In order for any company to succeed today, it needs a website. Are there DIY options out there? Yes, there are. However, those sites tend to not so easily customizable and aren’t able to scale alongside a growing business. So when scaling starts to happen they find themselves needing a web developer. But, how do you guarantee that they are the right one for the project? Today we will cover 10 critical questions to ask a web developer before hiring them to build your website.
1. Do you build responsive websites?
Now, we’ve covered why websites need a responsive design for mobile devices in a previous blog so you can go into an interview with any developer and know that this is a must-have. This is one of the most important questions to ask a web developer before hiring them as it can reveal a lot about them. If the answer is yes, great, they are aware of industry and google recommendations (in our opinion, responsive design is now a standard.) If the developer says no, it’s a red flag they won’t be able to create a user-friendly website that is capable of working across all devices.
2. Do you make custom websites or use a pre-made customizable template?
This is a great question to ask a developer because not only will it help you visualize cost, it’ll also help the developer know what type of website you’d want to build. It’s very common that developers offer both as options. A completely custom website is a great option for a company with a set brand and is very reliant on its online presence. Now this option comes with a higher price tag but can be made to fit company needs. Customizable templates don’t offer the same full range of design but still allows the developer to build something that is still unique to a specific brand.
3. Will I be able to see the website as you are creating it?
When you build a house you get to see progress in real time. Why wouldn’t the online home for your company not be the same? Ask this question to make sure that you will be a crucial role during the site design because you are! With the ability to see the site built in real time allows you to suggest and request content and design changes. This is usually a standard practice among reputable development firms. If you get any push back, the interview is pretty much over.
4. What Content Management System (CMS) do you use?
As a quick refresher, a CMS is a software application that is used to control and manage the content of your site through a dashboard. If you need a review of different types of CMS, we have a blog for that. This is important to know because post-launch this is how you will be able to manage and grow your website. Find out if they use a third party CMS or custom built one. A Custom built CMS won’t be so easily changed and will require you to reach out to the original developer each time something needs to be changed. It’s also important to ask if it’s a web-based interface, like WordPress. These are far friendlier to use for the non-tech savvy user. If you plan on being the owner of your site, we strongly recommend building your site on the open-source CMS WordPress.
5. What do you need from me before launch?
Make sure that text, images, and design are just about set before you even start interviewing for a developer. This a good thing to have established so both sides of the party are prepared. Asking this during an interview to get an idea of how well they can manage a project. They should have a list ready of the things they will need to start, or at least can name it all off the top of their head.
6. Do you offer e-commerce services?
If you are planning to have any sort of online store you need to find out if this potential developer can create and integrate that for you. Are they able to create an online cart? Is it possible for them to create a customer database? Will you be able to control and edit inventory easily? These services tend to be pretty basic with most companies that offer e-commerce but asking this can give you insight into how comfortable they are with the service.
7. What sort of testing do you do before launch?
Make sure that they have a process in place before they launch your site. This is the most important step before launch this cannot be missed. Make sure that their process includes testing to make sure all links, pages, on all browsers and devices. Skipping this step can lead to huge errors being present when you launch and even cost you more money to fix if the developer doesn’t offer ongoing support.
8. Do you offer web maintenance and security?
Speaking of ongoing support, you’ll want to know how the development firm handles any issues after the site has been completed. The internet and website standards change all the time and sometimes these changes can cause established sites to break. If you feel confident in maintaining the upkeep on your site, that’s great! However, some companies have dedicated services that help keep websites secure and fully functioning through all updates.
9. Will I be able to edit my site easily?
This is a great follow up to the previous question and gives you a chance to find out if they offer training for you to learn how to use your website. If they build on a custom CMS that makes it difficult for you as the owner to go in and change things, like adding to a staff page or needing to remove/add services etc, will you have to pay them for continued maintenance?
10. Do you offer SEO services?
Not all development teams offer SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services or even design with SEO best practices in mind. SEO is crucial to every site, this isn’t something that should be overlooked. Ask this to find out if this is something can be covered during the development stage or is something that they offer as an additional cost. Do they also offer SEO maintenance? Or will you need to do that on your own? Building a website is only half the battle! SEO is what keeps that website relevant.
Your website should reflect who you are as a company, be able to grow with you, and do more harm than good. Finding the right firm to build this is crucial so that you can avoid a stressful building process. These are just some of the questions to ask any potential web developer before hiring them, so keep this in mind as you shop around. If you’ve been shopping around for a web developer and fed up with the interview process, we can help! Reach out to us for a consultation and see our interview skills in action!
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