July 07, 2021
Creating a new website or updating your existing site can seem like a daunting task. Partnering with the right developer, however, can make this process painless. Asking for referrals and reviewing the developer’s work are two crucial steps in the process, but it’s also essential to ask the right questions. Here are seven questions you should absolutely ask any developer you are considering for work on your website.
What content management system do you recommend and why?
The answer to this question often comes down to the focus of the developer or agency. Some love WordPress and HubSpot, and others love Drupal and Magento. Some are more specifically designed for eCommerce and others for marketing platforms. You will want to know which systems they are comfortable using, especially if you already have one in mind.
Will I easily be able to make content and imagery changes to my website?
The answer should be “Yes, and here’s how.” If they start saying no, most things are hardcoded, then walk away, or they could end up charging you for each small change. Now there may be particular elements of your website you cannot change, but these are mostly global elements you don’t want to touch anyways. As long as they can show you how to update content and images quickly, you are in good hands.
What are your expectations for my involvement in this process?
Some developers like to be head down as they build, and others may involve you page by page. Make sure you ask about involvement and know when to be available for feedback.
What assets or login credentials do I need to provide?
Suppose you have a portal for users to log in, a calendar scheduling tool, or any other API integrations. In that case, you may need to provide credentials upfront for a smooth transition of functionality.
How many rounds of revisions can I expect in the development phase?
There is no set standard here, but asking the question will prepare both parties for the likelihood of content updates in development and allow both sides to set expectations of what may be in or out of scope. You will want to make iterative changes, so try to avoid working with a person who completes the entire project then asks for feedback.
How do you ensure a positive user experience across all devices?
Mobile-first design and development is a golden standard, but also see if they have a system for checking a page across browsers and platforms to ensure consistency.
What do hosting, security, and maintenance look like post-launch?
This is crucial post-launch because if these elements are with a different provider, then any issues post-launch may need to be handled by a hosting provider.
Asking the right questions and having expectations in place before your website is developed is the best way to guarantee a more smooth launch process. Not only will you feel confident that what is being built will meet your needs, but you will have most likely developed a rapport with the developer and can resolve any issues more quickly.
Despite asking all the right questions, there can sometimes be setbacks during this process. This can be understandably frustrating or make timelines look really tight. Check in with your developer or project manager to see exactly where the hold up is and if you may have an answer that can help solve the problem more quickly. You are the expert on your business, and together you and a team of web professionals can create a platform that engages and converts qualified leads.
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