“I need a web developer,” you say. “I need to find someone who is skilled, knowledgeable, communicative, and friendly. Oh, and affordable.”
We agree that those are excellent things to look for, and we strive to live up to them ourselves. The trick is knowing ahead of time whether or not your web developer is going to fulfill these requirements, and if they are going to deliver a modern, professional, and working website. We thought we’d help by making a list of the right questions to ask to help you get started with the vetting process.
Q: Will my site be user-friendly?
A: Yes we know, this seems like it should be a given. But user-friendly design actually requires significant thought and effort, especially on larger sites. User experience is critical to success in a medium where attention is a valuable commodity. How many clicks did it take to get to the checkout page? How hard is it for a customer to find the information they’re looking for? These considerations will be key to determining the success of your site.
Q: Will my site be mobile responsive?
A: It’s 2019. We see the masses wielding their smartphones everyday. We’ve heard the statistic, “50% of internet users browse on mobile.” Yet this is something that many sites are still lacking. Your website should look and work as great on a phone as it does on a computer.
Q: Will my site be Search Engine Optimized (SEO)?
A: Building a site is just half the battle, you’ve still got to drive users there. Search Engine Optimization is an important part of that. It doesn’t replace your marketing plan, but it’s the bridge that brings potential customers over the last leg of the journey. Whether you spread the word by mouth or by social media, when your customers do a web search for your business, this is how they will find you.
Q: Will my site be accessibility compliant?
A: This is now a legal requirement. Just like wheelchair access to a building, a website should be accessible to users who require assistance such as a screen reader. Your site should be organized in such a way that it is visible to this kind of technology, and contains alternate content where visuals are important.
Q: Will my site be secure and encrypted?
A: Thanks to Google, this has become non-negotiable, not just on e-commerce sites but everywhere. The latest browser versions are automatically marking non-encrypted sites as “not secure” and that’s a stain no one should tolerate.
Q: What happens if I want to move my site elsewhere?
A: This is a great question if you’re signing up for a service like GoDaddy – where hosting gets somewhat cheaper the more years you purchase upfront – or working with a developer whose business model is predicated on forcing clients to stay in-house.
Q: What happens if you fall off the face of the earth?
A: The number one complaint we hear, “my last developer just vanished. I didn’t know what to do.” We’ve discovered that many web developers are building websites as a side gig. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it turns out that a lot of gig developers don’t have an exit strategy and leave their clients stranded.
Q: To what extent will you be able to collaborate (decision making, design, etc)?
A: The key here is flexibility. Different clients want different levels of support, and that’s great. Some of our clients have a vision and know exactly what they want. Others are looking for some active participation in realizing the aesthetic of the site. Either of these is fine, but it pays to make sure your developer is prepared for the level of collaboration you want.
Q: Will you help me to understand how you work and navigate your industry?
A: A happy and successful customer is an educated customer. The more you know about a purchase and the alternatives, the more likely you are to make the correct decision and be happy about it afterwards. Your web developer should be open to sharing as much information and knowledge as you want to absorb.
Q: Are your websites competitively priced?
A: Is your developer using the right tool for the job? By this we mean, are they using a bazooka to swat a mosquito? Writing code from scratch with the latest technologies is fun and interesting, but building a website that way is often not the most cost effective option. If what you need is a professional web presence on a short timeline and a tight budget, this can be accomplished without reinventing the wheel.
At gooWee, we’ve got these things covered. The first five are our standard operating procedure. We wouldn’t dream of building a site that isn’t user friendly, mobile responsive, SEO optimized, accessible, and encrypted. We also believe in empowering our clients and meeting them halfway. That means providing as much information and education as our clients are receptive to. It means being flexible and providing exactly the level of advice and direction that is desired. And it means maintaining the freedom for our clients to leave any time and having a plan in place in case anything ever happens to us. Finally, it means streamlining our processes for affordability, while never sacrificing quality.
If you’d like to learn more about how gooWee can help with website design or web app development, feel free to reach out!