Hiring a web developer - the only guide you need in 2023

Author: Danny
Date: April 23, 2022

If you’re looking to hire a web developer, it can be a daunting task. Hiring a web developer and getting your site up and running is the best way for people to find out about your business online. Creating a site that performs well, provides good customer service and meets the needs of your customers requires a skilled web developer. There is a lot to consider, especially if it is not something you have done before, so finding top web developers to fulfil your business objectives, and deliver the project on time and on a budget is essential.

Many business owners make the same mistakes. In this article, we'll discuss the ins and outs of hiring web developers and the 10 most common mistakes people make when hiring someone to create a website for their business. Avoid these mistakes and you'll be able to find the right developer for your needs and get your web page up and running in no time!

What are the different types of web developers?

What are the different types of web developers?

Firstly, it is important to understand the different types of web developers that are available when seeking the right tech talent for your next project. Secondly, there are several types of web development which cover different programming languages and web development disciplines. It's important to get a better understanding and all the details of these before moving on:

Front end development

Front end developers code the front end of websites using HTML, CSS and JavaScript, or the user interface of web applications using React, Angular or Blazor to name a few. Front end web development brings together the “shop window”, the public-facing part of the website or dashboard etc after logging into a web application. If you were to hire a front end developer you would also need a web a separate web designer and a back end developer.

Back end development

Back end developers are responsible for the functionality of a website. Furthermore, a backend developer designs and codes the server-side web applications and websites using programming languages such as PHP, .NET and Node.js. When you see the pictures of 

Full stack development

Full stack developers are responsible for both the front-end and back-end development of a website. Furthermore, full stack developers have a working knowledge of both front-end and back-end technologies and are able to build a website from start to finish.

Mobile development

Mobile developers are responsible for developing applications that can be used on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. They use programming languages such as Swift, Java and Objective-C to code the applications. A mobile developer wouldn't be required for a website build, as the mobile version of the website is covered by responsive design and either full stack developers or front end developers. Mobile developers generally build separate web apps, those which we see on the likes of Google Play and the Apple Store.

Web app development

Web app developers are responsible for developing web applications. They use programming languages such as PHP, Ruby on Rails and Node.js to code the applications. Web app development is often a subset of full-stack development.

Freelance development

Many freelance professionals offer services from web design and web development to logo design and marketing services. They are individual contractors who are not employed by a specific company. They work for themselves and are often hired on a project-by-project basis. Furthermore, a freelance web developer usually specializes in either front-end, back-end development or full stack development. You can find developers at the top of the tech talent pile who can do design, front end development, back end development and mobile development, however, these are rare and often significantly more expensive than a full stack developer and perhaps overkill for a website build. Before engaging with any freelancers, or even considering their development services we recommend you check out their past work in order to get a good idea of their capabilities and experience.

Many freelance web developers also specialize in a specific programming language, such as PHP or JavaScript. There are many advantages to hiring freelance web developers for your website development needs. They offer more flexibility in terms of hiring and project timelines, and they can often offer better rates than hiring a full-time developer. 

That said freelancers often come with more risk than hiring a web development agency. A freelance web developer works by themselves and for themselves, therefore your project is always at risk of delays and in the worst case being left incomplete. 

Hiring a web development agency may cost a bit more but they always have contingencies should there be a risk of delay or resources available for your project. Furthermore, web development agencies normally have or collaborate with partners to offer all of the required skills to complete the project on time and on budget. Web development agencies can plan, project-manage, design, develop and deliver your website or app build from start to finish. Finally, web development agencies can offer post-project services such as further development beyond the initial product, support and maintenance services, and web hosting

Full-time web developers

Full-time developers are employed by a specific company on a full-time basis. They work in-house and are responsible for the development of all the company's websites.

Agency web developers

Agency web developers work for a web development agency that specializes in building websites for clients. They are often involved in multiple projects at the same time and work as part of a team of developers, designers and project managers. This is often the best option for most businesses, as agencies will have pre-established processes and protocols that can help to ensure your project is completed on time and within budget.

What to watch out for if hiring freelance web developers

What to watch out for if hiring freelance web developers

Many businesses we speak to are surprised when we tell them you don’t just need a web designer for your next “web design” project, you need a web designer and a web developer, or someone who is skilled in both disciplines.

Web designers are not web developers and vice versa.  

Web designers and web developers do not have the same role and often get confused with one another. Web designers are responsible for the look and feel of a website while web developers are responsible for the functionality of a website. Web developers take the web design created by the web designer and turn it into a functioning website.

