How to Determine Who to Hire To Be Your Next Ideal Web Developer

Critical Benefits and Drawbacks You Need to Know About Different Web Developer Types

I get asked to do website estimates a lot and sometimes it’s downright heartbreaking to hear about the struggles and challenges entrepreneurs and business owners face when trying to find the right web developer.

Too many times I hear about people who feel they were ripped off by their previous webmaster and are very reluctant to hire someone new for fear of the same thing happening again.

Some of these people decided they better do all the work themselves, struggled terribly trying to literally learn a whole new profession. They end up calling me out of sheer frustration that nothing is working and things are worse off than before.

One time I was having a conversation with someone on a completely unrelated topic and he asked me what I did, when I responded he blurted out, “I hate web developers.”

I cringed.

I’m sure this happens in every industry where there are people who are really great at what they do, some who do enough to get by, and some who only THINK they know what they’re doing!

The web development industry is no different.

If you are unhappy with your current web developer or are in the process of finding someone that you can trust and depend on to fulfill your web development needs, this article will provide some valuable tips that will help you find the perfect complement to your team.

The first thing to get clear on is exactly what kind of help you need.

When hiring a web developer, first get clear on what kind of help you need:

There are many different types of “web developers” out there and making the wrong choice can be very costly. So be sure you understand “who” you are hiring first and then your selection process will be much easier from there.

Here are four common types of web developers:

The WordPress VA (Virtual Assistant)

This person has figured out WordPress pretty well. They know how to install a WordPress theme (either free or purchased) and can make some modifications to that theme to help match your brand colours. They will have a good understanding of what plugins are available to match your needs as well.

Benefits: Usually hiring someone for this work charges less per hour than a fully qualified web developer. Putting together small-sized sites are their specialty.

Drawbacks: Often WordPress is all that they know and rarely do they know HTML or CSS to customize your website for any extra bells and whistles that you want to have.

Often purchased themes are so rigid that even moving an element from one part of the page to another is impossible to do with this type of limited knowledge.

When to hire them: You would want to hire a WordPress VA when you are not interested in a fully branded/customized website. You realize that any customization options are limited and you basically get what the theme preview shows aside from some colour, text and image changes.

You would also want to make this choice if you are already well versed in marketing strategy, copywriting, and branding and can simply tell your VA what needs to be done. Anticipate them having limited knowledge in some or all of these areas.

The Programmer

This person is what I lovingly call a “techno geek”. We have a few of these people on our team and we would not be able to be as successful as we are without them!

The Benefits: They know programming inside and out. They live, eat and sleep programming.

The Drawbacks: They can most definitely build you a fully functional website, no problem. But don’t expect it to look pretty! Branding, copywriting, design layout and marketing are rarely found in their list of skillsets.

You will probably need to hire someone else to help with those areas if you are not fully versed in them yourself.

When To Hire Them: You would want to hire a developer of this caliber if you have a complex website in mind that needs to be customized to fit your needs. Whether it’s an eCommerce engine, membership site or a database-driven tool, a fully trained and experienced programmer is your best bet.

The “All Round” developer

This again is a single person who has built enough websites to have a pretty good understanding of the bigger picture. They are what is called “a Generalist” where they have enough skills to be able to design and develop a decent website.

The Benefits: Having one person have knowledge in the different areas needed for web development is a big plus.

Usually this person has enough programming acumen to be able to handle most customizations and challenges that come up and will not need a plugin for every functionality (which will bog down your site’s performance).

They also are knowledgeable enough about branding and visual design that your site visitors will enjoy the experience of being there.

The Drawbacks: Even though they may appear to know a lot about web development, it’s impossible for one person to be really good at everything. It’s rare to find a really good designer also be a good developer (they do exist but they are a rare breed.) So you will still need to be, or have someone else on your team who is, well versed in online marketing and copywriting to help offset any weaknesses the person you hire has.

When To Hire Them: If you are lucky enough to find someone who has these skillsets AND is dependable, then you will have a great asset on your team. You will need to be aware of what their limitations are so that you can offset those areas with other people on your team.

The Web Development Agency

There several different types of web development agencies and for the sake of this article, I’ll focus on the kind that we are, a boutique web development and digital marketing agency. (If you’re looking for a big name agency that only multi-billion dollar corporations use, you wouldn’t have read this article to this point anyway!)

