What to look for in a developer for your small business website

So you’ve decided that your small business needs a new website and you’re ready to take on this challenge. Now you need to find a developer to help create it.

Finding the right developer is the trickiest part of the process. Find the right one and things will run incredibly smooth. But find the wrong one and you’re probably in for a world of headaches and frustration.

Picking the right developer comes down to looking for the right things and asking the right questions. The better and more detailed your search criteria, the better you can narrow down the field to pick the developer that’s going to get the job done right.

So, here are somethings you should look for when trying to find the right developer for the job.

What is the developer’s portfolio like?

So obviously the first thing you do when you’re looking at a developer is to find their portfolio. If you can’t find one, then that’s a pretty big red flag for you right off the bat.

Even if the person hasn’t worked with a client before, they should at least show off sample projects that they’ve done. For example, before I really got working at Faith Growth, my web development portfolio consisted of WordPress plugins and themes I created for the respective directories. That at least showed I had competence in development and could complete a job.

Then when you find the portfolio, look over the websites they’ve done. If there’s a link to them, go to them and play around on the site. Are the websites functional? Do they do what you expect them to?

If the developer mentions that they’ve designed it, how does the design look? Does it feel like a modern website? Could you envision your website looking like this?

If you like what the developer’s portfolio has to offer, maybe it’s time to take a deeper look at if they’re the right one for you.

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Does the developer have experience working with someone similar to you?

If you like what you see from the developer’s portfolio, it’s time to dig in deeper to their experience. Now you’re looking to see if they have experience working with a client that’s similar to what you do.

You need to look again through the portfolio and see what clients they’ve been working with in the past. See what those clients do and compare it with what you do. You don’t really need to see if they’ve worked a person or business that does exactly what you do, but it helps to see if they’ve done something similar.

For example, if you’re a simple small business, have they worked with small businesses before? If you run an e-commerce store, have they worked with other e-commerce businesses? That familiarity might be a huge benefit in the long run.

Also, if they don’t have that experience with a person or business that’s similar to you, it’s not necessarily a deal breaker. It might be handy if you’re looking to break a tie, so to speak. But I wouldn’t completely rule someone out if they were missing that piece of the puzzle.

How do y’all get along?

Finally, if you really think this developer is the right one, it’s time to figure out if y’all are a good fit for each other. This part requires talking to them one-on-one and discussing what y’all do and seeing if this is something y’all want to work on together.

A lot of developers will have a consultation meeting as part of their process when bringing in new clients. I know I offer a free one-hour consultation for people looking for a new website for their small business. This call is an opportunity for me to ask questions about what you do, for you to learn about what I do and to see if we’re a fit for each other.

Essentially, it’s a two-way interview. You’re interviewing the developer to see if they’re someone you want to hire. And they’re interviewing you to see if you’re a client they want to bring onboard.

Then, once you feel comfortable with the developer, it’s time to hire them and start the process of designing and developing that new website.

Of course, you might want to have more steps to this process and more questions to ask potential developers. But hopefully this makes the process much easier and puts your mind at ease about it. 

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