When it comes to your business, few investments are more important than your website. With a virtually limitless number of website development options available, however, choosing the right web developer or web development company can pose an enormous challenge. Hiring the wrong web developer may mean money lost on a poor quality website or too much money spent on a website that isnt what you wanted.
Before deciding on a web developer, take the following factors into consideration.
Portfolio & Experience
A good website developer should have a portfolio that reflects both his or her experience and professionalism. Individuals and freelancers who are slow to present a portfolio or only have a few links as samples likely either have little experience or not much work theyre proud to show around. Keep in mind that a developers portfolio is a good indicator of what design styles and programming platforms he or she is capable of working with.
When reviewing portfolio samples, its also important to look for samples of websites that are similar to the site you want. While reviewing portfolios, ask the following questions:
Is your industry or niche represented?
Do any of the samples have the kind of look and feel you want in your own website?
What kind of breadth of experience do the samples show?
Be sure that the developer you hire has plenty of experience developing websites with the same capabilities you want your website to have. If your website is going to be an ecommerce site or manage a back-end database, be sure the programmers portfolio reflects this kind of experience.
Ability to Optimize Website Performance
As online visibility and search engines become increasingly important in business, its important to find a web developer who understands at least the basics of search engine optimization. Thats not to say that your developer needs to be an SEO guru; if you need full SEO, its probably best to find another individual to handle this for you. However, many choices made during the web development process can have an impact on how easy it will be to optimize your site for search, and in order to use your website to its fullest potential, it should be optimized in a few key areas. Be sure the developer you hire understands the importance of:
Choosing the right programming language or platform – which language or platform a site is built on can have an impact on a sites ability to be ranked in search engines.
Browser compatibility – your websites ability to be seen on different web browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari.
Fast load times – a slow loading website will turn away both site users and search engines.
An experienced website developer should be able to have enough SEO knowledge to guide you in making basic decisions about your site. If SEO is going to play an important role in your website, look for a developer with more SEO experience or who works regularly with other SEOs.
Rates vary wildly when it comes to programming, especially between freelancers. Keep in mind that the more higher a developers rate is, the more experience they likely have. Dont let per hour rate influence your decision too much; freelancers who charge more by the hour often work faster than those with lower hourly rates. Whats most important is that you feel confident that your developer understands your needs and is capable of delivering results.
Other Things to Consider
When hiring a website developer, remember that your website will require hosting and long-term maintenance. Many web developers offer these services in addition to site development, so be sure to explore these services and their pricing before making the hire. Remember: your sites security and maintenance will depend on whoever you choose for long-term website services, so choose an individual or company with fast-loading servers and a track record of excellent customer service.
Just remember: your website is one of the most important investments your business will make, so take your time choosing a developer, and make your choice wisely.
Maggie Segundas is a business website service provider who has served businesses across Michigan for over 10 years. In addition to business website hosting and maintenance, Ms. Segundas provides comprehensive PHP website development and design. Learn more about Ms. Segundas’ website services at www.webadvances.net.