Top Questions to Ask When Hiring a Web Developer

Author: Jack Martin

Seeking a company to partner with and trust to build your online presence can be nerve-racking and intimidating. The stories flood in over and over again how companies spent a ton of money and hated what they ended up with or even worse generated zero results from the end project. Here are a few questions that are critical to ask your web developer candidates for hire.

1. Can I see your portfolio and call these companies for reference?

When calling the companies for reference, make sure to ask these questions:

Was the project completed on-time?
Was the project completed on budget?
Was it easy to communicate with the project management team?
Did you ultimately receive the website you were promised/thought you would receive?

It’s important to ask this question because you want to know that you are working with a company who has a good historical reputation with project management and communication. The last thing you want is a project that exceeds your budget all while working with a company who is nearly impossible to reach and obtain answers from.

2. What do you need from me in order to complete this project within scope of time and budget?

This question helps you to show that you are serious about getting the project done on time and budget. It also shows that you are organized and prepared to take initiative when needed.

3. Do I own the rights to my website after it is completed?

Some web companies will charge you to obtain full access to your site files upon completion of the project. There are aspect of your website that you SHOULD own and other that you SHOULD NOT. Take a look at this blog post that lays out what you should and should not own after your website goes live.

4. Will I be able to easily make changes to my website in the future?

Depending on the nature of the business you are in, you might find that you want to tweak the wording or images on your website down the road. Will that be easy for you to do or will you need to reach out to your web developer to make adjustments?

5. Who is responsible for maintaining overall security and technology updates on the site?

Regardless of where you site resides once it is live, the reality is that security is an ongoing issue and technology evolves and progresses every day. Building a site and letting it sit idle will do you no good and will quickly become outdated or worse hacked if not monitored on a consistent basis. If you are hosting (see next question) with your developer, they should maintain all security and technology updates.

Read this post on the Who, What, and Why of Website Security.

6. Will you be hosting my site?

Some companies do not offer hosting, others require you host with them and then theirs everything in between. It’s best to know upfront where your site will be hosted so that you can plan for those fees. A very important thing to consider is that although a number of companies offer very low hosting rates, this is not always the best option for your site. Every site has different demands and in the case of website hosting, you truly do get what you pay for. If you are looking for cheap hosting, you will indeed get that same level of quality and support. It’s definitely worth the investment for quality hosting.

Related blog post: Web Hosting – One Size Does NOT Fit All

7. What ongoing fees should I anticipate?

Some companies will charge ongoing fees in addition to hosting or maintenance. It is best to know these fees upfront if they are indeed part of the contract that you are signing. Check out this blog post that breaks down the potential ongoing fees you might face related to owning a website.

8. How much will this cost?

The cost of a website varies across so many degrees. Think about buying a car: size, make, model, color, engine, accessories all play a factor in how much you end up paying for that vehicle. Same thing with a website: size of the site, type of website (CMS, static, mobile), level of expertise of the team working on the site, accessories or the features you want on your site. All of these play a factor into the cost.

Mapping out what you are getting in detail will help you to determine your wants versus needs for your website and will also assist in comparing apples to apples.

9. Is my site going to show up in the search engines?

This would most often be a service available in addition to the development of your website and fall more into the hands of a marketing professional. Any good company will NOT promise you great rankings in the search engines, rather, they will educate you on the process utilized to obtain rankings and offer their services or that of a partner company who specializes in that area.

10. Will my site work on mobile or tablet devices?

Your web developer should be aware of responsive or adaptive design and development practices for the web. This approach is rapidly evolving. If your developer is not aware of this, then that should be a signal that they are not quite in tune with the latest technologies available today. Do note that making your website responsive or adaptive will likely cost you more money as it does take more work/time for the developer to get your site to this point.

Any quality web developer will be able to answer every one of those questions without hesitation and with confidence. Don’t be afraid to ask these questions to be answered in writing either. Again, your ideal web developer should be one who educates you, is up-to-date with technology and will ultimately bring you the best solution for YOU.

Never hesitate to reach out to Keystone Click if you have any digital marketing questions. Everyone from my team is happy to help!

Comment below with any additional questions you think we might have missed!