How to Choose a Website Developer

Michelle MacDonald

By Michelle MacDonald

How to Choose a Website Developer for Your Business

Choosing a website developer for your business is very similar to purchasing a vehicle.  Whether it’s your first one, or an upgrade, the choices can be overwhelming.

The secret is to find one that suits your business’ needs.  Some may be eye-catching, but are not so practical.  Some may be too basic to meet your business’ needs.  And others may not give you the flexibility you require. But, whether you are a tire-kicker or prepared to purchase, you will need to check under the hood, not just admire the paint job. How can you do that with a website that hasn’t even been created yet? Better yet, how can you sift through all the possible options for developers to find the one perfect for your needs?

The key is asking the right questions.

5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Web Developer

  1. Who owns my domain name and hosting site? Many companies will register your domain and set up hosting, but will do so in their own name. Make sure you will be listed as the owner and administrative contact for your site.
  2. How do you ensure my site design meets my needs? Your developer should provide a written plan for your site, with clear justifications for the requirement for each aspect of the proposed site.
  3. How easy is it to change content? Updating your website when needed is important for your website performance, but it requires an investment from you in time and possibly money. Your developer should clearly indicate how changes are made. A content management system, allowing you to easily upload engaging copy and images should be a standard feature. They should also provide you with a manual or training on how to use the content management system.
  4. What search engine optimization do you perform? Website structure, content, technical setup, copy-writing and key phrase research are all critical to optimizing for search engines.
  • Key phrase research is usually one of the most critical planning aspects of an effective website.
  • Key phrases should be explicitly listed and mapped to the pages of the proposed website.
  • Your developer should be able to explain why each of these are important, and how they are used.
  1. How will I know my website is performing effectively?  An effective site will include ways to measure the impact of your site, by customizing Google Analytics and setting up custom reporting.
  • Measuring the impact of your site. Sometimes called Key Effectiveness Indicators, KEIs are how you measure the success of your site. Your website should be built with these in mind.
  • Customizing Google Analytics and Reporting. The only way to measure the performance of your website is through a web analytics tool such as Google Analytics. Make sure it is not just installed in its basic form, but customized to measure your KEIs.
  • Certified Google Analytics Individual. Google Analytics is a complex application and provides a certification for its analytics practitioners. Your web development team should have someone who has taken the time to understand Google Analytics and received the certification.

Just like when buying a car, you need to ask the right questions. Asking the right questions of your web developer beforehand will ensure a product that helps your business go places.

Download your own copy of questions to ask a developer here.