This article first appeared on January 23, 2012.
I’m starting a business in a regional area. How do I choose the right web developer for my business?
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Whether you’re in a regional area or the city, finding the right web designer can be a daunting process.
Setting up a website can consume a substantial chunk of your marketing budget.
Because each developer takes a different approach, it can be difficult for you to compare apples with apples.
Worse, there are many ‘cowboys’ out there who prey on inexperienced business owners.
So it’s critical that you know what you’re after.
Here are my top five tips for choosing the right web developer:
1. Content Management Systems
Find a developer who will provide you with a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress or Joomla. A CMS will allow you to update your own website. This will save you money long term, as you will not need to go back to the developer every time you want to update a page. A CMS will also allow you to grow your website in the future.
2. Know your needs
Know your needs. Some companies will base their pricing on how many layouts need to be developed. The more complex your website is, the more it will cost.
3. Examine the different payment options
Some developers will charge you a single upfront fee, while others will charge ongoing fees. It’s important that you analyse which is going to work best for your cashflow.
4. Structurity comes first
Before you design how your website looks, make sure it has a structure that will work for both you and your customers.
5. Choose someone you can trust
Most of the time, you’ll have very little direct knowledge about the work being done on your website. Therefore, you need to be able to trust that the company you choose will work in your best interests.
These points are far more important than whether a designer is based in the city or the country.
Being a regionally based agency owner myself, I know the quality and innovation that a boutique organisation can bring to a company over and above the ‘big guys’.
But at the end of the day, the most important thing is to ensure that you get a well-designed website with on-going support.