So you’re looking to hire a web developer, but you’re not quite sure how to separate the wheat from the chaff. Keep reading for my proven tips on ensuring you’ve got a good one.
Let’s face it – programming is hard, and keeping websites running smoothly over long periods of time requires the wisdom of experience. While you may be able to find a developer with 3-5 years experience who can solve one or two of your problems, it’s doubtful they’ll be able to solve all of them and manage your website/server for you. 10 years is better, 15-20 is great. Make sure your developer has a life-long commitment to programming – it’s not a casual career choice. Ideally they’ll be self-taught from an early age.
Remember, the longer your developer has been in the game, the more plays they’ll be familiar with, and the further they’ll have branched out into related roles. If you can find a developer with graphic design experience, who can also configure and manage your web server, run your ad campaigns, manage your projects, SEO, and who focuses on user experience, hang onto them! A programmer is great, but someone who can wear all the hats and manage every digital aspect of your business is gold.
With any relationship, communication has the power to make or break it – so it’s a facet to pay close attention to.
With an agency, you can often be assured that your calls will go answered during business hours, 9-5, M-F, and can be relatively sure that nobody will answer or help on nights, weekends, or holidays.
With a freelancer, they’ll have more flexibility to respond outside of business hours, but won’t have a backup team to jump in when they’re away. Some people appreciate this flexibility, while others prefer the rigid schedule and reliability of an agency.
Whichever you choose, it’s important that your develop or team is responsive in a timely manner. This is especially important with your urgent issues. Ask your developer if they have a rush delivery charge, and how quickly they can respond, on average, when you send them an URGENT email. You’ll want to be assured they can address these within 24 hours, and other issues within 48-72 hours in general.
While programmers may be known to have a tendency to be curt or very direct, it’s going to be important that you’ve found one who isn’t a total negative grump. After all, if you’re going to spend lots of time working together, you’ll want to find someone who gets excited about your ideas. Someone who can take your goal and run with it, passionately coming up with creative solutions and rising to challenges. A can-do attitude is crucial here, as it’s the difference between almost any idea being possible, and almost any idea being shut down quick. If you can find a friendly, cheerful, optimistic developer with vision and passion, you’ve got the basis for an amazing long-term relationship.