How to Choose a Web Developer
Finding Trustworthy, Skilled Online Professionals
We are all (perhaps painfully) aware of how necessary a great website is in the modern world. Sure, it's possible to eek by without one, but any business looking to really expand its outreach, improve its networking, or find new customers - and therefore make more money - really needs to have a place on the web. Naturally, most business owners don't have time to learn even the basics of internet design, much less the coding, theory, and search engine optimization (SEO) that comes with it.
That leaves one option - to hire a web designer. That one option ends up getting pretty confusing really quickly. There are so many options for web design that picking a good one can be tough. Obviously, we would love you to choose Bear River Web Design (shameless plug) for whatever your website, SEO, or content needs are, but even if you don't, we want you to at least know how to pick a good one. Here are a couple tips on how to weed out the bad players from the real deal.
This shouldn't even be an issue, but it is. A lot of scammers out there will make big promises with small price tags - beware. Because the field is technical and the client doesn't always know exactly what they are buying, it is easy to get tricked into purchasing unnecessary products, poor workmanship, or needless upsales without seeing it coming.
A reputable web designer will be able to tell you exactly what they plan to charge, roughly the time frame it should take, and what the process will be for accomplishing the task. Ask questions, and expect straight answers - if you don't know what something is, or if it will cost extra, ask. A developer interested in good service will have no problem taking time to answer questions, walk you through strategies, and generally provide good customer service. You'll know it when you see it.
Almost everyone can list references, but they don't matter unless we use them. Check out your prospective developers references, and if you can contact them, give it a try. At worst, you won't get an answer back - at best, you may save yourself a disastrous, expensive quagmire. If the prospect doesn't have any references available, it would be best to look elsewhere.
A portfolio is key as well - if they do good work, they should be itching to show it to you!
A Personal Touch
Bottom line - smaller, independent web designers care more about you and your website. There it is - I said it. Working with a large company can be alluring, as prices are usually somewhat lower, but when it comes to website work we should always be looking toward the future. That means developing an ongoing, healthy relationship with someone that knows a lot more about the web than we do. Spending a little extra or taking some extra time to work with an independent developer or small company can be massively beneficial in the long run.
The web is massive, complex, ever-changing place, and none of us know everything. Your developer should be willing to say "I don't know." We have to look stuff up all the time - half our job is education on changing trends, and so there is no way to keep up on everything at once. A good developer will tell you when they aren't sure, and be willing to find the answers for you - within reason - because th answers benefit you, the developer, and other clients. Plus, they are interesting. No one likes a know-it-all - and that is especially true in this field.
Don't Forget About Us!
We are committed to getting you the best information and online services possible, bar none. We would love to work with you, but even if you choose someone else or go DIY, we hope that you can use these simple tips to pick a developer who will help grow your business.