What is their process?
I good website developer should be able to articulate their process and timeline for accomplishing your project. As the client, you should know your timelines for each clearly defined milestone and how they plan to work with you over the next several weeks to complete your project. Depending on your project’s length, you’ll want to know if you have daily, weekly or monthly check-ins and what will be discussed during those check-ins.
How long will it take?
Make sure you have a written timeline and completion date for the project. You will want to discuss what happens if the project runs over the deadline. Make sure you hold up your end of the deal by giving the developer what they need in a timely manner.
What is their specialty?
A seasoned website developer has experience working with various content management systems, plugins, e-commerce systems, multiple industries, back end development, and front end design. We call these developers “full stack” developers. Other developers may specialize in working in one of the above areas. An E-commerce specialist may be the best fit if you run a store. A front-end developer can design nice looking sites but don’t have much experience working with the back-end code to add the correct combination of code/plugins to optimize the functionality, performance, security, and speed of the site. A back-end developer is just the opposite of the front-end developer. Many clients don’t know the difference and often choose the wrong developer for their project. That’s when we have to come in and rescue the project.
What’s included in the price?
Ensure you have a detailed scope of work (SOW) from the developer before you start the project. If you have questions or see vague descriptions, you should ask questions and get those answers written out as part of the SOW. The SOW should be specific, listing out all of the deliverables you will receive for your project.
Does this include email setup or transfer?
Often, a website developer will suggest you move your new site to a new hosting provider. If your current hosting provider also hosts your emails, moving to a new hosting provider will require you to change email providers or pay your existing company for hosting your emails. If you use your new hosting provider to host your emails, you will have to transfer your current emails to the new hosting provider or lose access to those old emails. There are some other ways of saving your emails, and your web developer should know. Make sure you have this discussion with your website developer upfront to avoid an unexpected issue later.
What additional services do they offer?
Asking about additional services upfront may allow the website developer to offer you a package deal and give you some room to negotiate. Some developers provide logos, marketing collateral, monthly support, landing pages, email marketing, SEO, and other services that may not be displayed on their website.
How long do you get to test and make changes?
This is similar to a warranty. Most website developers consider the project complete once your website is live and final payment received. Any changes requested after that can incur a charge. Ask if there is a period of time that you have to contact them and make edits if you have questions or find anything that is broken. If there is no period, negotiate that as a part of your contract.
By all means, this is not a comprehensive list of things to do or consider. I hope this information is helpful to you. Have a great day.