While the minority of freelancers are highly skilled at web design and equally skilled full stack developers, beware of the freelance web designer who thinks that automatically makes them a freelance web developer too. Design skills are not the same as web development skills. Their only web development skill is to add out-of-the-box, bloated and poorly designed themes to content management systems such as WordPress; they call this web development! They can be the best web designers but simply destroy the performance and user experience of a great looking website by offering development services they're not capable of delivering to best practice standards.

With so many different types of developers available, it can be difficult to know which one is the right fit for your business. To help you make this decision, consider the following factors:

  • The scope of your project: Are you looking to build a simple website or a more complex web application?
  • The size of your team: Do you have a large team of in-house developers, do you need to hire web developers or are you looking to hire a freelancer?
  • The budget for your project: Do you have a large budget or are you working with a limited budget?
  • Your technical requirements: Do you need someone with extensive programming knowledge or do you want to hire web developers who specialise in building simpler brochure-type websites?

Still not sure? Feel free to get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss and advise on the best solution for your next project. 

What to look for in a web developer

What to look for in a web developer

There are a few key things you need to look for. The most important thing is to find someone who has the skills and experience to do the job. Beyond that, you'll also want to find someone who is a good fit for your company culture and who shares your values if you are looking to hire web developers in-house; likewise, if you are looking to build a long term relationship with a web development agency

Finally, it's important to be clear about what you want from your website and to share this with those you are engaging with. This will help them understand your needs and ensure that the final product meets your expectations.

How much should you pay a web developer?

How much should you pay a web developer?

One of the most important things to consider is how much you will pay for web design and web development services. This will vary depending on the skills and experience of the developer you hire, so make sure you have a budget in mind before you start looking.

In general, web developers should be paid a fair wage for the work they do. This will vary depending on the country you are hiring in, but a good rule of thumb is to pay them what you would expect to pay a full-time employee.

Additionally, it's important to consider the cost of living in the area where the web developer will be working. If they are living in an expensive city, they will likely need to be paid more to cover their costs of living.

Finally, you should also consider the cost of hiring a web developer on a project basis. This can often be more expensive than hiring someone full-time, but it can also be a more flexible arrangement.

What are the qualifications of a good web developer?

What are the qualifications of a good web developer?

Look for someone with experience in web development, as they will have the skill set required to build the website you need. The qualifications of a good web developer vary depending on the type of website you want to build.

If you are looking to build a simple website, you may be able to get away with hiring a developer who specializes in building simpler websites and they perhaps won’t have extensive knowledge of back-end development.

However, if you need someone with extensive programming knowledge for a bigger or more complex project, you will need to hire a developer with more experience or engage with a web development agency. At this point, it is often worth doing some research on the technology you want to use to build your website or web app. We have written a great guide on building a website with WordPress, a content management system which powers 43% of the internet (at the time of writing).

Beyond their technical skills, a good web developer should also be able to effectively communicate with clients and work well in a team. They should also be willing to help you make the most of your website, even after it has been completed by offering post project services such as support maintenance and web hosting.

Tips for working with a web developer

Tips for working with a web developer

It's important to be patient and flexible when working with a web developer. They are not miracle workers and it can take time to get a website up and running. It is not uncommon for sites to go through several rounds of revisions before they are fully complete.

To get the most out of your relationship with a web developer, be sure to provide them with regular feedback and always let them know if you are unhappy with their work. This will help them improve over time and will ensure that you continue to be satisfied with their services in the future.

Finally, remember that you are hiring a professional and should treat them as such. This means being respectful of their time and paying them fairly for the work they do.

The importance of communication and collaboration

The importance of communication and collaboration

The most important thing to remember when working with a web developer is great communication. As we’ve already mentioned, this means always being clear about what you want from them and being willing to provide feedback.

If you are looking for a long-term relationship with a web developer or web development agency, it's also important to be collaborative. This means working together to make sure the final product meets your needs and expectations.

While it can be tempting to try to control everything when working with web developers and web development agencies, it's important to remember that they often have extensive experience and they are the experts. This means trusting their judgment and being willing to let them take the lead on some aspects of the project.

How to manage the development process effectively

How to manage the development process effectively

Whether your project involved mobile application development or building a company website, It's important to manage the development process effectively. This means being clear about what you want and ensuring that the developer is on the same page. It's also important to be patient and flexible during the development process. As we've discussed previously, websites often go through several rounds of revisions before they are fully complete.

