This is probably the single most popular doubt I hear when starting a new website project. So, here you go, these are the main things to consider before hiring your next web developer!
What is your website about?
This may sound like a ridiculous question at first, but it is essential to really know what your new website project is going to be about so that you can take the best possible decisions along the way and really get a website developed that not only meets, but exceeds your expectations. So, are you thinking about a News website? Or is it going to be an Online Store? Are you just looking for an online presentation for your services or company?
This is key, as the answer to this will help you choose everything, from the best platform for your project, to the SEO that we’ll talk about later on. Once you have this clear, the next question you should ask yourself is:
Do you want to be able to edit content on the website myself? If so, how much?
Web developing is not a very sought after and well paying profession for no reason. Learning how to code even a simple website is challenging and time consuming. So, if you are going to want to be able to update some or all of the content on your future website, you are going to have to go with a web designing platform such as WordPress, or Wix. So let’s talk about the pro’s and con’s of this:
Choosing a web designing platform or custom coding your website
Before we dive into web designing platforms. Let’s check the main pro’s and con’s of not having your website custom coded by a web developer.
First of all, web designing platforms really only exist because website owners want to be able to edit their own website to a certain extent, without having to mess with the code itself. This is absolutely natural. There is also a fear of having something done that later on can’t be controlled. I’ve heard hundreds of stories of fearful customers that have had terrible experiences with web developers that have disappeared and left them with a website they don’t even know where is hosted!
The main reason for this post is exactly that, to help you make the right decisions, even if you have your website developed in a language you most definitely can’t understand. Oh, and by the way: You should always get and register your domain and you should always open up the hosting service account, and keep the login details for both! With this, any future web developer will be able to access your website and make any necessary updates.
Ok, so, why should you consider having your site custom coded?
In general terms, custom coded websites will almost always (given this is done by a competent web developer) perform better than website created with a web designing platform. Why is this? Because custom websites can have their code optimized to a level it is impossible for cookie cutter platforms. On many occasions, platforms also make you host your website only on their servers, which are generally overcrowded and therefore perform worse than a good hosting service.
Another important factor to consider is scalability. If your website is your CV, or a simple Business presentation, you won’t be bothered by this. But if you are about to build an Online Store, or you want your website to have Web App like features, there is just no platform that can compete with a professionally developed website.
Anyway, if you are thinking of a complex site such as an Online Store, there are still some platforms that perform really well at this, so let’s talk about the most popular platforms:
First of all, let’s distinguish between WordPress and wordpress.org. The later is a platform like most, where you access a website, open up an account, choose a plan (hosting and domain included), and access a dashboard where you can start creating your website. This is a more limited version of WP, as you can only add “plugins” (features) and choose “themes” (the way your site will look) that already work within this platform. Apart from this, as mentioned before, you are limited to using their own hosting service, which is not ideal. That said, wordpress.org is still a decent platform, though I would only recommend it for creating simple blog websites.
WordPress is an open source platform that you can setup on most hosting services. WP provides an excellent way of kickstarting a new website project really fast, and it’s main pro’s over other platforms , is that it can scale pretty well, and it offers the possibility of adding “plugins”, which are basically apps you can integrate to your website to accomplish almost anything you may want, from an online store, to paid memberships, to automatically posting your new blog posts on your social media platforms.
That said, since it is open source and anybody can upload a plugin for others to use, WP is probably the least secure platform of all. WP also has about 25% share of all of the websites on the internet, so when hackers find how to hack core WP files or very popular plugins, the chance of your site being affected is pretty high. Of course, this can be mitigated by taking some security measures.
Popular plugins such as WooCommerce (online store plugin), Elementor (visual editor for pages), buddyPress (social media network features), among others, have made WordPress the most popular web development/designing platform of all.
You can check some of the packages we offer using WP here. We always take the latest security measures to keep your site safe, and will help you choose the right hosting service to have a great website than can scale with your business and has almost any feature you may need.
If you are looking for an advanced website or native app (an app for android and ios phones) with unparalleled performance using the latest tech, please contact us or check our great value packages. We can offer a custom coded website with all the benefits with a visual dashboard so that you can visually update content on your website, such as products, posts, etc.
If you are thinking about using a platform such as Wix or Squarespace, check out our top 5 most popular web design platforms comparison.
Choosing the right Hosting service
For a full comparison, read our 2020 top & most popular Web Hosting comparison guide.
If you just want to skip that and get our Top Pick and Best Value choices, look no further:
Siteground have been providing the best performance matched with a pretty good support at a decent price for years now. So, if super fast loading speeds is what you are looking for, this is your best choice for your new website project!
Best Value: Namecheap
Namecheap is a popular domain registrar that started providing hosting services some years ago. While performance is average, their incredible price and extraordinary customer support make them an option worth considering for your new website project.
Where to find a web developer/designer?
There are a few online marketplaces where you can find developers for a new web/app project, being the two most popular ones:
Fiverr has been around for a while, and it has become a HUGE marketplace to find freelancers for just about anything, including your new app or website project. Anyway, this platform is famous for super cheap labor that not always delivers quality services. It is a bit of a hit or miss kind of situation, so, if you are willing to spend little money, and a LOT OF TIME finding the right freelancer, and are OK with having to start all over again if things don’t go right, you can give this platform a try.
