Hiring a Web Developer

Before you begin your quest it is very important that you have a good idea of what you are trying to accomplish. Having a strong brand identity, inspirational references, and knowing your unique selling proposition will speed up the hunt for hiring a web developer.

Be prepared to show examples of other websites for inspiration. Be specific and list goals for your website. Tell them exactly what your website is supposed to do: build brand awareness or convert leads. 

Your business is unique and deserves the same TLC you have given it thus far. It can be tempting to go with the cheapest agency or the one that promises the fastest results, but before you commit to anyone always consider the following when hiring a web developer:

Project Discovery

Your future web developer should always be able and willing to answer any and all of your questions. Better yet, they should be asking you the questions!

Before officially hiring a web developer there should always be an informal meeting allowing for an exchange of any questions, comments, and concerns. A “Discovery” period allows your web developer to perform a competitor analysis, gather inspiration, and discuss both the budget and timeline.

This is also the time that you should be able to get a rough quote on the work that you’re inquiring about, as well as how long it should take to complete. However, depending on the scope of your project, it is common that discovery can take more than one call, which is why it is important to first have a strong idea of what you are wanting.

Look for Established Brand Trust

Again, every web developer will claim to be the best fit for your project. They’re going to use well-written website copy, images, and quotes to attempt to prove these claims to you. However, the best agencies will show you their worth instead of telling you. 

For example, HubSpot uses video testimonials to show people what real customers think about their business:

Hiring a Web Developer

This allows potential customers to quickly see that HubSpot truly provides valuable marketing services worth considering. It also helps that HubSpot shows more proof that their products are highly rated among their competitors:

Hiring a Web Developer

These signals establish brand trust for HubSpot and are one of the reasons why they’re one of the most successful companies in their industry.

If you’re looking for a web development agency, you should look for the same trust signals BUT be cautious since some of these “awards” can be purchased.

Ask for References, Work Samples, Etc.

Most web development agencies will utilize testimonials to convince you to work with them. However, testimonials can easily be made up. To avoid falling for a fake testimonial, you’ll need to gather more proof that an agency is who they claim to be. 

Ask for references if you can. If you do receive any references, make sure you verify them. If NDAs were signed with particular clients, ask to see specific work samples instead. 

Fortunately, many web developers have their portfolios on their websites. The more trust you can build with a prospective web development agency, the better.

Don’t Forget to Ask About Maintenance

The relationship with your web developer is not over once your website project is complete. They will remain a point of contact even after your website is live just in case something breaks or you need updates in the future. That being said, it is important to establish who that point of contact is going to be.

Sometimes, your web developer will be the one to maintain it for free if it’s included with hosting. Other times, they might offload it to another agency for maintenance once the project is live. It is important to discuss this during your Discovery period when hiring a web developer.

If your point of contact after the completion of your site is not established up front, then it can cause confusion and headache. When hiring a web developer always consider not only the finished project but its overall longevity. It is important that maintenance is done by the same people who built the site and not contracted out to allow for overall consistency and flow.

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Don’t Move Forward Until You Know Who’s Doing the Work

If you are dealing with a smaller agency, you could very well be in contact with the web developer. However, it is common to be only speaking with the assigned project manager. Either is fine, but it is important to be aware of who is specifically doing the work when hiring a web developer.

Some agencies outsource their operations to other countries in order to increase their margins and take on more clients. This is great for them but not for you as it can cause the quality of your website to suffer if they don’t have in-house developers to oversee the work from start to finish.

Before you move forward, always confirm if your work will be done in-house or contracted out elsewhere.

How Much Does Hiring a Web Developer Cost?

You need to have a budget in mind for your project since this is going to be a popular question throughout your discovery process.

You’ll find an array of web development agencies that charge anywhere from $2,500 to $25,000, so what’s the difference?

There’s a lot of factors that play into the cost of a website so it’s important to understand how the agency is charging you. Are they estimating the number of hours your project is going to take or are they giving you value-based pricing? Are they building your website with a theme or fully custom?

When you’re making a list of web developers, be upfront and ask about the price. Make sure you fully understand how payments will work, whether you’ll need to pay a 50% deposit or pay installments on receiving specific deliverables. 

The more information you know before you sign a contract, the fewer surprises there will be down the road.

Don’t Deal With “Cheap” Agencies

Granted, a website can cost a lot of money. A traditional website can cost as much as $15,000 and an eCommerce website can cost as much as $50,000. You need to have a realistic idea of the budget you are working with and what it costs to get the kind of results you want.

The fact of the matter is, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. If you want to generate traffic and get real results, then do not go with the first person that promises the perfect website for a cheap rate.

Experienced web developers know their worth and will explain the prices in the Discovery period. For example, a “safe” budget for a new 5-10 page website should be approximately $5,000 – $10,000 with a reputable agency.

If you’re thinking about hiring a web developer, we can help!

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