Business Insights

What to look for in a website developer

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to deciding on who will define your brand online. It’s important therefore to make the right choice of a website developer.
Andrew Wassenaar
Published on

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to deciding on who will define your brand online. It’s important therefore to make the right choice of a website developer. You want to make sure they understand you, and more importantly your company, in order to convey your message as accurately as possible. Even if you have all your content ready, it’s not as simple as clicking upload and watching text and images come together to form a beautiful website. So what else is there to do? Why do so many businesses enlist the help of digital agencies to help them set up their online presence?

The decision is usually based on the following factors:
  • Price
  • Ease of use
  • Scalability
  • Ongoing support
For a website to be successful, it needs to be done right. That’s why businesses will often turn to the experts. With such an array of options available when it comes to website design, it can often be hard to make the right choice. So let’s take a look at each option, and hopefully, the answer will become clear.
There are numerous options available these days that enable you to have a crack at website development yourself. WordPress, Shopify, and even Zeald’s own product 'Tripledash' all exist to empower the average computer user with the tools needed to create a basic website. While this may seem like the cheapest option, you will still need to select a software package, purchase the software, learn how to use it, and spend the time creating the website yourself. The time and effort spent on this can quickly multiply and end up costing you a lot more than expected. When choosing a website developer, you also have to look at the cost over time, not just the upfront build.

This DIY method is often used as an initial attempt by small businesses or startups, simply due to cost. Unfortunately, the results are often lacklustre, and these businesses often end up enlisting the help of experts in the end regardless. The reason for this is that it takes a huge amount of time to learn not only how to use the software, but also to understand the techniques and methods used to make your website a success. Professional designers and web developers usually have a tertiary education and/or years of experience.

That’s not to say that this option won't work for you. Every business has their own specific requirements, and if you believe a DIY solution can fulfil these requirements then by all means, give it a go.

So your aunty heard you’re looking for a website developer and “totally has a friend good at computers, has hundreds of YouTube subscribers and can like, fully build a website for you”. Avoid these situations at all costs! Unless you have seen evidence of what this person can build, and know that they are organised enough to see a project through to completion, then it just isn’t worth the hassle. 

Time and time again business owners are let down by acquaintances or ‘friends’ who “will get on that right away!”. They wait and wait, and rarely see a complete website of any kind, let alone a successful one. 
A lone wolf web developer is any one person that offers a complete website build (and sometimes enlists their friends to help out). A lone wolf developer can have certain advantages, however quality can vary wildly. Who knows, you may come across a talented developer just starting out, eager to prove themselves, who puts a lot of effort into building you a quality website for an affordable price. Sadly, this is not commonplace.

A successful website requires a rare combination of artistic, technical, online sales and marketing skills. These skills are not often found in one person, and if they are, they will have been garnered from years of experience. Needless to say, these people probably aren’t working as solo developers; a large agency will be quick to snap them up. A one man band will have a weakness, and it’s not fun for any business to find out what that weakness is by becoming victim to it. 

A dedicated website development company specialises in the ideation, construction and development of successful websites. They have the combined knowledge and experience of multiple website professionals and the ability to tailor a solution for your specific requirements. Just like a rugby team has specialist players in different positions, a website development agency will have specialist experts in different areas like graphic design, website customisation, and copywriting. This team dynamic ensures the finished product has a certain standard of quality across the entire site. Of course, different agencies will have differing levels of quality, so business owners will definitely have to do their due diligence before deciding who to go with. 

The benefits of going to an agency with your website needs are similar to the benefits of doing business with any large company. Large companies are often large because they’ve produced good work and get a lot of business as a result. Experience plays a huge factor as well, as they may well have worked with similar businesses in the past and know exactly how to bring about online success in your industry. The fact of the matter is, you are most likely going to get the best results from a website developer that knows what they’re doing, and you won’t be able to enlist their help without a significant investment. 

One of the biggest advantages to enlisting the help of an agency, is the level of ongoing support. As your website evolves and develops (as any successful website should), things will break. Having someone there to help you in these situations is invaluable for any business. Look at testimonials on the website of your prospective web developer, or attempt to talk to existing clients to get an accurate idea of the level of ongoing support. This assistance isn’t just required when things go wrong either. If you need help making any sort of change to your website, a team of developers are going to be able to get this done much more efficiently than any other option.

The same advice applies no matter which path you might take. Make sure you do your research, and actually use the websites that your potential developer has built. Don’t just look at pictures of their designs. Create accounts, click all the links, maybe even purchase something from websites they’ve built. Read case studies to learn how these websites have helped businesses get results online. You’ll soon learn who makes the websites that would work for you and your business. Generally speaking in regards to website development, and many other similar industries, you get what you pay for.

At Zeald, we take pride in providing online solutions for businesses and budgets of any size. Discover how we can help your business by chatting to our Google certified experts, or requesting a free, no obligation audit of your current website.
Andrew Wassenaar
Published on

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