Fiverr pro is supposed to have gathered the best of the fiverr freelancing crowd, so this may help you find the right developer for your project.
Upwork is a more serious and prestigious platform than fiverr, but it is still hard to find good developers at a reasonable value. It has a great job success rating that can help you figure out which freelancers are going to be the best fit for you. Anyway, since this platform adopted new policies that make it almost impossible for a freelancer to appear in searches without paying a monthly subscription (apart from charging a hefty percentage on their earnings), many of the best have stopped bothering to find jobs on this platform and find other more effective ways to find clients.
Word of mouth
Maybe one of the best ways to find the right developer for your next website project. We all visit good websites of colleagues, competition, friends or the restaurant we like to go to. Talk to the person in charge of getting the website done and ask them about their experience with the developer.
When looking at a website, don’t just stop at the eye candy, check how the website helps you achieve what you want from the service offered, and how it helps the owner of the website get you do what they want you to do (make a booking, shop, submit a contact form, etc). If this is effective, then that is a good website!
Yes! We are experienced developers and designers and stand behind our customers not only to help them get the website they want, but also down the road whenever they may need any updates or a full blown redesign.
Check our website packages or contact us to get a custom quote for your new app or website project! We offer great value, excellent support and a personalized service that will help you get your business to the next level.
What content should you have ready before starting the website project?
This is a crucial point to kickstart your new website project in the right direction, not to mention a speedy one!
The basic things you need are a couple of sample headlines to catch the attention of visitors, a summary about yourself or your company (“about us/me”), a brief description of your services and the key features that separate you from your competition (3 are enough).
Anything else? Yes! An idea of the color palette you would like would be great, if this is too abstract for you to visualize without seeing a first draft, what kind of “feeling” you would like your website to have helps a lot! This means, do you want something clean and minimalistic or flashy and striking, simple and formal or trendy?
This may sound silly, but this kind of info helps designers and developers narrow down the use of colors and types of fonts, plus the overall design and layout for the website.
Want to fast-forward your project? Get some sample pictures! Even if they aren’t royalty free, this will give the web developer an idea of the kind of look and feel you are aiming at.
This is enough, then, a good web developer will show you a first draft and a concept of your website project, so you can place more text content, agree on the looks, adjust forms and get to the rest of the details.
If you are looking to launch an online store, then, pictures of your products are vital! There is no store without pictures, and this is out of the web developers league.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
If you don’t know what this is, I’m sure you’ve read “SEO” many times while browsing the web. Search engine optimization is what makes your website visible on search results. It is something really important to consider if you want visitors to find your website on search platforms such as google, bing, etc.
SEO deserves many articles by itself, so I will just mention that making sure your web developer will make your website “SEO” friendly is very important. What does this mean? It basically means your website will be responsive (render well on screens of any resolution, like desktop and smartphones), text content will be properly formatted, and that they can offer you advice on the words to use for your text content.
If your new website project is being developed on WordPress, then ask to get a good SEO plugin setup so that you can use it in the future to improve the way your future website ranks on search engines.
Social Media Integration
Social media platforms are probably the main way, apart from SEO and newsletters (the next topic), of reaching out to your potential visitors and bring them to your website to make a conversion (a sale, a subscription, a booking, or whatever your site is about).
Social media integration for websites is basically resumed in having share buttons for the most popular platforms (or the ones that best suit your business market), by posting any new blog posts on them, and by creating promotions (or ads) on the platforms your potential clients use the most.
Fairly recently, Facebook and Instagram have incorporated “marketplaces” on their platforms, so you can integrate your online store, and link it to products you can publish on both platforms, making it an exceptionally efficient way of promoting your services/products and bringing clients to your website ready to click the “add to cart” button!
Setting up Newsletter subscriptions
Newsletter campaigns to subscribed visitors is a fantastic way of staying in touch with your clients by offering valuable information, or just by sending regular promotions.
It is important not to spam potential clients! This is not only not an efficient way of creating sales, but it can backfire on you by making your business undesirable or create a bad reputation. I strongly suggest you only send email campaigns to past clients or potential ones that have shown interest in staying in touch with your.
Great ways of building your contacts database is adding the option of subscribing when making a purchase, creating sales funnels (simply put, a popup with a subscription form in exchange of a free offering), or having a simple signup form on many or every page of your website.
Maintenance & Updates
This subject in particular is too often forgotten… The maintenance of a website is crucial for many reasons. Websites are not like a static storefront. Websites are a piece of software placed on a remote hard drive (hosting). As such, software can get rapidly outdated, and when it does, among other things, it opens the door to security threats.
Outdated websites also suffer from poor ranking (SEO), and features can stop working.
We offer a fantastic customer support, and are in preparing incredible value maintenance packages for every need. For now, you can contact us to get your custom maintenance service for your existing or new website project!
A web or app project involves many other things apart from the ones described in this article, hopefully your web developer will inform you of these and will guide you to make the best decisions based on the kind of unique features your project will present. These include security and performance optimization among others.
All the best to you, and thanks for reading!