Choosing a web developer: Part 1 – what you need

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When looking to hire a freelance web developer, once you have exhausted what you can do with DIY web builders, you need to ask yourself a few questions about what you need and what you are looking for in a freelancer.

The answers to these questions will help you work out what you need to say in any adverts or when putting out feelers to get a designer. In part 2 we will look at what to as the designer when you interview them.

What does your site need?

First of all understand what it is you need to achieve with your site and what you want the developer to do to make this happen for you. For instance, have you gone as far as you can with the tools you were already using?

Are you looking to replace someone else who has been doing the job but has reached the limit of their skills? Are you looking for a stellar shift in how your site looks, feels and works and how are you planning to use it once it has been revamped?

All these are vital questions to understanding what it is you need to do and what skills set you are looking for from a developer.

Can your site pay for a developer?

Then look at the projected revenues and costs associated with the changes that a developer is going to bring about – and then perform the very simply calculation of whether you can pay for a developer from this and still make a profit after a reasonable time period.

This is perhaps the most crucial point and is same no matter what kind of developer or freelancer you are looking to take on: will they bring the value that will more than cover their costs.

Understanding your niche

Once you have ascertained that a developer can help you achieve what you want with your site and make you money/more money, then you need to turn your attention to the developers themselves and look for ones that understand the business you are in.

Of course, most developers are e-commerce savvy, but you need to specify when looking for a web developer the skills you need from them and the specific skills that may pertain to your line of business.

If you sell underwear online, is it necessary that they understand the underwear market to get what you want from them? Or do you need someone who understand online apparel retail only and so knows the best payment gateways?

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Technology skills

Much like looking for a developer who understands your market, understanding the technology that you need is also vital. If you need someone who can specialise in high turn over of goods, or if you are trying to revamp because you get a huge amount of mobile traffic, you need to look carefully at the technology skills you need.

If you don’t know your HTML5 from your adaptive web design, read up on it and assess how these things may be worked into your development – and seek out developers that have these skills: either for now or for future iterations of your site development.

Looking ahead at technology

Connected to this last point, it is always good to get hold of a developer who is really into the technology and avidly follows technology trends and developments so that they can, to some degree, help lead you through what is available and offer you the full range of technology solutions available to help you develop as efficiently, effectively and in as future-proofed a manner as possible.

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