Most developers who sign up to work with clients are genuinely interested in helping the business venture be a success. They have many options while developing a custom solution for your website and the decisions they make will have long term consequences for your business. Some solutions are quick and cheap to put together, some scale better, some are easier to maintain, some provide you with better SEO, others with better graphic design options. Following these simple principles will place the web developer “on your team”.
Be sure to tell your developer:
What does your business do today? What are your hopes for tomorrow?
Taking the time to explain to your developer the core of your business, and the direction you would like to go in the future will enable them to make more intelligent decisions and spot opportunities for you. There might be plugins that can combine different functions on your site, there might be solutions that will prepare your site for the next milestone in your business’ growth. This can be a crucial part of your web development conversation.
How flexible is your budget? How flexible is your timeline?
If your budget is flexible it does not mean you have to overspend. On the other hand, being too rigid means you can miss important opportunities to add quality to your site. Let your developer know whether they can come to you with a legitimate request to add extra time to the original estimate. You can evaluate the requests as they come.
How involved do you want to be in the project?
Some clients just want the work to get done so that they do not need to think about it. Other clients want to be involved in the details and know the precise status of the project. Knowing that up front makes the communication that much easier and sets clear expectations for both parties. Let them know your favorite mode of communication, how quickly they can expect to hear back from you, etc.
How tech savvy are you?
This is a surprisingly important question. Some clients will never log in to the site and expect the developer to do all the configuration work for them. In that case the developer has no need to invest in a user friendly admin interface. Others are very comfortable with the technology, love to learn new things and will expect to be able to configure and update the tools on their own. These users will need a tutorial on how to use their admin interface. Both strategies are perfectly legitimate, just knowing the expectations up front will make the collaboration that much more successful.
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