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Choosing A Website Developer

Why Do I Need A Website Developer?

Unless you are tech-savvy, the chances are that you’ll want to pay someone else to design your company’s website. Even if you’re willing to learn coding and web development, it will be huge time drain to master it enough to produce a high-quality product.

Therefore, it makes sense financially to employ someone else to do this. Professional website designers will be able to produce a great site for you without hassle. They will know what works and what doesn’t, and can apply this to your website. This means you can focus on running your business instead.



What Makes A Good Web Designer?

Firstly, they must have a degree of technical capability, and be able to produce the features you want quickly and to a good standard. Look for evidence that they can produce websites to a standard you want – this can be through samples on their website.

However, the most important aspect of a web developer from your point of view is their customer service skills. While you may think that you’ll want to pick someone who is technically superior, this should not be top of your wish-list.

What you should look for is someone who communicates with you. Trust me, it’s no good having the best coder in the world if they never reply to your messages or requests.

A pitfall of many technically great developers is their complete lack of customer service. All they want to do is get on with their work and think it’s ok just to tell you when they’re done. They don’t want to reply to messages, or tell you what’s going on, as they see that as wasted time.

“The most important aspect of a web developer, from your point of view, is their customer service skills.

While you may think that you’ll want to pick someone who is technically superior, this should not be top of your wish-list.”


Two Scenarios

Imagine you want to make a change to your website, and you envisage going live with it in a few days. So, you submit a request to your website developer – and you hear nothing back. Now you’re wondering – have they received your message? Are they working on it? Will I be able to go live in a few days? You then end up calling them to find out what’s going on.

Now, from here, you may find out that they are working on it and it’ll be completed in your timeframe. You may think “Great, I’ll be able to add my new feature on time”. However, imagine this process every time you want an update to your website – it soon becomes stressful and frustrating.

Even worse, you may find out that they are not working on it. This is because they are busy completing work for another project. This is fair enough if they have multiple clients (as is likely with any web developer). They will need to make time for all their customers’ needs, unless you’re paying them enough to keep them on retainer.

Imagine though, when you contacted them with your request that they had replied the same day with “Sorry, I’m busy with X in the next few days. However, I can start work on your request after this and have it ready next week”.

How would you feel now? Sure, it’s not ideal, but at least you know where you stand. If your feature needs to go live in the next few days, you can use your time to find a solution, rather than chasing your web developer. If not, you can choose to wait. Either way, this situation makes it less stressful for you.



Key Behaviours You Want

Now we’ve established the importance of communication, your web designer should be offering you these things:

  • 1. Setting deadlines – they should give you a timeline for completion, and meet it. If they can’t, they need to explain why.
  • 2. Honesty – they should be honest about what you can achieve, and not promise what they can’t deliver.
  • 3. Regular updates – on longer projects, they should update you at intervals to show you progress.
  • 4. Asking your opinion – it’s your business, so you should have a say in how it looks online. They should give you samples of designs and features and make every effort to find out what you want.
  • 5. Consistency of communication – a common tactic is for them to be very communicative when they’re trying to win your business, and to drop off the face of the Earth after you’ve paid them.

All things considered, there’s a simple test to see whether you should stick with your web developer – if you’re having to chase them for answers, it’s time to look elsewhere. Ask yourself, if they worked directly for your company, would you accept this kind of behaviour? Or would you look to replace them with someone else?

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