Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What to Ask Before Hiring a Web Developer

Once in a while you come across something that you know, but someone else said it so well.  In the Feb 09 edition of The Crafts Report Donald Clark wrote in his column about choosing a web developer.  His daughter Marjorie provided him with this list of questions to ask before finally selecting the web developer to work with:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • What do you know about my industry? (Not required but a good designer will do some research on you and your industry before the interview.)
  • What's included in the design - how many pages, what features, etc.
  • How much will it cost?
  • Is hosting included?
  • How much is it per month - is there a discount if I pau annually?
  • Is setup included?
  • I don't have a domain name; can you recommend one and register it for me? How much will it be?
  • Will the domain be registered in my name? (Ensist on this!) How is that billed? How can I register the domain name myself?
  • How do you like to communicate? By e-mail,  phone or in person? (this may determine how you find your designer.  If you want someone local, see out a referral from your chamber of commerce.)
  • What can I expect in the design process?
  • How many designs and revisions are allowed for?
  • How long will all of this take?
  • Wht are your terms?
  • What happens if the scope of the project changes?
  • What happens if we cannot seem to work together?
  • At what point is the site considered "done"?
  • What happens when the work is completed?
  • Do you have a guarantee?
  • How will the site be maintained?  Do you have a service contract? What is included?
  • Will there be a construction page posted while the site is being built?
  • What do you need from me?
  • How should the content be delivered (via email, disk, hard copy)?
  • Do you take credit cards?
In addition to these valuable questions, make sure you get answers in writing.  It is not that different from hiring a contractor to build your home!  I suggest also ask: 
  • what the developer will do to ensure your site is optimized for search engines;
  • what kind of statistical reporting you get with your site;
  • what programming language will be used (archaic languages are harder to maintain)
  • can your site be built with a full content management system and what will it cost;
  • will the developer visually optimize photography you provide to ensure sharp images?
ASK FOR CLIENT REFERENCES and talk to those clients to find out what worked well and what worked less well.  

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