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Choosing the right web developer

A

altwebdesign

New Member
I want this post to save you money and time!
I’m a web developer with over 6 years professional experience and run my own successful web design company. I’m not only highly skilled in graphic design and PHP but also project management which is what I want to share with you guys.
When I say “web developer” I’m referring to either a graphic designer, programmer or both.
Hiring a web developer will either make or break your project from day 1!
Choosing the right developer will be a long process, especially if it’s your first time.
So, where to find developers?
A quick Google search will pull up a lot of web development companies and freelance web developers but how do you chose the right one?
Choosing a company form a Google search doesn’t give you much scope to find out about them from other peoples experiences. Sure they may have a few testimonials on their site, but hey, how long does it take to write a fake testimonial?
If you must choose a company you found via a search engine, always ask for referrals, you can usually go to their portfolio, see a list of their clients, which will allow you to email them and ask for the feedback regarding the specific company.
Marketplaces, such as
elance
getacoder
getafreelancer
These type of websites list web design companies who have actively signed up to the site and offer many benefits to you, when searching for a web developer.
Firstly, they allow you to post your project brief so that it can be potentially viewed by every web development company on that market place. Secondly and probably most importantly every web development company on the market place website will have a profile, this is the cool part, that profile will contain the web developers ENTIRE history on that website, it will list feedback and reviews submitted by people the web developers have worked with. This is important as a company with a 2.5/5 rating and lots of negative reviews is an obvious one to stay away from. You will get a lot of companies who have 4/5 or even full 5/5 marks and straight positive reviews. Does a google search for them, see what else you can find out, and also look at their past projects see if they have any direct relevant experience to your project type.
Stay away from the coders with zero feedback who are promising the world for a much cheaper price than average. Not to say they won’t do a good job, but typically there offer is too good to be true!
These market place agencies offer YOU, the buyer protection. If you work direct with a web development company and make a payment, then the project takes a wrong direction, getting your money back will be a tough mission!
Market places offer something called “escrow” which means your payment will be held by the agency until released by you, to the coder. This can also work against you should your developer wish to cancel and still get paid. The best way to protect yourself is to upload a full project brief to your market place agency workspace, that way should a dispute arise; your agency can work independently from the project scope and decide what should happen with the funds.
So now you have chosen your coder, he has great feedback, relative experience and agrees to your payment terms.
The next important step is project planning. Go as in-depth as possible and into as much detail as possible, I typically spend 7-10 days pre-planning a project before I even begin to write a line of code!
I take time with you to iron out the full details of a project, using diagrams and mock-ups if necessary, to ensure what I program will meet your needs. The reason being that this saves time making amendments later on should something be miss-communicated. I spend a lot of time pre-planning any PHP work I do offline, writing up database structures, planning queries and ensuring that the online webhost has the relevant properties enabled.

You are hiring a web developer to fulfil a requirement you cannot and so once the preplanning is done you will be provided with daily updates and only be contacted when absolutely necessary!
Take into account here the fact that paying a higher amount for less hours work with me, saves you time, this enables you to launch your website sooner/on time and begin generating your income!

Your costs can end up significantly higher when using an inexperienced PHP programmer. What could take me 12 hours to do at $50p/h may take another $25p/h coder two/three times as long, which in turn ends up costing you a lot more!
All of my PHP work is correctly commented where necessary and PHP queries/variables are always named appropriately. You can argue that there are many skilled PHP coders out there available for $15p/h With PHP it really is a case of having the correct skill set and equally as important, having the necessary experience.

Take into consideration a few key elements:
What is their location?
Does the country have a reliable internet provider? After all if a coder is in a country with poor internet service how can he be online at key times?
What is the coders’ experience/skill set?
Has a project of this size been handled by the coder before or is he hoping to “wing it” by saying he can do it with no prior experience?

This comes into play with deadlines; learning on the job will push back YOUR deadlines!

With lack of experience, generally comes lack of preparation, lack of planning and a lack of quality. . . . This costs YOU money!

I hope this has been of some value to you and helps you when choosing your next web developer, I hope the process is pain-free!

Craig
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