Tips for Hiring a Good Web Developer

March 2nd, 2010 by TCC Leave a reply »

Choosing a web developer can be absolutely exhausting, especially finding someone who can meet your needs within your defined budget. But before you can even think about getting a web designer/developer, you need to be sure of what you want, and how to express that to another person. This includes what you want your website to look like, how you want it to function, and even creating site map of the pages you want to include throughout the site. Is this overwhelming? Maybe a little bit. But will it save you money? Absolutely.

Define Your Goals: Finding a good web developer doesn’t begin by looking at their credentials or their portfolio. Before you even begin looking for someone to design your website, you need to first define the goals of your website. Don’t use comparisons to other sites, but look at the needs of your business.  Determine how you feel your website should function. Is your website going to be used as a marketing engine, a sales machine, an information portal, or for internal operations? This is the most important step because functionality can alter the look and feel, time to completion, and the overall strategy of the website.  Make a list of your marketing initiatives, internal processes, and social marketing campaign ideas, and then focus on how your website can best communicate your strategies to your customers.  Building a foundation by thoroughly defining your online marketing goals is the best way to save money on development, and is the easiest way to build you a scalable, effective website.

Site Architecture: After goal definition, it is necessary to lay out site architecture to allow all parties to visualize the scope of the project. This step can be done alone, but do your best meet with your prospective web development agencies to develop a site map.  This will allow you to see how the firm thinks, spark some new ideas, and help you avoid additional costs with developers. A quality web developer will offer some ideas you may not have seen, and some recommendations that will help organize or consolidate your website. Think of this as an interview process. Take time to make the investment to meet with each firm before choosing your web developer.

Develop a Wireframe: Now that you have chosen your web developer, they should work with you to design a wireframe for your website. This is when you sketch out on the computer using Adobe Photoshop, or even on paper, how you want your company information laid out on the screen. This is not the place to define color schemes or fonts you want to use, but to dig deep into the functionality of the site. By creating a wireframe, you may discover things you did not realize you needed to have your site function according to your defined goals. Your web developer will assist you in helping determine the data you find important, the data you need to gather from your viewers, and the data they need to gather from your website.

Functionality: The functionality of your website can greatly alter the final cost of your website project. It is important to be clear on the basic functions you want your website to have if you are looking for an accurate cost. Take the general areas of your website, as defined in the previous steps, and define the content you would like to have in these areas, like video, text, flash animation, images, and so forth. Do customers need to be able to purchase products off your website? If so, how will these orders end up in your accounting system? Do you need tools to translate the text content into another language? Does the website need to be interactive so customers can read reviews of your products/services, and subsequently post their own reviews? Answering questions like these will help to define the function of your site, and provide clear direction for the project. The web developer should also help you pull everything together.

Providing Samples: Only after assessing the major details, like function, architecture, and overall website goals, can you begin providing samples of other websites you find appealing. In order to develop a site that effectively communicates between your staff and your customers, you need to have a clear vision. No need to be a “technologically savvy” person when it comes to look and feel of your site. A web developer that consistently offers constructive guidance and provides you with a website that ensures your message is being received the right way by the right people is a “keeper”.

By Bridgid Shea, Marketing Coordinator for The Computer Company, Inc.


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