…And How to Sound Smart Doing It
You’ve made the decision that you need a website. That was the easy part. The next part of the process is finding the right website developer for the job. This can be a daunting experience for anyone who is not familiar with coding and website development. We put together this handy guide to help you speak to your website developer and get the most from your relationship.
Finding and Hiring a Web Developer
1. What languages do you code in?
2. Can you provide me with examples of previous work? What parts of these projects were you responsible for?
3. Does your pricing include both design and coding of the website? Are you able to do both of these things? If I have my own design, do you need it sliced or are you able to do this?
(‘Slicing’ is the process of taking a large design and making smaller pieces from it that the developer can place into the coded website.)
What Your Developer Should Ask You During The Hiring Process
By gathering the answers to these questions ahead of time, you will streamline this introductory conversation.
1. Do you have hosting?
2. What language is your site coded in?
3. Is your site built on (or would you like it to be built on) a content management system? (A content management system is is a computer application that allows publishing, editing and modifying content, organizing, deleting as well as maintenance from a central interface.)
4. Do you already have a design in mind?
5. What’s your timeline to complete the project?
6. Have you purchased your domain? (Your domain is your website address.)
Things to keep in mind that your developer may need to know: how many pages you intend on having on your site and, if the site has an eCommerce functionality, how many products you will have on your page. Keeping track of these things in a spreadsheet is a great way to stay organized.
During Your Project
During the project, it will be necessary for you to keep an active conversation with your website developer. Be alert for questions regarding approval process from your web developer to make the process run faster.
Here are some things that your website developer will ask you to do or to help with to keep the process running smoothly:
1. If you have not already, your hosting plan should be purchased and provided to the developer during this part of the process.
2. When the time comes, you will need to assist the developer (or provide the correct information) in pointing your purchased domain to the server. This is so that when you type in your website address, your website will appear where it is supposed to be.
3. Any assets like photography and logos should be provided during this time as well. Your website developer should be able to provide you with the correct file sizes and extensions. (For example, you may need to provide a 100x100pixel size version of your logo in a transparent .PNG format.)
4. Any other content, unless provided by your development team, should be provided by you at this time. This includes copy written for the website, product information, blog posts, navigation headings, footer copy, and legal notices.
When Problems Arise
Sometimes things happen in life. Deadlines are missed, web developers have poor attitudes, or the quality of work produced is poor. Here are some scenarios and how you, the client, can handle each while ensuring your website is completed.
A Deadline is Missed
What to Do: Be aware of approaching deadlines on your calendar. At the beginning of the project, you should create a calendar of upcoming deadlines by phase of the project. For example, phase one may be design and wire-framing (wire-framing is a process in which a bare frame of the website is presented for planning where features and functions will reside on the final site). An example of phase two may be completion of the home page. An example of phase three may be completing eCommerce product pages.
As each deadline approaches, reach out to your website developer for a status update. If a website developer does not have a project manager or account manager to update you, you may have to play an active part of this process. By communicating with your web developer, you will always have a good idea of when you can expect delivery.
What NOT to Do: Wait until the deadline passes to approach your developer. Your developer should have communicated the delay ahead of time. If they do not, do not freak out. There are many problems that can arise when coding that developers will need to problem solve. Bugs are unexpected but a very commonplace situation while developing a website. Be patient, over-communicate.
The Design is Not Looking Like What You Were Shown in a Comp
What to Do: The web developer will provide a preview link for you to see the progress. You may notice that the current version of the site does not look exactly like your design, or what you were shown during the design process. Make a list of items that you notice that are different between the design and the website and provide this list to the developer or account manager. Again, your patience will be required as sometimes things need to be changed during the coding process to make sure the website can support both the design and functionality of the website. Many developers will look at a site from a functional standpoint over a design standpoint, because they see the elements in a different way than you might see things. Ask your developer why things may look different. The answers they provide may allow you to see your site in a different way.
What NOT to Do: Again, don’t get upset if what you initially see doesn’t match what you were shown in comps. Refraining from an accusatory or finger-pointing tone will allow conversations to occur. Never resort to threats in an effort to create change.
The Bottom Line
Communication is the most important part of the website development process. Remember, the website developer wants the project to be finished just as much as you do. They are on your side, even if you don’t necessarily speak the same language. By treating them as members of your team rather than employees or contractors you will foster a healthy and productive relationship. It’s important to know what to ask your developer to make sure that things get done in a timely fashion. A website need not take a year and half to go live. Consider what we have shared here to help you foster your next client-developer relationship.
2930 Creative has developed 32 websites in 2 1/2 years with a 6.2 week development time average. It’s no coincidence our customers come to us for fast, efficient and beautiful sites. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.