How to Find a Reliable Web Developer
Creating a high-quality website is perhaps one of the best things you can do for your business.
Not only does it serve to widen your company’s online presence and help market its products, it also establishes your company as a credible, trustworthy partner. It’s also much easier to disseminate important updates, such as a product launch or management shuffle, to your customers and potential leads.
But to have a good website, you first need to find a reliable web developer.
This can be a tricky process for small business owners who are setting up a company for the first time.
There is a vast number of web developers out there, all with varying rates and skillsets. It is not easy to trawl through dozens of portfolios and personal websites, much less discern who is the best person to handle what is essentially your company’s online business card.
Here are a few tips that will help you find a solid web developer and save valuable time and money.
Figure out what you need.
Firstly, a web developer is not a web designer. Unlike a designer, who focuses on the visuals and appearance of a website, a web developer is someone who makes this website function on desktop and mobile.
While some web developers have design skills and some web designers have development skills, this distinction is something you should keep in mind so that you know exactly what you are looking for.
Once you have confirmed that you are looking for a web developer, take a step back and figure out what you want and need for your website.
Do you need a mobile-friendly interface? Are you planning to integrate an online store with online payment methods? Do you need an interactive design for a community forum?
All these are important questions that you need to answer before even starting your search.
Identify relevant skill sets.
Now that you know exactly what you want, you have to figure out what skill sets your ideal web developer must have.
If you already have a website design done up and just need someone to make it functional, then you are probably looking at someone with back-end development skills. This means they must have knowledge of PHP, Java, Python, and other programming languages.
But if you’re looking for someone to create your website from start to finish, including both design and implementing that design, then you are probably looking at a full-stack developer. This is someone that can do both front- and back-end. Think of them as a jack-of-all-trades.
One thing to note: if you have specific requests, you might want to do some research and ensure that the developers have the relevant skill set.
For instance, if you are planning to center your website around a dedicated blog and will be doing extensive WordPress integration, you might want someone who has ample experience using PHP.
Use a web developer database.
Now, it’s time to find someone who fits your requirements for a web developer.
Sometimes, in the interest of time and money, it might be easier to reach out directly to a database specifically catered for coding-related jobs. These portals are specifically tailored for assignments that fall squarely within the realm of tech. It also means you’re more likely to find appropriate, highly-qualified web developers. Some popular ones include Toptal, Hired, and Dice.
These databases boast large communities of web developers that are, most importantly, pre-vetted. This means that you don’t have to spend time sifting through unfurnished, inexperienced profiles. Another pretty good resource would be GitHub profiles and its marketplace platform. If you know specifically what and who you're looking for, it's one of the best choices to find the right developer.
Look through potential candidates’ portfolios.
After you have filtered through your list of candidates based on the skillsets that are non-negotiable, you should have a look at their past projects.
Although someone may sound good on paper, nothing says as much about their skill as the websites that they have actually created before.
Web developers will usually include a link to their website or portfolio, where they will showcase their previous work. This sometimes also includes a hyperlink to a live site, which you can browse through to get an idea of the functionality and speed of the interface.
If you’re looking for a full-stack developer, looking through their portfolio also gives you a better sense of whether or not their design vision will align with yours.
Check their rates.
If you have a budget in mind, that’s great — it should have played a big part in filtering the list of candidates at the start of the search process.
However, if you aren’t sure about your budget yet, that’s no big cause for concern either. Have a look at the shortlisted web developers and compare their different rates.
Try to understand why someone might charge more than another. Is it because they will get the job done faster? Is it because they come in with a full-stack skillset? Do they have award-winning website designs? And do these perks matter for your website?
If a web developer does not list their rates, simply reach out to them via email to ask for a quote. Most would be happy to liaise with you.
Do nOt rush.
This is perhaps the most crucial part. Even if you have a deadline to meet, don’t panic and go for the first person that fits within your budget. A website is one of the most important things for any business that is operating today, so you want to make sure that the web developer you choose is someone who is capable of executing the job.