Managing a project when designing or developing websites often requires effective project management and time tracking in order to keep the project on track. Experienced developers will normally take the lead on this. However, if this is not considered it's important to ensure something is in place before starting a project. That said hiring a web development agency has the added benefit of managing the entire project from start to finish, including the project management. 

Mistakes to avoid when hiring a web developer

Let's take a look at some of the most common mistakes people make when hiring a web developer.

Hiring the wrong developer

Mistakes to avoid when hiring a web developer

There are a lot of reasons why hiring the wrong developer can be costly. For instance, they may have habits or methods that clash with other programmers in your organisation. They could also not code well in general which means you may need to constantly correct their work, or provide a poor user experience which can hurt your business.

When trying to figure out how to find the right developers, it is important that you consider what types of skill sets are needed for a specific project. Having someone who has similar skills as the required talent pool will help tremendously but still take into account their personal traits and preferences because there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to finding a great web developer.

Hiring a web developer without knowing what they do

Hiring a web developer

Hiring a web developer without knowing what they do means you won't have the right expectations. This is going to lead to bad results and a lot of frustration on both sides. You'll end up having your time wasted as this frustration will inevitably turn into the relationship breaking down and the project coming to a grinding halt before it gets off the ground, or even worse further into the project and before it's complete.

If you're hiring a web developer and don't know what they do then perhaps consider speaking to others who have experience in this area, such as other business owners. Additionally, the internet has a wealth of information that can help you better understand, in Layman's terms, what web developers do, and what to look for when hiring one. Web development is a very skilled profession, consider asking potential hires to complete a short task, or questionnaire in order to better understand their capabilities.

Not having a clear idea of the scope and timeline for the project

Not having a clear idea of the scope and timeline for the project

Organization and planning are key to success. As with any project, it's important to have a clear understanding of the scope and timeline before starting anything. This can be difficult if you don't know everything that needs to be done, so this is something worth considering when estimating how long a project will take.

Many web developers work on a day rate, so having a clear scope and project plan is essential to ensure you obtain accurate quotes and that there are no unexpected roadblocks during a project.

It is important to have a clear vision of the project in order for your team to fully understand the expectations and guidelines. It makes everyone feel comfortable knowing what is expected, thus avoiding any unnecessary delays or issues for the duration of the project.

Expecting someone to be able to work miracles

Expecting someone to be able to work miracles

Asking yourself what you need to make your project a success is the first step to being successful. Having a clear vision of what success means for you will help to guide your actions and keep your end goal from slipping out of sight.

Don't assume that all web developers can work miracles and are capable of any web development task. Web development technology is vast, and while some developers are proficient in many areas, others tend to focus on one particular discipline.

While it's not always easy to find a web developer who can provide the services you need or help with a particular problem, there is often more than one person who would be able to do what you're looking for. For example, if you want a web developer to build a WordPress website but don't have any recommendations for one in your area, try searching online or asking friends and family members first. You may also ask other people at work about their experiences with different web developers, and which ones they might recommend. When you find someone whose skills sound like they'd suit your needs, consider scheduling a consultation before bringing them on as an employee or contractor.

Hiring someone who is too cheap/expensive

It is one thing to have a great idea and it is another to build it. You need the right person/team. I don’t mean just any team, but teams that are really good at what they do, understand your business objectives and who believe in your vision.

You’ve seen the TV adverts where a spokesman in a slick suit and shiny shoes says, “But wait! There’s more! You get this extra bonus worth $199.99 absolutely FREE when you buy it today. But that’s not all! Because if you act now, we will also throw in these three additional bonuses worth over $1,000 at no extra charge." More often than not, if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

On the other hand, don't just assume that if someone is pricing above the industry average, they will do a better job than those priced lower. You need to consider the price in addition to other things, such as their work history, reviews from previous clients, and even their location. Working with someone locally can have its own benefits - but we'll leave that for another article.

Hiring the first person who offers to do it for a low price

Hiring the first person who offers to do it for a low price

If you're going to hire someone, look for a good fit. If they are not the right person for the job and end up costing your company money in other areas, that can be devastating. The Internet is littered with companies claiming to offer the cheapest prices. But at what cost?

Making a purchase decision is never easy, but it’s especially hard when you have so many options to choose from. In this digital age, we are more likely than ever to be presented with a dizzying number of services to choose from. Before you sign a contract, make sure that you consider all your options. When it comes down to price versus quality there will always be tradeoffs—you just need to decide what factors matter most in your situation.

