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Hiring a web developer / designer? Here’s what to prepare

For those of us with a clear vision of a professional and effective website that is tailored to attract customers and close sales, the hiring of a web developer is a smooth process. For everyone else, a lot of preparation needs to take place before you spend money on hiring a professional to deliver a website that is in line with your brand’s business model.

 

As someone with years of experience in web development, I know how frustrating it can be for a professional to arrive on the scene and be met with only loose ideas, no work schedule, vague direction and worst of all: no solid business model. Without the right preparation, a job that should take around a week or less could go on for months.

 

Here’s what to prepare before hiring a web developer:


  • A solid business model

 

Your website must be able to perfectly translate your business model; a watertight plan that you have built from the ground up way before even considering building a website. A solid business model that is translated well onto a website should reassure the customer of the following:

 

  • Exactly what your business does and why
  • You understand the customer’s needs and why they are on your website
  • You understand the customer’s problem and can promise to fix it with your product
  • Your solution is a far better option than the competition 
  • Purchasing from your is not a leap of faith, but a decision made based on trust



If you have yet to create a strong business model, forget about hiring a web developer and return to the drawing board. Only once you feel 100% certain that your business model is clear, coherent and persuasive, then think about how you will transfer the plan onto your website. This brings us onto the next step.



  • A mock site/general framework (also known as a wireframe)



Whether it’s by pencil and paper or some other medium, draw up your ideas as to how you envision your ideal website looking. Do not be afraid to take inspiration from popular and successful websites without stepping into the dangerous boundaries of plagiarism. It’s fine to get some ideas, but don’t outright copy.

 

A web developer will appreciate a basic framework of where images and headings should be placed, allowing them to work just that little bit faster and save your essential time and resources for other tasks. You do not need to be an artistic virtuoso to draw up your ideas, just ensure they are clear and easy to follow. Try to outline where all the buttons, logos and other elements should be placed by the developer, along with the general ‘feel’ and atmosphere that site should provoke when visited by customers. 



  • The necessary elements of your ideal website (your assets)

 

Images, videos, text and copy need to be prepared before the web developer arrives. They are not a photographer, graphic designer or copywriter who can fill in the blanks, so make sure to have all the necessary elements pre-prepared and ready to go once the developer has built the bones of the website.

 

By having the content of your website ready before it is even built may sound a little counterproductive, but if you have a clear vision of layout and structure, this shouldn’t be a problem. A good developer is very likely to act more like a web designer, meaning they will not leave you with confusing code to tinker with, but a dynamic system that can be used by anyone to alter the website. Think WordPress or Wix.




  • Direction and support

 

If you are in a position to hire a web developer, then you need to be able to direct them without hesitation or second guessing. They are on the clock, and every hour is another lost resource that needs to be minimised by having a clear vision, assertive direction and being able to provide constant support and guidance. 

 

While web developers are excellent at what they do, they are unfortunately incapable of telepathy. These skilled men and women appreciate good direction from someone who clearly knows exactly what they want and how they want it to happen. 

 

Ensure you maintain a clear and open line of communication with the web developer by using a popular and accessible platform such as WhatsApp and Zoom. Loom is also greatly beneficial for giving clarity to certain ideas or to provide feedback. Chances are, the web developer will be using Loom quite regularly to explore changes and keep you updated on their progress. 



  • An open mind and flexibility

 

A good web developer will inevitably suggest important changes that need to be made to your website in order for it to be effective in achieving your business’ goals. Ensure you are ready to listen to their feedback and take on board their suggestions. Web developers are experts in their field and you will need to have an open mind if you want them to work efficiently.


  • A comprehensive brief

 

A good brief should contain all of the information, ideas and elements listed above in a simple and easy to follow guide. I recommend using Google or Microsoft Word document to create your mission dossier since pretty much everyone uses either one or both of these popular platforms.

 

Arrange to chat with the web developer via a Zoom call or a similar medium so you can both explore the brief together to iron out the details and erase any confusion surrounding the project. 



Next steps:

 

Following this guide, you should be in a good position to begin shopping around for the ideal web developer to suit your business. It should be noted that a web developer plays a different role to a designer, so please make sure you hire someone who can build a website that you or anyone on your team can reconfigure at any time without needing to code.

 

And as always, keep an eye out for more news, updates and upcoming releases from The Web Creator’s Toolbox. Make sure to subscribe to our mailing list and follow us on social media if you haven’t already to keep in the loop on more exciting installments from me and the team.

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