What Do I Need to Know Before Hiring a Web Developer?

Hiring a web developer? Prepare for success with these key steps and skills. Learn what to expect and how to collaborate for a smooth website build process. Find the right developer for your small business.

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Are you looking to hire a web developer? Okay great! You’re ready to take the leap and hire someone to build your website. Or maybe this is a rebuild – fixing what you did. Hey, we all started somewhere, right? And when you’re a new business, just having any website is good. Many clients start on WordPress.com, and we think that’s great. 

But you’re in a new phase now. Money’s coming in, and you need a website that reflects your current market position, branding, and, frankly, your life’s dream and legacy. We got you. 

But we will need to work with you. So are you prepared? So, let’s go into some of the things we need to work together.

What Do You Need To Know Before Hiring a Web Developer?

Before hiring your web developer (hint, hint) you’ll need to know a few things. If you’re super organized, this first step will only take about 20 minutes. 

  1. Do you have a domain name already? If you’re buying a new domain name, we can do that together. 
  2. If you have a domain name, get your username and password ready to log into your domain registrar. It’s probably Domain, GoDaddy, or Namecheap—those are Forbes’ Partners. It’s a best practice to have your hosting and domain registration in different places.
  3. Do you have a current website? We’ll need to log into your hosting account, take a look at what’s there, and make a backup to download. This is important to the discovery phase of website development. Have your hosting account password and login ready.
  4. If you don’t have a website, then we can start from scratch. 
  5. What is the main purpose of your website? Meaning, what do you want people to do when they get there? Many small businesses want people to read the menu, click on Contact Us, or fill out a form. These “simple actions” can sometimes involve complex WordPress plugins.
  6. Do you have a Google Analytics account set up for your domain name? We will need that information as well. If you have a UA code instead of GA4, we will need to convert it. 
  7. Are you using email with your domain name? This would be [email protected]? If so, where is that hosted? Are you using Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite), or are you just using a plain Gmail address? This is an important step because WordPress doesn’t handle emails very well. 
  8. Like domain registration, it is best practice for you to have email hosted separately from your website hosting. You never want to be in a situation where your website is down and your email is down. (Hey, it’s happened even to big companies).
  9. Are you using email marketing software like Mailchimp or Constant Contact? To connect that to your new website, we’ll need that login info as well.
  10. Do you have a logo? What format? (Hint: a Word document is not a photo file. We’re looking for .tiff, .png, .jpg, .pdf, and .psd formats).
  11. Do you have a color palette? (See accessibility in the next section).
  12. Where are the words coming from? Have you already written a Home, About, Contact, and Services page? Do you have any blog posts yet? Do you have YouTube videos that you want repurposed or featured on your website? Do you have a trifold brochure?
  13. Do you have any social media accounts? We’ll need all of those links/account names to ensure your footer has social links that work.
  14. Who will we be working with throughout the development? Will one person be approving all of the steps?

We may have other questions to ask you, but you get the gist. It’s not a project that you start when you’re going on vacation to Europe for three weeks. It’s a project we work on collaboratively. It’s fun, we promise!

What Skills Should Every Developer Have? 

Sometimes you hire a freelancer who specializes in the back-end (functionality) and works with a front-end designer (how the website looks). Other times you choose a theme from a specific set that has been optimized for the developer’s niche like Roofer Marketers.

Every developer should have the following skills:

  1. Ability to communicate without jargon in writing and in meetings (online and off). This person will explain the process and make it easy for you to get your website done.
  2. Ability to manage DNS servers (where your domain is registered).
  3. Ability to interface with the hosting platform and get timely support.
  4. Provide WordPress updates and maintenance to prevent your site from being hacked (at an additional charge usually).
  5. “Extensive knowledge of web applications, programming languages, and web services—including API, CSS, CSS3, cross-browser compatibility, HTML, HTML5, JavaScript, jQuery, PHP, security principles, REST, SOAP, and web user interface design.” LinkedIn
  6. Understand eCommerce and provide the best functionality for your online store.
  7. “A good web designer should have a sense of creativity and be able to come up with unique designs that will set your website apart from the competition.” Astra  
  8. The ability to tell you no. This seems like an odd one, but you might have an idea that makes no sense or negates the purpose of your website. You don’t want to hire someone who doesn’t push back on ideas, politely, and with reasons. You’re hiring an expert.
  9. Basic accessibility. You may have colors that you love. But if they don’t work on the web for accessibility (low vision and blind users), then your developer should suggest alternate versions and pairings for font/background.
  10. Writing skills or access to a copywriter. No offense, but it’s unlikely that you as a client know what words will work best on your site. It’s different writing for the web. You want a developer who will make your words better or have the resources to do so.
  11. Project management skills. Meaning, the project moves along, and you’re being updated weekly on the progress of your small business website.

“Bear in mind that your tech needs to be scalable – all being well, demand for your product or service is only going to grow! You need to ensure that your website will be able to cope with increased demand.” Stephenson Law

Being Ready Makes the Website Build Process Easier 

We hope we haven’t completely overwhelmed you. People feel blindsided when they don’t understand the process. But that’s why you’re hiring us. Our transparent process and workflow mean you’re hiring an expert, and we want to put your mind at ease.

Browse through our portfolio, read some of our client reviews, and look us up on Google. We’re building community because we all help one another make our community stronger. 

Still Want to Leave Your Small Business Up to Chance? Hire a Local WebDev.

WebDevs build websites. We rebuild websites. We design websites. We fix websites you broke (it happens). Website developers create the structure your business needs to live and thrive in person and online. Leaving your findability up to the roll of the dice, click of a mouse, or scroll of a finger, seems kind of risky in this day and age. 

Choose an experienced agency that has your back and the reputation to prove it. We want to partner with you to make your business a success. We have been helping businesses with their websites since 2004.

Let’s book a call today.

Picture of Butch Ewing

Butch Ewing

I'm your new best friend. A human that uses technology to help businesses grow. (I'm also working on an AI startup in stealth mode 🤫)Let's be social on Twitter and LinkedIn
Picture of Butch Ewing

Butch Ewing

I'm your new best friend. A human that uses technology to help businesses grow. (I'm also working on an AI startup in stealth mode 🤫)Let's be social on Twitter and LinkedIn