What to look for in a Web Designer/Developer

What to look for in a Web Designer/Developer

So you need a website? What do you look for?


1. Identify their specialty: Building a website that works requires a firm to assemble multiple skills (business knowledge, creative-design and technical programming ability among others). There are many graphic designers posing as website developers and even more fly by night hacks but they typically only bring creative skills to the dance.

"Content management (CMS): I cannot overemphasize the importance of being able to make frequent changes to your website. Your customers, your market, your goals and your strategy will change and you need to be able to adapt quickly so a built in content management system is a must have tool in today’s market. Make sure yours does not restrict your design flexibility nor the features you want to add."

2. Content management (CMS): I cannot overemphasize the importance of being able to make frequent changes to your website. Your customers, your market, your goals and your strategy will change and you need to be able to adapt quickly so a built in content management system is a must have tool in today’s market. Make sure yours does not restrict your design flexibility nor the features you want to add.

3. Portfolio of work: Visit the company’s website and take a look at some of the work they have done. Try to see beyond just the look of the featured sites. Consider the tools and features that would attract a likely customer, as well as get them to take the next step. If you see consistently sound logic here, chances are a similar thought process will be brought to your project.

4. Proven ability to listen: Again, your website success is all about meeting goals. To this your developer must prove that they are willing to take the time to understand the way your organization and market work, as well as your company’s goals. Without this understanding your project will not achieve its full potential. They should do less talking and more listening.

5. References: Ask for and contact references but be sure when you meet to discuss the goals for the site and whether or not those goals were met.

6. Hosting options: All websites live or are hosted on servers and website developers either own their own or outsource hosting. Be clear on their hosting source and the criteria for evaluating the provider (server uptime, customer service effectiveness, storage space and price).

7. Other relationships: The professional relationships your web developer brings to the table can be just as important as their technical proficiency. A good web developer is a gateway to business development resources that can aid your company’s growth (marketing, advertising, lending, copywriting, graphic design, sales support, etc.).

8. Other services: Just building your website alone will not make you successful. You have to do a lot of work to attract your best customers and get them to purchase. Offering or referring additional services is key to your success mix. Search engine optimization (SEO), website maintenance, pay per click ad consulting and related service offerings can rapidly increase your overall effectiveness.