Choosing a Web Developer: 8 things to watch out for

Web Developer Desk Setup

So, you’re looking for a new website? We’ve got you covered. We know that finding the right web developer to bring your vision to life can be difficult. You want to find the perfect company to help you build your business and get more customers. We’ve compiled a list of the top mistakes people make when choosing a web developer, and how to avoid them.

 

They are difficult to get hold of.

One of the most important aspects of working with a new company is that you communicate well. You don’t want to find yourself waiting weeks for an update or reply. Ideally you are looking for a company that will continue to support your business long after the site is completed. That means you need a good rapport and a level of trust with your contact.

Solution: You can tell pretty early on whether a company is the right fit for you by asking yourself the following questions. After your initial meeting, did they check in with you? How long did it take them to do so? When you email them, what is the response time? Obviously, you don’t want to be inundated with emails and calls. However, if they continue to touch base with you it means they care about your business. That can only be a good thing!

 

They don’t have experience relevant to your business.

When considering a web developer, it is imperative to ensure that they have the experience necessary to bring your idea to life. If they are only just starting out, they may not be able to provide you with the best version of your new site. Some companies offer design over functionality. This means you end up with a good-looking site that doesn’t work as a tool to entice new customers. They also may not have worked with other companies in your field before. It’s all well and good if they have designed several lovely sites for construction companies but if you’re a clothing retailer, is this a good fit?

Solution: This can be as simple as checking the company has been around as long as they claim. It can also be looking into past client testimonies to see how others rate them. However, you should also make sure that they have the specific experience relevant to your business. Have a look at their existing portfolio to see if they have examples from your industry. Remember that the style of the website will have been decided by the client. Look instead at the functionality of the site. Does it offer what you would expect it to? Is it easy to contact the business? If you were a potential customer, would the site encourage you to make a purchase?

 

They don’t offer ongoing support after the initial build.

When first choosing a web developer some people don’t think this far ahead. However, it could have a huge impact on your site’s success in the future. The original design is just the first building block for a successful website. As with all technology, the software used on your website will need updated over time. This means ongoing maintenance is required to ensure your site is up to date and working properly. It is important to ensure that the company you have chosen has the resources and skills to sort any problems that may occur. You do not want to lose customers to an inefficient or broken site. You should also consider whether maintenance is included in a low monthly cost or if you’ll have to pay an expensive day rate for any fixes/updates.

Solution: Consider the size of the company you are looking at. If it only has one developer, are they going to leave you without support whenever they go on holiday? Be sure to ask about this when you are meeting with potential candidates. If you want to test them, pick up the phone and call their support line. Make sure they have the required skills to fix any issues that may arise.

 

They don’t speak in plain English. 

If the person you are speaking to keeps using web jargon to “explain” things to you, are they actually trying? As a customer you don’t need a bunch of acronyms and technical phrases thrown at you. You need to know that your website is going to function and look how you want it to. If you feel completely bamboozled after getting off the phone with a web developer, they are probably not a good fit for you.

Solution: Ask your web developer to talk you through their plan for your site without the confusing terminology. If they can’t do so, perhaps they don’t even fully understand what it is you are after.

 

They try to sell you things you don’t need.

Every business operates uniquely and requires different things from their website. Just because some of your competitors have a booking system on their website doesn’t mean you need one too. If a company is trying to convince you to add a lot of extra functions to your site, they may just be looking for a larger pay day.

Solution: Ensure that your web developer understands what your company needs and is focussed on delivering the best website to attract your customers. If they want to add something to your site, have them explain exactly why and what value it will add. Have a look at the websites that inspired you, do they have the aspect being suggested? Have a look at sites that do include the suggested addition, does it add value? Find out how much this addition would cost and compare that to the expected benefits.

 

Their designs don’t work across devices.

We are currently living in the digital age with more than 50% of web traffic worldwide accessed through mobile devices (Statista, 2020). This means it is incredibly important that your site has a responsive design that can adapt to fit the device accessing it. If your web developer cannot offer this, you may lose out on a large number of potential customers.

Solution: Look into the company’s existing portfolio and try accessing the sites they have built from your desktop, laptop, tablet or phone. Compare how the site looks from device to device. Check that the sites have a user-friendly interface on smaller screens.

 

They try to tie you in to a long contract.

Be wary of upfront design costs that sound too good to be true. You will often find that companies offering these are trying to tie you in to a long contract with little flexibility. This may end up costing you a lot more in the long run. Being in a fixed term contract also means that if the going gets tough you may have to make a large pay-out to cancel the contract. If you chose a company that does not tie you in to a contract, this means that you can simply pause your site for a few months until you are back on your feet. In the current climate you do not want to be putting your company in the position to be owing money unless absolutely necessary. At Dijify we don’t believe in contracts as we know that business needs are flexible, so we need to be flexible too.

Solution: Consider the deal they are offering you carefully. Find out exactly what is included in the monthly cost you would be paying. If it is just a ‘hosting’ charge, then you are not getting very much for your money. They may try to upsell you to include extras for an additional price. Many web developers already include these extras in their base price. At Dijify, our monthly cost includes hosting, web support, marketing assistance and educational resources to help you get the most from your website.

 

They aren’t listening to you.

Your website should be an extension of your brand and showcase the best aspects of your company in order to attract your target customers. If your web developer is creating a site that isn’t consistent with your current branding, this may confuse potential and existing customers. Also, if they do not build the site to function in the way you require then this may also affect the business you receive from the site. That being said, the company you chose should be an expert in website creation so don’t disregard their input. They may spot an opportunity to make your site even more appealing to your customer base. However, they should be able to explain exactly why you need to make the changes they suggest and, it shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Solution: Ensure your web developer understands what you expect from your site. Have a conversation with them about what makes your company unique and how to communicate that to your customers. Make certain that they know which functions are most important for your site to include. Show them examples of what you are looking for.

What our clients say about working with Dijify

We are delighted !

We are delighted with our new website- it will be a great asset to our small business. The attention to detail that Iain showed was excellent, he incorporated all of our design ideas and also proposed some changes- his advice was always spot on and the finished product was much better than we had envisaged. We would highly recommend Dijify, the quality of the designs, the excellent service we have received at every stage of the process and the incredibly good value of the website make you an ideal choice for any business looking for a new website. Thanks again for all of your help!

Hannah / Bee Sporty

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