Making the Right Choice: Guide to Assessing Website Developers
PowerMarketing

Making the Right Choice: Guide to Assessing Website Developers

August 23rd, 2023

Choosing the right website developer is like finding the perfect partner for your digital journey. This developer won’t just build your website; they’ll craft a virtual space representing your brand to the world, connecting you with your audience in meaningful ways. It’s a crucial decision that impacts how your audience perceives your business. So, how do you make the right choice? In this guide, we will walk you through the steps of assessing potential website developers, helping you understand the key factors and considerations that come into play in website design and development.

Business History

Before hiring a website development company, it’s important to consider its longevity. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of businesses fail within the first year and 45% within the first five. If a business fails, changing developers mid-project can cause delays, increase costs, and force you to start from scratch for the most part. To minimize these risks, choosing a website development company that has been in business for at least five years is a good idea.

Website Ownership

Ensuring full ownership of your website is crucial. Unfortunately, many business owners have faced the unfortunate situation of not owning their website or domain after completing their project. Ownership allows you to be independent of the web development company, avoiding issues with their services. Moreover, switching web development companies can result in starting over and losing all the SEO value you’ve built over time. This process can be costly and time-consuming, so it’s essential to avoid it. Verifying complete ownership of your website and domain from the beginning of the development process is critical. Simply ask, “Will I own the website when it’s completed?”

Open Source Content Management Systems

Choosing the right content management system (CMS) is critical for the success of your website. A CMS provides the framework on which your website is built and determines how easily you can manage and update your content. Popular standardized CMS options include WordPress, Squarespace, and Drupal. At Power Marketing, we prefer using WordPress CMS, which is utilized by over 50% of websites in the U.S. Opting for an open-source CMS like WordPress offers flexibility in case you need to switch website developers, maintenance, or support.

Almost as important, you can find WordPress developers at nearly any digital marketing firm in the U.S. This ensures that you won’t be tied to a proprietary platform developed by a small group of individuals or a company that controls all the changes. Proprietary platforms can hold your website hostage, and the developers can charge excessive fees for minor modifications.

Mobile-Friendly Design

A mobile responsive design should be standard. Eight years ago, Google prompted web developers to adopt a mobile-first approach through algorithm changes. Most developers complied. Nowadays, more than half of a website’s traffic originates from mobile devices. However, some developers, including “cookie-cutter” website builders like Wix, fail to implement a mobile-responsive platform automatically.

A mobile-responsive website dynamically adjusts its layout and content to suit the screen size and resolution, be it a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. A mobile-responsive website enhances the user experience for potential customers and boosts search engine optimization (SEO) rankings. Google prioritizes mobile-responsive websites and penalizes those lacking mobile optimization. Consequently, having a mobile-responsive website can improve search engine rankings, increase site traffic, and, ultimately, higher conversion rates.

Support and Updating

A website requires regular maintenance, just like a car. Neglecting updates can lead to costly consequences, such as website malfunctions or hacking. Regular maintenance in the form of security updates, website theme updates, plug-in updates, and broken link fixes is crucial to ensure the smooth operation of your website. Ensure website updates are included in your monthly hosting agreement to guarantee the longevity and effectiveness of your website.

Hosting: Dedicated, Private, and Shared

Ideally, hosting your website on a dedicated server where you are the only client is the best option. However, it can be costly and unnecessary if your business doesn’t handle a large traffic volume. A private server is a good option. On a private server, all clients on that server are specific to the web development company. A private server allows web developers to incorporate particular security standards for all clients on the server, making it more secure and improving SEO value. Shared servers are the most common and cheapest option, but shared servers are considered the least safe. Your website “shares” a server with hundreds of other websites on a shared server. Different developers or individuals manage these websites; each website will have different security protocols, maintenance programs, and updating schedules. In a nutshell, on a shared server, you don’t know who your “neighbors” are. And if one of your neighbors is hacked, it can make your website vulnerable.

Who will Design the Website?

In the age of Artificial Intelligence, freelance graphic design services, and pre-designed templates, it’s easy to think anyone can design a website. Suppose your website is relatively simple, with just a few pages and basic functionality. In that case, you can use website builders that offer templates, or you can employ a less expensive freelance designer. But, if your website involves complex interactions, multiple user flows, and specific user goals, a professional UX designer can help ensure a smooth and intuitive user experience. A user experience specialist will know what color schemes work best, the optimal placement for call-to-action buttons (i.e., Contact Us, Request a Quote), and ensure best practices for users with disabilities.

How Long Will It Take To Complete the Website?

The timeline for completing a website varies based on multiple factors. The complexity of the website plays a significant role in determining how long it takes to complete. A basic website with only a few pages can be built much quicker than a large, complex website with custom features and functionalities. The number of people working on a website can also impact the timeline. If a dedicated team of developers, designers, and content creators work on the project, it can be completed faster than if only one person handles all the tasks. It typically takes between 60-90 days to complete a website. However, be cautious of website development companies promising to finish a website in less than 30 days. A reputable website development company will likely have a backlog of work to be completed before they can start on a new project. Therefore, if a company promises to complete a website in just two to three weeks, it’s best to be wary as they may be overpromising or don’t have consistent work.

How Much Will a New Website Cost?

One of the most critical questions when building a website is, “How much does it cost?”. The cost depends on factors like functionality, features, and complexity, ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. Like buying a new car or home, the price depends on features, options, and customizations. Each one can affect the overall cost. To get an accurate estimate, you should provide examples of websites you like and the desired features. Providing examples helps you get a price range and make an informed decision. However, when choosing the right fit for your project, you should also consider other factors, such as the developer’s experience, reputation, and portfolio.

If you are interested in a website for your company, contact Power Marketing.