Insights

Things to Think About When Hiring a Web Developer

October 21, 2022

Engaging a web developer to create a website for your business will be one of your most important early hires. Here are our tips on what to think about when hiring a developer to ensure you don’t end up wasting valuable time and money.

Previous experience

Speak to others and ask for recommendations. Get in touch with a few developers and ask to look at examples of their previous work; you will immediately get a feel for whether you like their style. You will also get a sense of what they might be like to work with. Are they responsive and interested? They should be keen to understand your business and goals in order to meet your requirements. Ask for testimonials - a company that produces quality work will be happy to share positive feedback.

Project management and timescales

Consider how you would like the project to be managed. This will depend on the complexity of the work and the size of the developer, but think about whether you would prefer:

  • A dedicated team to be provided by the developer, managed by you;
  • A dedicated project manager nominated by the developer, to act as a liaison between you and their team, provide progress updates and share ideas and feedback.

Ask the developer to set out timescales and query what controls are in place to manage these.

Design process

Design is a crucial aspect of your website - appearance and functionality are key. Consider the design of the developer’s previous projects – do they create bespoke designs to suit each business’s needs?

Ask whether the developer has a specific process for the initial design phase and what sort of information you will need to provide.

If you want to edit the website yourself, ensure it is built on a platform or content management system (CMS) that will allow you to do this.

Most websites need to be mobile-friendly, so ensure that this is built into the spec so that the site will look good in various browsers, screen resolutions and sizes.

Digital security must be a key focus. If you will process payments online, bear in mind that certain regulations apply. Ask your developer whether they have experience with payment gateways and whether they have relevant certifications.

Costs

Find out how the developer charges – fixed fee or hourly rates? Consider costs beyond the initial build. Will the developer host the website and what will the cost be? What rates will apply to add functionality, make improvements or for on-going support and maintenance?

Scalability, support and maintenance

Bear in mind that your tech needs to be scalable – all being well, demand for your product or service is only going to grow! You need to ensure that your website will be able to cope with increased demand.

How will you maintain and update the website? Will you, a third-party or the developer support and maintain it?

If your developer is hosting or providing support, ask for a breakdown of the different levels of support available and associated costs. Check what they can commit to in terms of ‘uptime’ – there is no point in having a great site that constantly crashes. Consider whether service credits would be a meaningful remedy or whether you need the right to switch provider.

Ownership

A common misconception is that you automatically own the intellectual property (IP) in something that you pay for. However, this is not the case, and it is important that the developer transfers ownership of all relevant IP to you. At the very least, require an exclusive licence of such rights, but bear in mind licence fees may apply.

If the developer is registering a domain name (website address) on your behalf, ensure that the domain is registered in your name and not the developer’s.

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