Not understanding what you need / Not having a plan

Not understanding what you need / Not having a plan

Working with a web developer can be frustrating. The problem is that you're not sure what you need, and therefore, neither does the developer.

This is an all too common scenario.

We’ve all been there. You have a great idea for a website, and you need to get it online right away! It won’t take much time or money to build, will it? Unfortunately, this is the case with many businesses that are looking into web development. They don't understand what they truly need as far as functionality goes, nor do they have an actual plan in place on how the site should be built.

Designing a website for your business also often requires planning; both in terms of what you are trying to achieve as well as how you will achieve this goal within the constraints afforded by time or budget. Having a plan helps focus development resources on areas where they will have the greatest impact without wasting too much time or effort on features that aren’t needed.

Bottom line - have a plan before engaging with a web developer.

Ignoring the importance of communication

Ignoring the importance of communication

Communication is the foundation of any relationship. It shapes how people perceive one another and what they expect of each other, so it's no surprise that it plays a major role in every interaction.

Communication is not something that should be handled lightly. If your working relationships do not have clear and effective communication, the other party will find it difficult to trust you. Effective communication should become one of your top priorities once you start working with web external web developers.

But how do you achieve this?

Simple - from the first day working with a new web developer, define a communication strategy for the duration of the relationship. Be completely explicit, if you want to have a ten-minute stand-up every morning at 0930, then insist on it. If you want a call every Friday to discuss progress, then make sure it's set in stone.

Giving up too soon

Giving up too soon

You need to stay determined and never back down. You'll be successful if you work hard, keep moving forward, and don't let anything stop you.

You’re working on a project, and you have been for some time. You are pretty sure that it will bring you results: sales, new customers, clients… But after some weeks or months of work, the results aren’t appearing as fast as they should be. Maybe the results don’t exist at all! The temptation is too big to abandon the project and try something else instead. Don’t do it!

Here are 7 reasons why giving up too soon can negatively affect your business in more ways than one:

  1. You'll miss out on the chance to grow your business
  2. You won't have time to do everything you want because of a lack of focus
  3. Your competitors will take advantage and eat into your market share
  4. You'll be missing out on new opportunities that come up in the future
  5. The goal is not just about making money, but also about having fun! Why not enjoy what you're doing?
  6. It's okay if it doesn't work out right away- sometimes things need more time than others before they start working well for us
  7. If you give up too soon, then there's a good chance that someone else will pick up where you left off

Not setting a budget

Not setting a budget

It's very important to set a budget for your project. If you don't, how do you expect to make money? It sounds like this is an issue that many of us still need to address in our lives and businesses. How can we expect to earn a profit if we don't know what it will cost? Certainly not with the kind of uncertainty that would come from just winging it and hoping for the best! It could be said that setting a budget is one-way individuals and companies can take back control over their finances.

How do you know what budget is required you ask?

Do your research, speak to others who have completed similar projects and worst-case consider a budget range, i.e. $2000 - $5000.

Wrapping things up

Hiring the wrong web developer can be a costly mistake. The costs associated with poor communication and work quality are very high, so make sure you hire someone who fits your project and team well.

It's difficult to hire a web developer without knowing what they do. There are so many different skills and technologies that you need, that it can be hard to find the right one for your business. Do your research, and make sure the person/business you are hiring is an up-to-the job.

It's important to have a clear idea of the scope and timeline for your web development project. Managing stakeholder expectations, and delivering on time and on a budget is key to completing a successful project. Make sure you hire the right web developer for the job.

Expecting someone to be able to work miracles is asking a lot. Set out clear expectations when beginning a project, but don't expect miracles.

When it comes to cost, have a budget in mind before you get quotes. Make your budget known to ensure no time is wasted and if a quote seems too good to be true, it normally is. Don't forget, paying more than the odds, doesn't necessarily mean a better quality outcome.

Finally, take the time to put a brief together before engaging with any third parties, and understand what you want/need in order to fulfil your business objectives. Ensure your preferred communication method is clear from the start and if things aren't going to plan during a project, don't be hesitant to give up; consider your options carefully and do everything you can to get the project back on track.

If you've got this far, thank you for taking the time to read this article - I hope you've found it useful. If you think anyone else would benefit from this information please feel free to pass it on, or share it on your social media channels.

Bye for now, and good luck with your next project.

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