10 tips for choosing a web developer
Your website is the shop front of your business and as such how it looks and the customer experience a user has could make a huge difference to getting customers through the door. Here are 10 tips for choosing a web developer to ensure you end up with a website fit for purpose.
- Look at sites they’ve designed to see if you like their style. Do they offer bespoke website design or simply out of the box solutions that all look the same?
- Do they have a systematic process that leads you through the design/wireframing phase? This will help you clarify what you will get and what information you will be required to provide.
- How much do they ask about your business? They should be keen to get a deep understanding of your business or product in order to develop a website that will meet your business goals.
- Ask them if they will maintain your site after the initial build. Discussing costs for security upgrades and essential maintenance will enable a cost comparison with other providers.
- Do you want to be able to edit the site yourself? If so, ensure they can they build your site on a platform or content management system (CMS) which will allow you to easily edit pages.
- Ask if you will own the copyright to the site and establish whether they can also provide you with original, editable source files. Be aware of additional costs (licensing fees, etc.) that not owning the copyright can result in.
- Ensure they adopt a ‘Mobile First’ approach and that this is a part of their design and development culture. Mobile friendly sites are essential, especially now Google places more value on this aspect of a site. Check the developers current client sites with this tool.
- Ask if they can also help with copywriting and if so, review some of their work to ensure they are as experienced in this area as they are in developing the website itself. Engaging and readable copy is essential, check that readability of copy is inline with your customer requirements, run a check here.
- Can they also help you with search engine optimisation (SEO)? If so, ask how they keep up to date with SEO trends. Make sure if you decide to use one agency for development and SEO that they are skilled in doing so, check how their previous sites rank for non brand key terms. If you will be using a reputable CMS the chances are there is already a plugin in the market that can help with this, either for free or a low cost.
- Make sure the developer establishes clear delivery and payment milestones, so you are prepared for when you need to sign-off on work and pay for the stages of development. Never part with money beyond the first milestone and make sure a contract in place. Taking a sensible approach, as you would with any large purchase will help avoid any potential pitfalls.