14 Questions to Ask a Web Developer
Choosing the correct web development team for any business can be a foreign and intimidating process to many. Our experience has shown us that many people simply don’t know where to start and what to ask us. This can become stressful to a client and can even lead them to choose the wrong development team for their project. In order to give clarity for those looking for web development, we have created a list of the questions we feel makes the process more comfortable and streamlined for the client and developer.
1. Will I own my website?
When asking developers this question the only answer you should look for is “Yes, 100%!”
It’s as simple as that. If you don’t already have a domain and hosting, they should have some options to set you up and turn over the keys to you. If they say anything otherwise, look elsewhere.
2. Do you provide hosting services?
Some companies will provide a few months free hosting and then charge yearly or monthly for anytime after that. Other companies will offer it with the development package and others simply won’t host your site. Look for a company who offers at least a few months of free hosting and then offers a payment package for extended hosting, either monthly or yearly. Be wary of high costs for hosting and find out which hosting service they use.
3. Have you created a website like mine before?
Find out if they have done any work for other companies in your industry. If so, ask to see their work and their experience with those clients.
4. Do you have a portfolio I can look at?
If they haven’t created a site like yours then you are going to have to see some of their work. Even if they haven’t created something similar to your industry, ask them how comfortable they are creating your site. They should be confident in their ability to create a website with your needs.
5. Do you provide any other services?
At this point you should have already discussed domain and hosting. Along with these two essentials ask them what they can provide in terms of SEO, SEM, and content creation. If they do offer these, find out their pricing and what each service provides. Make sure to receive a written proposal stating services and prices.
6. How much will I pay for a completed website?
If you’ve asked the questions above you will have a good idea on what a web developer will charge but theres still more to ask. Be wary of developers who can promise all of the services above for under $1000. We’ve seen plenty of clients come to us, traumatized by their experience with the $500 “web developer” from craigslist and there empty promises. As the old saying goes, “if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.” Make sure to review all pricing in a written proposal from the developer.
7. What are the ongoing cost associated with my site?
Most web developers will charge you a flat rate for the design and development of your site. Other services such as content creation, search engine optimization, and search engine marketing require ongoing attention in order to achieve success. These services require monthly costs. See how they have provided these services for their existing clients and shop around.
8. Which CMS do you utilize?
CMS stands for Content Management System. You may have heard of one popular CMS, WordPress. WordPress makes it easy for clients to be able to log into their website and easily update items such as blog post and media. We personally recommend WordPress for most websites, due to its ease of use and growing popularity amongst all brands, big and small. Although WordPress is our favorite, some customizations may require the use of another CMS.
9. Do you offer marketing services for my company?
Ask if they provide any SEO or SEM services. If they do, ask for examples of work they have done for their clients. Be careful with any company who guarantees exact and specific organic results within google. It is impossible to make any guarantees because google is consistently changing their algorithm.
10. What happens if I want to make changes to my site?
Every proposal you receive from a developer should have a defined number of revisions. What each revision includes should also be clearly defined. If both client and developer have a clear understanding of this, the project will run much smoother and on time. Unlimited revisions can cause frustration to a developer and too much over thought into minute details, halting production. Be careful with the developer who does not provide any or enough revisions. For reference, a small business project should include anywhere from 10-15 revisions.
11. Will my site be responsive?
According to Cisco, global mobile data traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 66 percent from 2012 to 2017.* With these astounding numbers of growth in mobile over the next 4 years, companies can’t afford to have a website that doesn’t work correctly on smartphones, tablets, and computers. A responsive website looks clean and is easy to navigate on any platform. If a developer doesn’t know what you mean when you tell him you want your site to be responsive, look elsewhere.
12. How long will it take to complete my website?
All websites are unique so time can vary from project to project. If a developer tells you he can create the website you are looking for in 1 week, don’t believe them. Look for small business projects to take anywhere from 3-6 weeks. You and your developer should always take into account number of revisions and scale of the project and both of these should be clearly defined in the written proposal.
13. Will you be providing me with a detailed proposal?
All web development companies should be able to provide you with a clear and well written proposal. A proposal should include, at the least, pricing for all services, project timeline, contact information, and a brief overview of who the project managers will be.
14. How will we communicate during the development of my site?
A developer should always provide you with their office line and email. Some may even provide you with their cell phone number. In addition to these, ask developers whether they use software such as Basecamp. We recommend Basecamp as it is what we use with our clients to create an easy environment to communicate and share ideas within. All of our clients enjoy how they can easily see who is working on their project and have direct input into different aspects of the creation process. We love it because we can easily let our clients see what we are working on. Basecamp also provides a clutter free environment for communicating versus sifting through countless e-mails searching for the last discussion we had with a client.
We hope this can clear up many of the questions business owners will have on their search for the right developers. Thank you for reading and if you have any questions related to Web Design or Online Marketing feel free to call us! We are the best Miami Web Design Company hands down and we would love to answer all the questions above for you!