If you can afford to have your brand new warehouse built from the ground up, who are you going to hire to build it? The intelligent answer is simple: a reputable building contractor with happy clients and lots of experience, right? Why on earth would you invest your hard-earned dollars to hire anyone less than a pro?
What about your office building or store? As a business owner, you know that it needs to have the right look and feel to be successful. Go ahead, go shopping, or to the insurance guy, or the doctor. Are the stores and offices run down with bad paint jobs and worn-out carpeting? Does the store you're buying from have empty crates and clothes blocking the aisles? Of course not. They’re all clean and neat and professional–and most are decorated to impress the customer.
So why, then, would anyone take the opposite approach with their online business? Do yourself a favor, when you've made the decision to open your business or sell your product online, make sure you have all the tools to make it successful, including hiring the right developer. Here are a few tips to help you find that person:
- Look for experience, reputation, and track record. These are the three attributes to consider when engaging any professional. Ask for references; don't just look at the testimonials they’ve posted. Take a good look at their website and at their portfolio, or ask for a list of sites they have developed.
- It's not always about the price. Do not cut corners. Don't go with the cheapest deal you can find just because it's cheap. Think about what you’re buying: It's the vehicle that’s going to generate your revenue. Your website is the last thing you want to cut corners on.
- Listen. You’re buying talent and experience. You listen to your doctor, your lawyer, and your accountant. They're the professionals, after all. Think about that when you decide that you know better or more than your web developer. If you made the right choice in hiring the developer, then listen to what he or she tells you.
- Have a plan. You need to know what your goals are and how to convey them to your developer before you hire anyone. Do not hire anyone unless you are completely sure that they have a solid understanding of your needs and objectives.
- Avoid any company or freelancer that has a “package.” You've seen it before. You're searching for a web designer and you find twenty-five sites that have the Gold/Silver/Bronze package. They offer hourly rates and "additional page" costs. Here's a tip: stay away. There's no way a designer can give you exactly what you need based on his/her "package rate."
Finally, never hire a developer who doesn't want to talk to you first. A developer worth hiring is the one who wants to know about your project.
Source: Joe Thomas is the founder and owner of Left Brain Digital, a web development company. Photo: Celal Teber