Avoid getting stung by developers

I’ve unfortunately come across a fair number of people recently that have been let down by the person they paid to build their website for them. This upsets me for a number of reasons so I felt the need to try and prevent this from happening to other people. What do you need to do then? You need to find out if they genuinely care about you and your business. Or if they are just trying to make another sale.

Some questions they should ask you.

What is the primary purpose of your website?

If you have been asked this they are trying to set the website up to convert the traffic landing on your website in the best possible way. This shows they are thinking about your business and it’s processes, basically it shows that they actually care. If they ask you this and you don’t know the answer. DO NOT pay to have your website built until you know it’s purpose.

Do you have any branding guideline documents?

The branding of every business is important. If you don’t have clear brand guidelines yet you should really consider getting some. Most developers will probably only ask for your logo. Though, if you have any printed material make sure you give them a copy to keep your branding consistent across all platforms.

Do you have a project deadline?

If they haven’t asked you this question they probably have no intention of finishing your project promptly. Also a bad question you can ask them is when can you have this finished? It’s a very loose question and it puts the power in their hands making them think you have no deadline. Just whichever client nags the most gets their project finished.

Set a clear deadline with a developer and have stipulations in place should the deadline be missed. Possibly knocking money off the final payment or some other free work on top perhaps. If a developer wont agree to this you probably want to find another developer.

What questions should I ask them?

Ask to see a portfolio of past projects.

Most developers have a portfolio they can show you and if you like the work the produce. You can guess you will probably end up with a similar result.

Will I have access to add and update content? Do you provide training?

This is very important! If you don’t have the budget to pay your developer for ongoing support you will need access and know how to make changes yourself. Most developers will happily jump on Skype and teach you how the backend works and how to navigate it.

What are your thoughts on our business, anything you recommend? 

As well as knowing what your website needs to do for you sometimes this is a cracker to ask. It shows that they are thinking about your businesses best interests. They work with a lot of other businesses and have probably used a piece of tech elsewhere which would be massively valuable to you. Also it shows they aren’t just following orders. They are supposedly the expert in this field. If there is something working well for others online they should be making suggestions to you.

Be Cautious Of Referrals

I say this due to the few cases I was talking to. They were referred by someone. Essentially they are in an online business group. They put up a question asking for help and they were referred someone that could help with their problem. The only issue is nine times out of ten when someone refers someone in these groups. That person has not employed that person directly to help on their project. So they don’t actually know how good they are.

Don’t get me wrong. Referrals are good and you should take them on board. But approach them the same way you would any other developer. Ask them the same questions. They might not be the right fit for your business.

How much should you pay?

This is hard to place an exact answer and would make this post incredibly long so I will write another post about this next week. There are so many variables when it comes to websites from the platform it’s being built on to the size, scale and functions of the website. If they are also helping with content and marketing? All play a big part in the end price you will have to pay.

I will say don’t always go with the cheapest – or most expensive. Look at the brief you have given to them. Who gave the most input in their response. Who genuinely seems the most interested in you and your project? They are the ones you want working with you.

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