I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who have parted with INSANE amounts of money for a website only to receive a sub par product – or in some cases no website at all. I don’t care how awesome a web developer’s site looks, what their ads look like, or how well recommended they come, or how high profile their “clientele” is – these steps should never be skipped.
I know it’s difficult to gauge the price of these things when you’re shopping for a website and know nothing about how to build sites.
So let me throw 9 truths / pieces of advice out there before you commit to a developer:
1. You should not spend many thousands of dollars on a website for a start up business unless you have a massive community just dying to buy your product.
2. If your developer doesn’t say the words – Requirements Gathering or Wireframe – RUN. Don’t look back – put your wallet back in your purse (or back pocket) and run for the hills.
3. If your developer can’t explain their steps in plain English that you understand – give them the crazy eye and then RUN.
4. If your developer cannot give you an easy to understand breakdown of the tasks to complete your site – RUN.
5. If your developer demands most or all of the payment up front – RUN
6. A web designer is not the same thing as a developer. Web designers make web pages look pretty – web developers make pages do things. Make sure you know which you are hiring because they are NOT interchangeable. A developer MAY be able to do what a web designer can – but a web designer CANNOT do what a web developer can.
7. Ask your developer to describe how they will integrate things – contact form 7, mail chimp, Aweber, shopping carts, membership plugins – whatever you have. Make sure they can explain how all of your functionality will work seamlessly – BEFORE you commit.
8. Check portfolios properly. Don’t just skim the images and say – wow – they are gorgeous …. Go to the actual sites and make sure they are live.
9. Talk to past customers. Yep – ask for several customers who have live sites. Talk to them. Ask them how their experience was. Ask about communication and response times. Ask about if they fixed errors / bugs. Remember that all developers will make mistakes – the good ones will fix them.
Keep these things to consider when hiring a web developer in mind and you’ll be able to weed out a lot of the bad apples from the bunch.