You know you want a web developer, but you don’t know what to ask them. Here’s a list of useful questions you might need to ask:
#1. How long have you been working as a web developer?
It may seem obvious, but it’s not. The first thing you need to know about a web developer is the length of their experience. Of course it is not the only thing you need to ask, but it’s definitely a good start. Years of experience matter, but what is also important is the amount of projects completed by your potential web developer. Moreover, certain sites are larger and more sophisticated than others and this is why your candidate should also have variety in his/her portfolio. Don’t hesitate to cooperate with a beginner if his/her work fascinates you! Just make sure you are in the position to take some risks.
#2. Have you worked on a similar project?
After finding out if your potential developer is experienced, you need to discover if he’s familiar with what you want exactly. An e-commerce website, for example, is not an easy task for someone with no experience at all and you don’t want your web developer to experiment on your website. Moreover, it will definitely take you a lot longer to complete the development of your website, as the delays will be massive! So, make sure you know what you want and that your web developer knows how to do it.
#3. Do you outsource any of the work?
Which is not necessarily a bad thing. That’s why you need to ask one more questions after your future web developer replies affirmatively: “which company do you cooperate with and where is the staff located?”. If you can see a respectable website, then trust the developer. But also don’t ignore your instinct.
Generally it is normal to outsource, however it is very important that it doesn’t delay the project and that it doesn’t affect its quality. After all, it is very rare that a web developer can do everything, from illustrations to copywriting and coding.
Subsequently, be prepared that your developer will have a team that usually works with him, depending on the size and the demands of the project. All you have to do is make sure they are all experienced professionals.
#4. How long should this project take from start to finish?
There is always a possibility that you have a deadline to catch and you want you project to be complete in a specific period of time.
This is why you need to find a developer who will be able to complete it within your estimated timeframe. Listen to the developer if he considers your deadline too short or too long. There might be some valuable advice to take there.
However, it is absolutely normal for a web developer to have other professional obligations, that might not agree with your plans. If you can agree on a specific timeframe that serves you both, you’ve got yourselves a deal. After all, none of you wants delays, as this would have a cost on both.
#5. What do you do for SEO?
If your web developer can also do SEO for your website then BINGO! In stead of outsourcing it, the person that actually built your website and can understand its strengths and dodgy points better than anyone, will be able to do it for you. Knowing how to create a website is good, but it’s even better if you know SEO and can use this knowledge to develop an even better website!
But how will your web developer do that? What does SEO mean for them and how will they manage to turn a website into a meeting point? Do they know how to use keywords? Can they advise you on what to improve in terms of content? How will they increase its visibility?
If your developer doesn’t know SEO, your website will lack in rankings and you will have to hire a specialist to save you.
#6. How many revisions are included?
Also, what kind of revisions? About the web design proposals? Or the final website? Instead of waiting until the last minute to express your opinion and say that you prefer something different, make sure you have agreed on how many revisions you can have for the money you’re offering. Depending on the project, the timeframe and the price, your web developer will offer you a number of revisions which you have to use very wisely.
Say it early enough if you prefer a revision on the design and do the same while following up with the progress of web development. Nobody likes last minute changes. Usually, most developers offer 2 to 3 revisions to the final website, but depending on the project, you could even enjoy unlimited revisions on design!
If you still want more revisions, ask what your web developer’s hourly rate is, as you will need to pay for those extra hours.
#7. Do you provide maintenance?
Not all web developers provide maintenance and that’s perfectly normal. However it is way better if your web developer can offer you maintenance, as they will know exactly what to do, quickly and efficiently. For a relatively low amount of money, your web developer can be on call for you and fix any issues that might occur to your website.
However, if you prefer to do all the updates yourself, choose WordPress and maintain it yourself. You can always pay your web developer per hour if something urgent and difficult to handle occurs.
In any case, make sure you ask for maintenance prices. You might be surprised!
#8. What can you offer to this project?
Although it’s a very common question in interviews and it basically challenges you to sell yourself, it is also a question that can bring a lot of useful information about your web developer to your attention.
Even if you ask for very specific things, there is no harm in knowing the possibilities offered by your web developer, if his list of skills is longer than you think. Moreover, he might have a team of freelancers that regularly cooperate with him and might be able to shift the level of the project a bit (or even a lot) higher.
Just ask and you might even get ideas about how to make your website impressively attractive!
#9. What do you do for security?
We know you’re not as interesting as CIA would be for hackers, but your website can definitely attract some sinister people who just want to have fun or make a little profit – especially if your website also includes an e-shop.
Not only do you need to protect your website from these kind of attacks, but also your visitors! They need to be safe and they need to know it! If your developer doesn’t have a clue about security, stay away and don’t even think about cooperating with them. If you do, you will probably end up paying other experts to clean your website from malicious re-directions and codes, while your customers will probably send you complaints about their credit cards being hacked while shopping from you.
So make sure your developer knows how to prevent attacks and knows how to keep your website safe from malicious software, before deciding to hire them.
#10. Are you willing to show me how to make edits on my own?
A true professional will dedicate some tome to show you how to update your website, how to put content and how to maintain it, but he will not spend time working on it, unless you pay him.
As time passes by, you will see for yourself that your website will be considered outdated, certain issues will occur and many details will need to change. This is why you will have to be able to do any simple changes and edits yourself, but you will also need to figure out if this is something you can actually do.
In case your website needs a lot of maintenance and administrating it might consume the majority of your precious time, consider establishing a cooperation with your web developer who can do everything quickly and for a low cost.
If this is not necessary, make sure your developer sets up easy access for you to update your website and make all the necessary changes. A good developer will let you go when his work with you is done, but will always be there for you, when you need him.
Have Fun and enjoy your time with Solomon Designs!