By no means am I an expert on the topic of how to pick the right developer for your website or blog but I can tell you from my experience you truly can get what you pay for and pay for and pay for. Back in January I was in a rush to get a blog facelift and asked a fellow blogger for her template developer. I really liked her design. I was on Blogger at the time and in my rush to get things done I did not even consider the transfer to Word Press (MY MISTAKE). I really loved the site but then realized a few months later I should move my blog to Word Press, this is where the craziness started.
I think I asked around on a Facebook Forum and chose the cheapest option. Well that has kicked me in the rear. After the release of the new update came out and I was having a lot of trouble with my site crashing I contacted my developer. The response was they were not responsible for any issues this late in the game, 2 months maybe, and I would have to upgrade to a more compatible theme. No mention of this during our first email exchange. Why would anyone want a blog theme that was not compatible to updates. SO I ended up paying her again to have it transferred.
A month later some issues with crashing website. I did some research and tried some of the suggestions for White screen of Death on Word Press and did some of the suggestions. The final suggestion was some lines in the theme. Since I did not know how to do that and thought it would be a quick fix for the developer to take on. The developer did not think it was the issue and said they would charge me to just look into the issue. This is when I searched for another developer and found…
I am not going to state the name of my previous developer because I may have had a unique case but wanted to provide others with the useful info I found.
After the fact I did some research and found these tips would be useful from another web developer’s website.
Hire professionals (do your research)
Your friends and family have the best intentions, but do they know the tricks, trends, usability guidelines, browser compatibility fixes, or search engine friendly rules needed to develop an effective website (just to name a few)? And, even if they do, will they give you the time you need to keep your website updated whenever you have something to add/edit/delete?
Have a realistic timeline. (I was in a total rush)
Developing a professional and effective website that works today and for the long-term takes time. There’s planning, research, design, production, programming, and testing.Pushing for a website to be ready “yesterday” may limit its long-term effectiveness.
Have a realistic budget. (cheaper is not necessary better)
Know, at least in round numbers, what you have to spend on the site and on its marketing after it is launched. Remember that you get what you pay for… even with websites. If budget is an issue, discuss it with the WordPress blog developer. A website can be developed in stages.
Hire a team.
It doesn’t have to be a large team or even a team working under the same roof. But you do want more than one person working on your site. (For us bloggers with limited budget this may not be realistic)
Know how to review a portfolio.
A good portfolio goes beyond good looking samples. You want to make sure those samples show a variety of work. Do the websites actually look different… or do they look like templates with different logos, colors, and fonts?
Review testimonials. (Long term testimonials that are not in exchange for a free web page)
If you are able to read a few testimonials, you will obviously be reading good things about the web developer. Go deeper. Notice if the comments refer only to the end product or if people mention how great it was to go through the process.
Talk to them. (email does not always work and be wary of template emails every response)
Are they good communicators, or did they lose you with technical terms? Don’t assume that communications will get better after the project starts. You want to understand everything that you are getting without having to learn the technical terms.
What are they asking you?
Are they only asking you about colors, photos, and numbers of pages? They should be asking you about your business, your industry/market, your competition, your goals for the website, your internal resources, your long-term vision for the site, and more.
I wanted to give a shout out to my amazing WordPress Blog developer that saved my blog and my hair!! ( I was getting ready to pull it out)
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT my new Blog Developer: CRUNCHY DATA:
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area with my son. I have a B.S. in Information Systems Management, and when I started Crunchy Data in 2001, I was a database developer (a ‘data cruncher,’ which is why I named my business Crunchy Data.) I also used to resolve technical issues for a large telecom company, where I learned some great troubleshooting skills. But I prefer more creative work, so about five years ago I began to focus on developing WordPress websites for small businesses, and this is what I love doing.
Several of my clients had been scammed by fake SEO companies and fly-by-night developers, and their websites were in trouble. So I started “saving” websites for clients and turning them around. I also began to focus on website security, and all of my sites include at least two strong security features. I have a policy of answering my clients’ questions and telling them everything that I do on their sites (if they want to know.)
The focus of my business is building WordPress websites, troubleshooting WordPress websites, and maintaining them. A lot of people don’t understand at first that maintaining a website is like maintaining a real-world business. You have to make sure the mail is picked up, the locks work, there are no leaks in the roof, and that there are always shiny new products (content) if you want customers to come back and visit your site. WordPress sites are more search-engine friendly than the old HTML sites, but they also need more upkeep.
I’m always up for answering questions, if someone isn’t sure whether they need my help, or which direction to go in. And I love to hearing from other business people who want to collaborate. My favorite and best projects have been collaborative.