A lot of people looking to hire a developer to build them a website end up dissatisfied with their site or the experience. Finding, hiring and working with a web developer doesn’t have to be scary and chaotic. Here are a few tips for working with a web developer.
Developer vs. Designer
When you hire a web developer, be sure to ask if they are also a graphic designer, or if you need to find/hire one separately. Many developers specialize in coding/building sites and either don’t know how, or don’t enjoy graphic design. So, it’s possible you’ll need to hire someone else to create a logo for you. And, if you’re wanting a completely unique design, rather than a pre-made template that has been modified, you’ll want to hire a graphic artist to create that. Once the design is approved you send that to your developer. A developer can’t give you an accurate quote until they know what your site will look like and how much they’re responsible for.
Artist to Geek – You may consider yourself a geek. And you may be. Or, you may be an artist or photographer. Photographers are geeky, but, they’re also artists and they usually communicate more like an artist than a geek. Developers are more logical, methodical and often have a very hard time understanding an artist’s vision. For this reason it is essential that lots of questions are asked by by both parties and a very clear understanding is established at the start of a project to avoid frustration and miscommunication.
Get a Contract – Even if you’re working with a friend, get them to provide a contract/scope of work document that will list exactly what is included in the projected price and time frame. If you add to the scope of work, expect the developer to add to the price.
Updates – This is something you and the developer need to work out from the get-go. Do you want to be able to upload new photos yourself? Do you want to be able to blog? Who is going to manage updates to the platform? If the developer knows ahead of time they’ll be able to suggest a platform, prepare to train you to use your new site or quote you a price for maintenance.
If you have a good developer they will ask you to provide them with a list or Pinterest board of sites you really like and what you like about them. This helps the designer and developer understand your tastes.
Respond in a timely manner. Developers are very scheduled and organized and they really appreciate and sometimes depend on timely communication. If they email you with a question or call for feedback on the project, try to answer within 24 hours if at all possible. If your project drags beyond the projected project time they get behind on their other client’s projects.
What to Expect
Price – The most basic of blog sites is going to run anywhere from $500-$1500, depending on the developer, the time frame (rush jobs cost more!) and the platform the site is built on. If you’re wanting to sell photo prints, downloads or physical products from the site, have a membership site or private forum, etc the cost will be considerably higher. Keep in mind, we’re talking code/development here, not design. Logo design and custom site layout can double that, whether done by the same person or someone else.
Fee Schedule – Most developers require at least 50% of the project cost before starting a project. This fee is generally non-refundable. The remainder is usually due upon completion of the project.
Turnaround – Every developer’s schedule is going to be different, but most schedule projects out months in advance and quote 1-6 months for a project, depending on the scope of the project. The more of a hurry you’re in to get that fancy site launched, the more they’re going to charge you, so try and think ahead and provide all deliverables in a timely manner.
Do you have any questions about working with a web developer?