The Benefits: A boutique web development agency is not a one-man show. They are a team of professionals who can offer, as a collective group, all of the different areas of expertise that your business needs from a marketing perspective.

These areas generally include:

Brand Identity Design

Website Design and Layout

Copywriting

Online Marketing / Lead Generation

Video/Audio Editing

SEO

(Note some agencies only have 2 or 3 people on their team so be sure to ask questions to find out what everyone’s expertise is and if any skillset is lacking that you require.)

The other big benefit to using a web development agency is that they are very knowledgeable in your brand, your positioning and the message that you want convey to your ideal clients.

With every request you give them, they will already know what is needed and can discuss options with you to create something for you that is a perfect fit for your needs.

This avoids you from having to know what is needed yourself and also have to ensure other people on your team remain consistent with your brand message and design so you can focus more on what you do best.

The Drawbacks: Depending on who you find, the price point might be outside of your budget. Do your research: ask for and talk to referrals to help you decide if they will deliver what they promise. If they have a good reputation for being on time and on budget, then the extra costs will balance out in the long run.

When to hire them: Hiring a boutique web development agency can be one of the best things you can do as a new business. Doing this will assure that your new venture will get going on the right foot right off the bat. You will save a lot of time and money in the long run if you make this initial business investment.

If you already have an existing business and website but area ready to step up to the next level, this is the time to bring in an agency that can help you with not only the “doing” but also the strategizing to ensure you get to where you want to be without wasting a lot of time, money and energy.

You will also want to look for an agency when you want someone on your team for ongoing, consistent support. After your website is built, you will want someone you can contact at any time for website updates, creating new campaigns, doing SEO work etc.

My final piece of advice is to be sure you do your research on who you approach. You want to find someone with experience and skill who will partner with you to help you build your business.

Unless this is what you’re looking for, you want to avoid programmers and developers who only do exactly what you tell them. Having someone who can offer ideas and suggestions and be a part of your team to be a valuable resource when needed may be more ideal for you.

References are very important in this industry: Always ask to talk to their clients to see what their experience was working with the developer.

Be aware of those that claim to be developers when in reality, all they learned was how to use a “do it yourself” software like WIX or Weebly.

The quality of your website – both in design and in how it is coded – is very important on many levels. Ensure the person you hire understands how to design and build a quality product for you. Otherwise, you will most likely be faced with going through the whole process again in a short period of time once you realize your site is doing you more harm than good by turning off your potential clients instead of attracting them!

Five Tips to Choosing the Right Digital Agency For You

With the growth of the internet still at a peak and e-commerce sales at a 13% increase for February 2009, typical of the year on year growth of e-commerce sales, a digital agency could be a vital factor in the survival of many businesses already online or looking to launch themselves onto the internet. Some digital agencies will try to sell you cheap services, and the result is normally a cheap looking campaign. Pushing your business on the internet is an expensive and time consuming process, however, if you work in partnership with a successful digital agency, the outcome can be extremely profitable.

But how do you spot the good from the bad? These five simple tips could be the most important advice you take in regards to the future online success of your business, saving you from wasting your money on an ill fated campaign by directing you towards a digital agency that will work with you for the long haul.

1. Look at their website: If a digital agency has a poorly designed or inaccessible website advertising themselves, how do they expect to sell themselves as a web design agency to potential clients? During the decision making progress, take time to navigate around the website of possible digital agencies. If their site is well designed and uses new technology such as flash, you know that these features will be available to you. If the digital agency has the staff and the technological resources to create an impressive website for themselves, they should apply this to their clients and their clients projects.

2. Look at their previous work and their other clients: Most digital agencies will be eager to show off their previous and ongoing work. Their website will probably contain a portfolio or links to the websites they have designed and marketed. It is a good sign if a digital agency has large and small businesses in the client portfolio as this shows dedication to any work they are employed with, and the ability to manage large scale launches and marketing campaigns. Do you like the work that the digital agency has done for these clients? Has it won awards or been effective in selling more products? If you like the work they have done in the past, it will make it easier for you to work together in the management of your online business features.

3. Are they in it for the long haul? Having a profitable presence on the internet is more than just a successful website launch. If you are looking for a sustainable income from your website, through an e-commerce store for example, you will need continuous marketing support. If an agency offers marketing strategies along side its web design/development services, take advantage of this. The best digital agencies will employ marketing professionals to ensure that once your website has been launched onto the internet, it achieves maximum publicity. There are a number of different ways to achieve this which can be discussed during the proposal stage.

