Website development is a trending business. An enormous number of studios and agencies build their business in this industry. For brands and entrepreneurs, it’s hard to sort out which developer is worth the money and time. How to choose the web developer that will deliver you the result you expect, who will be comfortable to work with and who you can trust the future of your online business?
Brand positioning and transparency
The first place you will start searching in for the developer to hire for the eCommerce project is the Internet. The first thing to analyze will be search engine result page (SERP), website, social network profiles.
In the SERP, choose the companies from the first three pages. Well established companies with history rank higher due to the domain authority and age, due to larger and more satisfied traffic. Give other pages a chance if you are looking for a lower price which younger brands usually provide.
Try avoiding the ads. Paid search can also be considered, but keep in mind, that to get to your eyes the company paid money, which doesn’t necessarily means that they invested heavily their time and effort into the brand building. Their reputation and the services quality might turn out to be low.
The website has to look and feel professional. It must demonstrate the quality. The website has to tell you what benefits it will grant to your business if you decide to work with this developer. Don’t look for the task executor, look for the business partner.
The Portfolio page is a must have for the web developer. It’s the best way to illustrate the quality of the work, the attitude to the project and measure the influence on the business metrics of the client. Look through the cases and find the one that you would love to replicate in your project.
Positive (or even negative) testimonials published on the website is a good indicator of the developer’s reliability. They can be fake, but you can compare them to the portfolio. Try searching for the people who wrote them, reach out to them and get valuable feedback from the trusted resource.
Contact us page of the authoritative brand in addition to the “contact us” form will also include the phone numbers, direct email addresses of the key divisions like Sales, Support or Billing. A physical address is the strongest indicator. If the company has a real physical office which you can check, that means you will deal with busyness, not a startup or a freelancer.
Pricing page will be a valuable source of information. Though it’s not critical, it’s good if the developer’s website has it even if the prices are uncertain and have high variability. The pricing policy will tell you what clients and budgets this developer is targeting.
The Team information can also play an important part. You will be able to find the people working for the developer in the Facebook and find out if they are real people and are the employees of the company. Probably they are freelancers working remotely. For your project, it might result in the development delays.
As for the Social Media profiles, check for the content the developer publishes and how often. Choose the company who delivers professional and valuable content regularly. Try avoiding the one, who posts only funny pictures and videos. Social Media profile is a traffic channel for the business and should be taken seriously.
The transparency in the development process is a positive characteristic of the development company. And it has to be on the website. You have to know exactly what platform, integrations, services, add-ons, etc. will be used for your project, and why. You should be able to get the explanation of the choice and what profit your business will get due to this choice. The development procedure and the final product is the face of the business, the result of the studying, trying, failing, overcoming and succeeding – the expertise. If the development company has something to hide from you, there’s a reason for concern.
Corporate video is a trivial component for the business website, but if it has it, means the company is investing to brand building and have serious intentions to stay on the market for a long time.
Offline events that developer attendees will tell you where their interest lay. Do they participate as speakers? What interests them? What do they speak about on that events? Are those interests match yours?
Expertise and experience
Choose the expert from the industry you are going to work in. That means if you are going to launch an online store, choose the developer, who has experience in building websites for the eCommerce, and who know how to manage a live online store. To find one, study the portfolio, certifications, listings, ratings, and live projects.
Consider the leaders of the professional ratings first. There are no random companies there. All the participants will have the reputation and the history.
Look through the portfolio. The successfully finished projects will speak for themselves. Visit the websites, point out the things you like or dislike.
The reviews of the partners and the clients on other websites might provide you with even more details on the developer’s experience which is not displayed on their website.
Read the blog! The experts love sharing their knowledge to attract more leads. Just because they have it. And they know you will be looking for it. If the company publishes valuable information with lots of details and deep analytics you will see it quickly.
Are they certified? Not necessarily the developer has to have the certificates, but if they do – another score for them. The development company might not have its own platform or other products, but they can provide them and make only modifications. That’s not bad, they might be the guru in that. If they have a proof that the original software developer trusts them enough to certify – consider them without a doubt. There are many certificates the development company can acquire and display on their website, but not all of them are important. Make a quick research.
Ask for advice. The true experts always have a couple ideas on how to improve something, because they see the picture quickly. Will those pieces of advice be useful for your business? Make sure.
Talk to them. The conversation on the phone or by Skype will tell more than a hundred emails. Talking to the client is always hard – you have no time to think over the answer, no time to ask for help. You know or you don’t know. The professional will always sound professional. But before that, make sure you are ready for the conversation yourself.
Workflow and procedures
Make sure the that the developers know exactly what you want, ask questions, request project specification before payment, find out who will represent the company in your project.
Ask for questions. If the developer does not ask you questions about the project, doesn’t care about the details and specifics of your business – they don’t care. You have no reason to continue cooperation with this company, you will never get the result you expect.
Require the agreements and the technical task before launching the project. Make sure the developer knows how to write important docs. Regardless of the size, the document has to contain the clear conditions and details of your project. If needed, appoint an extra meeting to discuss the questions about the workflow, technical task, and schedule. A good developer will not conflict with your concern on this, they understand that you want to make sure the result will be perfect.
Having a single contact person for all your questions regarding the project will be very convenient for you and for the company. If the developer provides you with a dedicated project manager to build the communication between you and the development team, that saves you time and nerves.
Do you need an NDA? Hardly you will find the website developer that does not provide the NDA, but the conditions may vary. Make sure they suit you. Can the conditions be changed considering your project requirements?
The roadmap of the project will be the best attribute qualifying the developer as a professional. It will contain all stages of the development process, the release deadlines, and milestones.
Test the response time of your quote. Create a test query to send you to the developers you like. Choose the one who you feel comfortable to communicate with. If it’s hard to talk, you won’t get the necessary result.
Measure the response time and compare the interest. Can you make accomplishments throughout one day and move on to the next step? Excellent if yes. But if it’s a slow chat with short messages via email, you are wasting your time.
Received the invitation to Skype or phone call? Fantastic! The developer is ready to talk and, what’s more important, to answer your questions.
Mind the communication format. Is it formal or informal? Which one do you prefer? Formal is the language of business. Make friends with the developer only after the project was finished.
Warranty and guarantees
The warranty is another confirmation of the developer’s professionalism.
Providing the warranty period the developer ensures the quality of the product or service. It’s a positive characteristic if the company take on the responsibility to fix bugs which are a common thing in the case of custom development.
Ask about the Refund policy. Even if the conditions of the policy do not look attractively, the availability of the policy means that the company is mature enough to take this complicated situation into consideration and govern it. This confidence comes from experience.