Hiring the right person or company to build your website is a challenging decision that startups/businesses must make. One that can either lead to online success or total failure.
It’s important for companies do the their research, ask the right questions and review a web developer or companies portfolio before deciding to hire them.
Price is understandably a deciding factor for most, but many forget that often times the old saying “you get what you pay for” tends to ring true in these circumstances.
Cost tends to dictate the amount of effort that will be invested into a website. If a developer doesn’t feel compensated fairly then quality will suffer with poor code, poor quality and all those small details that may contribute to online success the buyer isn’t aware of – skipped.
The types of web developers covered in this article are some I’ve encountered during my career, been one myself at some point or had to revamp a website that was originally built by one.
I’m also not saying you can’t get a quality website from hiring them but it’s important to understand that they typically come with setbacks which I will cover.
1. The Newbie or the Student
We all need to start somewhere just as I did almost 20 years ago after I graduated college and started my portfolio off with a website for a window cleaning company for a whopping $500.
This was before smartphones existed therefore you didn’t have to worry about responsiveness, Internet Explorer dominated the browser market by almost 70% and WordPress didn’t exist yet.
It goes unsaid that the quality I produce today is far superior after nearly two decades of completing hundreds of projects, advancing my education, learning from mistakes and just perfecting my craft.
Hiring a student to build your website can certainly have it’s benefits from a cost perspective as students are eager to get their career started. However the quality you may expect can often times be a huge dropoff from a seasoned developer or agency.
Sure, if you’re a startup business and don’t have much of a budget or looking to test the waters then you might want consider hiring a student.
Just don’t expect them to provide the same level of expertise or results compared to hiring a professional.
2. The Relic
As the saying goes “Sometimes you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” which rings true for this type of developer. And age isn’t always the determining factor as just about anyone can be complacent in their skill set.
Opposite of the student, The Relic is a web developer stuck in their ways, doesn’t bother to improve their skills and evolve with the times.
These web developers are usually phased out by knowledgeable business owners who know better than to hire someone whose skills are obsolete and potentially have a portfolio that is reminiscent of websites created in Microsoft Frontpage 2000.
Sure you might get a deal on your web project but you’re either likely to have a poor performing website and/or you’ll eventually want to reconsider revamping completely.
If you are looking to develop a successful online presence you’ll want to steer clear of these web developers and put your dollars to good use.
3. Offshore Freelancers
The allure of hiring freelancers seems like a great idea. Sure you can pay a fraction of what North American web developers charge. Unfortunately it comes with a laundry list of potential issues so proceed with caution.
If this truly was a good idea then I would hire offshore talent for all my projects. If I do hire offshore talent it’s typically for small parts of projects such as custom coding, data entry and research. NEVER to build an entire project.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to review their work and check code compliance.
For example, when dealing with WordPress, new functionality must be applied correctly to avoid being overwritten by software/plugin updates.
Having an understanding of web development myself, I’m able to spot those trying to cut corners or submit hacks.
Additionally, due to communication issues, time zones and overall quality of work, I would not recommend offshoring entire projects.
I’ve had to redo several websites initially developed through offshore freelancers and can typically tell upon first reviewing the site by the poor development standards.
My advice – avoid at all costs unless you have a solid understanding of web development and/or can properly QA a website.
4. Graphic Designers
Graphic designers are great when it comes to creating appealing graphics for both print and web.
The problem is when they try enter the world of web development they tend to fall short in understanding development standards and/or search engine optimization.
Sure they might be able to build a flashy looking website, but what’s the point of having a website if nobody can find you or missing functionality that can improve user experience?
Based on experience, site performance is ignored by many web developers and large images tend to be the culprit that impedes loading time. This mistake can lead to bad user experience, higher bounce rates and poor search ranking and common among websites created by graphic designers.
5. The Programmer
I actually graduated in Computer Programming and my first websites looked like a dogs breakfast until I enrolled in graphic design and improved my skills over time.
Similar to Graphic Designers, programmers can sometimes be one-trick ponies. They may be able to provide online solutions and custom functionality but fall short on design and SEO.
Sure you might have a website that does everything you need it to but if it doesn’t look professional then it can affect how visitors perceive your business or brand.