4. Take a look at the team: When you are considering a digital agency and what you want them to do for you, take a look at the staff they employ. Smaller digital agencies with a handful of staff members may find themselves overstretched. Ideally, staff members will specialise in one field be it website design, website development, web content writing, online marketing, and accounts management. Under this process, each member of staff dealing with your account will have a brief to work to and can focus on their task instead of spreading themselves too thinly over the project. The less work a member of staff has to do, the better they will do it.

5. Points mean prizes! Professional awards are difficult to be nominated for, let alone win. There is huge competition for every nomination and judging panels take the process very seriously. Awards and qualifications from search engines are impressive, as are specialist accolades from media publications, regional business awards and industry awards. Recognition from others in their own field should be taken notice of when choosing the right digital agency for you.

By following these tips you are sure to find a digital agency that will be a useful ally on the World Wide Web, increasing traffic to your website and thus boosting your profits.

Top Tips to Choose the Best SEO Agency

After you have put in assiduous efforts and time in doing SEO on your own, you might have discovered that no matter how much you try, your website will not rank well in the search engines. Even if it manages to get a higher page ranking, all your effort and time goes in optimizing the website and much of your tasks lag behind. In such a scenario, think intelligent and hire a good SEO agency for your website. With so many SEO agencies in the market today, it is indeed difficult to choose the most reliable among these, especially when the industry is filled with scams. Hence, there are certain tips that help in choosing the best and most reliable SEO agency for your website. Read on to learn more.

Check the company website – The best way to learn about a SEO company is via its own website. Not only it can help in getting to know what all services they offer, working procedures, web standards followed, whether accredited by some authorized agency or not, but also helps in knowing how much they are expert in website optimizing. If they cannot optimize their own website to a higher page rank, they are not worth hiring

Beware of a company that promises top ranking in search engines – If the company really does promise you 1st page ranking in search engine, there must be some discrepancies in their competency. No one can guarantee you a top ranking in search engines, not even more less competitive keywords

Services and experience – Before hiring a SEO company, make sure that they offer a wide range of services that are essential for effective search engine optimization. If a company offers keyword research, link building, content development, web designing, web development, and other important SEO services all under one package, with years of professional experience, it will be the best choice.

Seek work examples and references – Satisfied customers are the best person to know about the expertise and success ratio of the company. Ask the company for examples of different websites that they have optimized with references from clients

Work procedures – It is important to know what work procedures tactics the company follow. Do they adopt any black hat SEO trick for getting a higher page rank? Do they choose automated submissions? If they do, stay away from them, or else you can get banned from the search engines. Finally, do not get lured by false promises. Make an intelligent decision in choosing the best Company for your website.

Points to Consider When Selecting the Most Appropriate Web Design Agency

As soon as a large number of company owners are contending to have their internet sites registered and also hosted, it is natural that the amount of website design services will certainly improve. Every web design company will certainly tell you they are the number one, however is there any accurate test to spot which website design service is best? Below are a couple of the crucial issues which could very well lead you to the very best web design firm.

1. Past Experiences

Is the website design service aware of the attitude of your prospective buyers? It is the customer that really needs to be ultimately attended to, via the website. The consumers character and also inclinations ought to be taken into consideration when designing the website.

2. Pricing

Are the services offered by the web design agency truly worth what’s quoted by it? You must clarify the product price and services contained in it. Comprehensive information about the pricing can be gained through comparison of prices of different web design firms on the web.

3. Search Engine Optimization

Is the web design company amply trained on the techniques for search engine optimization? This aspect is critical because this could bring up the website to be listed in top of the search engine results. This is crucial for increasing the number of clicks. It’s volume of clicks which have a huge impact on the purchase done through the website. An internet site can sell the products only once an individual visits and gets persuaded from the description on the online site.

4. Efficiency:

Is the website design agency constructing internet sites that are efficient at switching the site visitors into buyers? This is very important for profit generation and then finally return on investment incurred to design this internet site.

