What is the web designer’s reputation?
With all the social media interaction, chances are if you post a request for a good web designer you will get a ton of responses. Many of those responses are not worth a lot. Many will not have any personal knowledge of the web designer’s business practices or skills but just want to be helpful. The worse referrals might come from a BNI or networking group where the members have to have so many referrals. Check out their reputation. Call a few of the customers on the portfolio. Ask about the process of getting the site built. Ask if the deadline was realistic and met. Ask if the final price was quoted. A little diligence will pay off in the long run.
What is the web designer’s reputation? What are the web designer’s skill set and knowledge base?
1. Have they built websites with similar features or functions you want? We see this all time. Web designers who are desperate for work will say they can do it, but in reality have not built something like that and do not have the skills or knowledge to actually do it. Sure, CMS platforms like WordPress and Joomla and Drupal have various plugins, but in reality they do not all play nice with each other. A quality web developer will be able to show you a few sites containing various functions that you need. Obviously not all on the same site, but they should be able to point you to various sites with similar functionality. They should be able to describe the issues that might come up with certain features and be able to tell you how long it takes to implement them.
2. Do the web developer or designer do the work themselves or have skilled employees? Many of the undesirable web designers simply book the job and then find an outsourcing company or worker to do the work. Using overseas employees is fine as long as they are part of the regular team. But hiring a generic worker for various tasks makes it hard to follow a procedure and process to ensure a quality product. At the Web Design Ninja, our team has worked together for 10 years or more and all of our employees have different skill sets. That enables us to have a set procedure to ensure a quality site and customer experience. This process ensures that all of our code is similar and documented so that at any time someone can pick up and work on a site with the same results each time.
3. Does the web designer have a quality control process and checklist? We may cost a little more, but it takes time to go through a detailed checklist to make sure that every aspect of a website is functioning correctly and that all parts of the website and development follow strict industry standards.
4. Does the web designer or website developer only build sites on a single platform? This is a huge red flag to look out for. Yes, WordPress is the most popular CMS website development platform today, but there are also compelling reasons to build certain websites in others as well. Joomla, Drupal, osCommerce, Magento and even Shopify have specific reasons to be looked at. If the web developer claims to be a developer but only works on WordPress or only does eCommerce on Shopify, you might want to run and run fast. Chances are they are not a developer and do not have the skills to do the right job and put your business on the right platform.
5. Has the web developer written plugins for various platforms? If some one claims to be a web developer, then they for sure should have written various modules and or plugins for different platforms If they have not – they are not a developer. While there are a ton of plugins out there to be used, not every solution is YOUR solution and that requires coding. If the developer does not code, they are not a developer. Period.
6. Does the Web Designer use a wysiwyg plugin to build pages? This is another issue we see on jobs we inherit and are hired to fix. The web designer does not take the time to learn the proper CSS coding and will use a plugin to build the pages. The issue with this is that the coding is not efficient and it rarely correct. We recently took over a job where the CUSTOM WEBSITE DEVELOPER did absolutely no developing or coding. The displays were terrible and they were beyond slow. Pages took forever and day to load because of all the plugin overhead. We went through the website and we able to remove 17 unneccessary plugins and the page load time decreased by 518% just because we rewrote the pages in industry standard methods. The sad thing is the project was 8 months overdue and we were able to fix it and have them up and running in about 3 weeks.
7. Does the custom web designer use a template or stock theme? This is another red flag. Your business is unique. No matter what it is, there is something that sets your business apart from the rest. While a stock template can be a quick and cheap website, you get what you pay for. We see far too many businesses that paid for a custom website to find that the “web developer” used a stock theme and then tried to modify it to suite the business needs. The problem is that if you analyze the usage on the site after a few months and need to change a few things, that particular template may not be designed to handle that change and you need to spend countless hours rebuilding things.