Welcome back to our “How to Hire a Website Developer” series! In part two of this series, we talked about looking for website developer recommendations. Recommendations are very important to look over before making a commitment to hire someone. In this post, part three of our series, we discuss the importance of looking at past projects, so you know which website developer to hire.
Look at Their Past Projects
It can be tricky knowing which person to hire as a website developer. It takes a lot of trust and confidence to hand over the responsibility for your website to someone. You should be completely comfortable with the website developer you use. A great way to be sure of a website developer’s talent is by looking at their past projects. The rest of this post will help understand what you can learn from looking at their past projects.
The Quality of Their Work
When you look at their previously built websites, you will get a good indication of what your website might be like if you hire them. Make sure you like the quality of their work and trust their ability to develop a great website for you. The websites they have created should be modern, functional and professional. Do their websites tend to load quickly, have a mobile-friendly design, an attractive layout and easy to navigate? If so, that’s a good sign. If a website developer has a tendency to create quality websites for their clients, then there’s a good chance they will create a quality website for you.
When you look at websites a developer has created, you will get a sense of their style. Aside from just functioning correctly and being a good quality website, it’s important you like their design style. Look at a variety of their websites and see if there are certain aspects of their work you particularly like. If you do hire them, you can tell them what you liked about their past work, and let them know you want it to be included in your own website design.
Your website developer should strive to make your website match with what you envision for it. But keep in mind, your website may mix their own design style with what you have imagined for your website. For example, some developers tend to use a generous number of buttons and menus, while some tend to develop simple and sleek websites. These are just examples of stylistic preferences. You can always ask the developer to change the features you don’t like, which they should do with no problem. When deciding which website developer to hire, it can be easier to hire one who has a sense of style that you would like to see on your website.
It’s also a good idea to see if the website developer can create a website mockup for you, before going into the actual development phase. There may be a small cost for this, but it can help ensure the website looks exactly as you like.
Mastering website development takes a lot of time and experience. A good developer will have a wide array of skills, to give you something better than just a simple template design with minimal functionality. Ask potential developers for examples of their past projects. This will help ensure the developer has experience in their field of work.
Past projects can also give you an idea of their experience in your business’ industry. Each industry usually requires different functions and features in a website. It is a plus if the website developer you hire understands your business’ needs and how to implement industry specific features. This is not a deal-breaker with a website developer, it is just an added benefit if they are experienced with your industry. For example, a commercial real estate brokerage will need a website that displays property listings, and may need to integrate with a third-party software to do this. Alternatively, an e-commerce website will need to be able to show products and have an online check-out process in place.
Other Important Considerations
We’ve said to look at their past work, to get an idea of their quality, style and experience. And it’s true, you should certainly do this. However, keep in mind that the website may have been altered after the developer finished creating the website. Here are some points to consider:
If a website is slow, it may be because the website owner has uploaded additional high-resolution photos (not a best practice for websites) and plugins that are slowing down the website. A website might also be slow because of the website hosting package they are using. The site may have originally been fast, but now become slower. If it’s just a couple of websites that are slow, it may not be because of the developer.
You may notice a website looks a little funky in certain areas, almost like the formatting is off, or something is missing. This will sometimes happen when plugins are added, removed, updated or not updated. This isn’t necessarily the responsibility of the website developer. Also, a website owner will sometimes try to make edits to the website, and end up messing up the formatting by mistake. But, they could be afraid of spending extra money to get it fixed, so they just leave the formatting messed up. Again, check and see if the majority of the websites a developer created are free of formatting issues. If most sites are good, then the issues is probably not with the developer.
Are you enjoying this post? If so, be sure to subscribe for occasional email updates from our team!
Website developers sometimes build websites they don’t like the design of. For example, we’ve had a couple clients who wanted us to design a website in a way we wouldn’t prefer. Our design preferences don’t exactly match up with what they wanted. In the end, they were very happy with the outcome of the website. Although we were able to make our clients very happy, we don’t want their website designs to be featured as part of our portfolio. With this in mind, if you come across a website developer who created a website you find unattractive, don’t rule them out right away. Take a look at their other websites and see if the majority of their websites are attractive.
Custom Website Options
One other very important factor to consider is that a website developer may not have had the opportunity to create a website in the same style you want. There are countless website combinations and styles that can be developed. Just because a website developer hasn’t built a website like what you’re looking for, doesn’t mean they can’t. Show them a website example you like, and ask if they are able to create something very similar. Depending on their skill level, they may be able to do this for you. The key is, look and see if they have a variety of styles in their portfolio. If they do, that’s a good sign. However, if most of their websites look almost identical, you may want to look for a different developer.
Deciding Which Website Developer to Hire
When you hire a website developer, a great way to feel confident in your choice is to look at their past projects. With examples of past work, you are able to get a great idea of what your website might be like once the developer is finished. Good website developers will gladly offer a list of their past projects upon request. So, don’t be afraid to ask for one.
Be sure to check back on our blog to read the rest of our “How to Hire a Website Developer” series. In part four, we discuss the timeline of website development projects. And if you need help with a website development project, let us know! You can connect with us by filling out the contact form below.