5. Visuals

It’s a common fact that appearance carry more impact when compared to the text. There are many cases where the products or perhaps the services offered by your website should be presented by illustrations or photos, animated graphics and also clips. It is also correct that these visuals don’t have any specific influence on the search engines. A decent website design agency understands how to stabilize the text and visuals. The web design service provider ought to be adept at techniques that will facilitate the embedding of images with little effect on the speed of downloading.

6. Content and Layout

The web design agency to whom you give the work of website building ought to understand how to create a good content and layout. The content should be persuading. It must know the value of embedding the responses from the former buyers upon the website. The firm must be able to build a layout that is simple to navigate and simple to download. Should the page layout is messed up and confusing, it can create a bad effect. The website needs to be appropriate for the web browser so it could be downloaded quickly.

7. Flexibility

The web design firm should be able to design such a internet site which is a bit flexible to upgrade too.

Hire Web Developer – 10 Important Points to Ponder Upon

Nowadays it is almost an outdated thought to run a business without online presence! Besides that people know that online presence increases or just double the Return on Investment for all the businesses! Also institutions or organization do also keep their presence online to establish or spread themselves to the world. And to make the effort of building a website there are lots of web development companies who offer the customer or the clients to hire web developer. In this way the website building process has become easy and affordable too!

But there are some aspects in website development. One of those factors is to hire web developer who is or are really helpful or worthy to be hired. This is the reason I am trying to put down just 10 important points that always come in consideration at the time of hiring web developers. Let’s have a look on the points:

  1. Before you decide to hire web developer, just assess your requirements. It is very important to know what kind of development you are looking for. Do you need a simple static website or e-commerce site. Depending on these you have to search for the web developers.
  2. Are you looking for open source development or the hard code? It may be the case that your projects can be best done in open source or vice-versa. So before you go to hire web developer make sure that you have determined the technologies/programming languages. It is essential because there are developers who are expert and specialist at open source or the hard code. You need to choose your ones.
  3. You need to find out the expert and experienced people for your projects. You should never hire web developers who are having little experience in the kind of development you are looking for. Why not check out the portfolio of works? It will let you decide the quality of people you are choosing.
  4. Try to assess the knowledge base and the professionalism of the developers you are considering to hire. You should clear the queries about the project you are thinking to offer to the developers. Again the work ethics or the process of work (milestone deliverables, project documentation etc) will let you know the developers. So when you hire web developer never forget to take interview.
  5. When you are thinking to build a website you should find the market trend to know if the project can be given to a local developer or it is best to think of outsourcing. These days it is best to hire web developer from offshore companies. Not only the cost but also the growing competition has eased the availability of best services from anywhere in the world.
  6. You may hire web developer as dedicated to your projects or may go time-based hiring as you require. Both are good. But dedicated hiring is the best ploy as in this case your headache is less to complete the project. Even the flow of project is smooth and time of development becomes less.
  7. You may hire web developer from a company or a freelancer. If you hire from a company you will get many types of developers or the specialist altogether and the development process becomes smooth. But in the matter of freelancers you have to be very much choosy and careful to know the professionalism or the quality of work of the particular developers. Sometimes multiple hiring of personnel becomes essential in the case of freelancers.
  8. It is very much important to know that you hire web developer from somewhere that has proper infrastructure to complete your project. It is particularly essential as many a time it is found that you go for hiring a freelancer who does not have access to latest technologies and tools or the true setup to finish the projects. So proper search and confirmation of the infrastructure has become mandatory (also for companies).
  9. Try to find out how is the reputation of the developer in providing support to the project both throughout the project completion and afterward maintenance. Never hire web developer with poor record in support or do not forget to judge the communication level of them. Otherwise total investment in the project may go in vain.
  10. When you decide to hire web developer, do not go behind affordability always, care for the legal issues too. It is fact that affordable web development is now highly possible. But it is not that all the companies provide best service at affordable cost. Find out the reputed companies who do not only provide affordable service but also clears legal dealings, say money back guarantee issues, copyright, document & resource transfer and all.

Hope after going through the above points, you will understand how important it is to be careful in the process of hiring developers for getting best development of the website you are thinking to build. Always remember the responsibility of best website development never only rest on the developers. It is also your discretion to hire single web developer from multiple companies or team of developer from one company. However, never feel helpless if you find the things little lengthy. You may take help of directories and tactfully choose the request a quote process for searching and getting best developers. Never hurry but be steady in the website building initiative – you will be successful.