Whether you are taking an existing business online or opening a brand new startup, having a solid web presence is absolutely vital. The days when small business owners and new startups could ignore the Internet are long over, and if you do not have a presence on the web your customers will not take you seriously.
No matter what kind of business you own, the web is where most potential customers will go to find out more about you and your operations. If they do not like what they see, they will not return, and you will have lost all that valuable business.
That is why it is so important to find a web developer you can trust, one who is professional, honest, ethical and as committed to your success as you are. It is far easier to design a great website from the start then to try to fix a poorly designed one years down the line.
The best way to find a great web developer is to ask the right questions. You do not have to be a tech guru to find a great developer and create a powerful compelling website – all you need to do is know what to ask. Here are 10 essential questions you should ask when shopping for a web developer.
Can I see samples of your past work?
A good web developer will be proud to show you sites they have done in the past. Beware of developers who seem reluctant to share their past development work.
How long have you been in business?
There is nothing wrong with working with a new web developer, but experience can be an important factor.
Do you have a good understanding of responsive web design (RWD)?
It is vital for websites to be mobile friendly, and you need a web developer who understands and implements responsive design.
Will you provide ongoing content or contacts for freelance writers?
Providing a steady stream of fresh content is essential in today’s world. A good web developer will work with you to design the content you need on an ongoing basis.
Do you provide ongoing support?
At some point something will go wrong with your website, and you need someone who can provide the expertise needed to get it back online quickly.
What kind of security do you use?
Hacking and identity theft have reached epidemic proportions, and small business websites are prime targets. Make sure the developer you work with builds strong security into every site they create.
What is your SEO strategy?
Search engine optimisation, or SEO, is designed to help your new website rank well with Google, Yahoo!, Bing and other search engines. A good web developer will have an understanding of SEO and how it works.
Are your sites up to the latest standards?
The Internet is changing all the time, and the things that worked yesterday may not be so great today. Experienced web developers work hard to keep up with the latest technology and build it into their new web properties.
What kinds of technology do you use?
There are dozens of different ways to build a website, and a good developer will have access to a wide universe of tools and applications to make your site stand out from the crowd.
How much will it cost?
Price is always an important consideration, as most startups are not exactly rolling in dough. Be sure you understand the pricing structure, including the cost of the initial website design and expenses for ongoing support.
If you are getting your new business off the ground, you probably have a lot of things to think about, from how to pay the rent to how to find the right employees. Finding the right web developer is just as important, and the more questions you ask the easier it will be to find a true professional who is ready to help you succeed.