Every good website needs a web developer to keep it running smoothly. But where do you find one, and how do you know if they’re any good? Keep reading to learn where to find a web developer and more!
Word of Mouth
This is a fantastic way to find a web developer, because you can ask more about what it’s like working with the prospective developer ahead of time. Find out from your referrer whether the developer is: competent, timely, pleasurable to work with, friendly, and responsive. These are all important qualities that will set them apart from the competition.
You probably already know someone who works with a web developer or an agency team. Talk to friends, family, and colleagues – especially those who own businesses. If their website, logo, or branding are great, find out who they worked with.
One thing to keep in mind here is that you’re going to want a referral from someone with similar business needs to yours. If you need a simple website and have a modest budget, a referral from someone with 100 locations and a huge eCommerce website is probably not going to put you in touch with a developer who fits the bill for your task. Conversely, if you want someone to maintain your large corporate intranet, a referral from your buddy with a 3-page static website probably isn’t what you need.
When discussing the specifics you’re looking for with a prospective developer, be sure to mention the size and complexity of any existing website you have, as well as your anticipated hourly need per month, and your budget. These will help the prospective developer to determine if you’re the right fit for their skillset and availability.
Find a Site You Like, Trace it to the Developer
This one is often overlooked, but is one of the best ways to connect with a developer whose work you already know you’ll resonate with. As you’re browsing websites you like for motivation, check the footer bar on the sites you like most. Sometimes, a clue as to the developer will be there just waiting to be found. If not, don’t worry! You can always find an email address or phone number on a contact page, and kindly ask the site owners if they’ll refer you to their web developer.
With this approach you can be confident that you’ll love the way your site turns out. It doesn’t guarantee that the developer or team will be easy to work with, however, but you may be able to get this info out of the website owner when they refer you. At a minimum, just ask if they’re easy to work with and responsive. Given more time, have the website owner elaborate on what it’s like to work with their developer.
Good Ol’ Google
Google will always be a great source for finding everything. That said, you’ll want to consider a few things when using Google to search for a web developer to hire.
Generally, the first search results on Google will be larger companies. There’s much more of a chance that a big corporation will show up first in the search results, than your local freelancer. That doesn’t necessarily mean the corporation will provide the better experience, so remember to keep your goals in mind as you browse the results.
Gig Marketplaces (Last Resort!)
Ah, the gig economy. Where to begin…
This includes sites such as Upwork (formerly ODesk / Elance), Guru, TrueLancer.
On these ‘talent boards’ you’ll have to filter through generic replies to your job posts which have been copied and pasted hundreds of times before. There are certainly diamonds to be found, but also a fair share of scams and talentless workers.
Freelancers aren’t really vetted, and can mark ‘expert’ on their profile without any verification. Some freelancers on these marketplaces are known to cut corners at every opportunity possible, so be wary. Know what to look for, and you can still find a good one.
Finally, workers are often undercut by those from countries with a lower cost of living.
I designate these as ‘boards of last resort’, and generally recommend you only hire from them if you’re skilled at discerning various degrees of programmer competency. Stay cautious so you don’t fall prey to scams on these talent marketplaces, and you can use them to grow temporary teams very quickly.