1. Define your needs

While chatting to a web developer or design about what they think the best solutions might be for your business, it always helps to have a good idea yourself before going anywhere else. Work out as exactly as you can what you need, what your estimated budget is and any other logistics like when you want it done by.

Being prepared will benefit you in several ways; you'll be able to save timing searching only for developers who offer exactly what you need, your initial chats with agencies and developer will be more efficient, and you will better avoid being sold add-ons and extras you don't really need.

2. Put quality first, not cost

As with most things in life and business, you get what you pay for and, unfortunately, the website production industry has a nasty case of the 'race to the bottom's. While it's not black and white, cheap = bad and expensive = better, you should always be wary of following the cheapest quote. In some instances you might be stung by hidden extras, receive a website that isn't worth a penny or just be dealt with as part of robotic processes rather than genuine interest and effort.

Of course, money is a big factor in any business decision, it's still important. Websites are a bit like cars; everyone would like the brand new, top of the range model but few can afford it so they buy cheaper. If you go right down to the bottom and buy a 24 year old, 150,000 mile, £450 banger from Derek down the road, chances are it won't last long and you'll have to spend more money fixing it or replacing it. Buy sensible, not cheap.

3. Ask lots of questions

Before hiring any agency or freelancer to build your new website you should ask as many questions as you can think of, and then make sure you've asked these too:

  • Do your quotes include hosting?
  • Do I get to keep the website? (I.e. can I download the website and take it anywhere else or will it only work with their code/on their servers)
  • Will you maintain the site after it's deployed? Does this cost extra?
  • Will I be able to easily edit the site content? (Text, imagery, pages etc.)
  • Are the websites you build:
    • Mobile-ready and responsive?
    • Optimised in terms of performance?
    • Built for SEO?
    • Copies or templates?
    • Accessible?
    • Secure?
    • Cross-browser compatible?

A good studio or freelancer should be able to answer these questions easily and without getting in a huff. If they take issue with you asking questions then look elsewhere.

4. General checks

Regardless of who you go with, it's always good to check a few things about them first:

  • Look around their website, make sure they are a legitimate business.
  • Ask for example of their work. The more relevant to your industry/project the better!
  • Read testimonials and reviews.
  • Find out exactly how payment works. It varies, some ask upfront, some split it half at the start and half at the end, some just invoice 100% at the end. 
  • Find out if you can who you'll be talking to. Will it be the creative director, the web developer directly or a sales person?

5. Be upfront, honest and enthusiastic

It can be hard to know what you want if when you haven't got it yet but being as honest and straightforward as you can with your requirements will help developers pitching for your project. Getting as much laid out as possible will help the project run smoothly - whoever you decide to go with - and can save you money and time by avoiding additional work.

It always help to be enthusiastic about your own website, too. If you're half-hearted throughout your discussions with a developer, they might echo your perceived lack of interest. If you've been burned by past developers it can be hard but a good website provider should be able to provide a hassle-free, co-beneficial work relationship - with a bit of effort on your side.

That's how to find a good web developer / designer!

There you go, 5 handy tips to your next website project search go a little smoother and hopefully produce better results. If you weren't aware, Devetecho design and develop websites! Good ones at that! So feel free to get in touch and get asking those questions: 0121 517 0121 or howdy@devetecho.co.uk.

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Sometimes the easiest way forward is to sit down and talk about things; what things? That's up to you!