Are you looking for a new website, or wanting yours to do a better job? If you’re ready to shop around, here are 4 questions to ask web developers before you decide which one is the right fit for your business.
1. What Type of Website Do You Develop?
Some developers will build you a custom website from the ground up, and that might make you feel special. Others might use a development platform that has a content management system (CMS), which means you can manage your own website as much as you want to. We’d encourage you to consider why a custom build might introduce problems:
Functionality Is Costly
Building whole pieces of functionality from scratch can be expensive.
Lock You In
A custom build can lock you in to that developer so you can’t pack up your website and move on. If they go out of business, you’ll be on your own.
A custom built website can mean that you have trouble updating your site on your own. You could be continually paying for changes, rather than having the independence to do updates yourself.
2. What Type of Clients Do You Have?
A developer who specialises in mining websites might not have the skills and aptitude to build you a good online coffee distribution store. This is because they have built up skills addressing a different audience.
The mining developer can still build a store but they may be learning as they go. A developer who has built many online stores has gained skills, which means you’re likely to get more value from them.
If you want to build an online store, the developer who has built a lot of e-commerce websites knows where you’re coming from and what you need. They are up to date on products and short cuts, and are very likely to save you time and money.
3. How Will You Support Me?
Many developers ride off into the sunset once the site is built and they are paid. The problem is that over time you will see ways to grow or adapt your site. You’ll need to update it. You’ll have questions. You might want some specific training. You might get new staff who need to be brought up to speed. If your web developer also offers training and support, this will be easy for you.
4. Can You Help Market My Business?
You can build a car but if you don’t build it with wheels, it won’t go anywhere! The same applies to websites.
A developer who understands the principles of online marketing is more likely to build in features that will prepare your website for growth. Just having a website isn’t enough by itself: you need to get people there.
Areas like content marketing, search marketing, email marketing and social media can help get your website found by potential customers.
Ask the developer if they can educate and support you to effectively market your business online. This will help you to gauge whether they will build your website intelligently in the first place.