As a business owner, a website has the potential to expand your customer reach, develop your business, build your brand identity, and increase your bottom line. In the digital age, any serious business has a website in place.
There are many ways you can do this. One is you can create one yourself using website builder tools. WordPress, Wix, Foursquare, Joomla, and Drupal are just a few tools that can let you build websites on your own. Another is by hiring a web developer who will take care of the work for you.
There are numerous advantages and disadvantages to each option. Using a website builder would save you money but hiring a web developer saves you a lot of time and effort. You may save money by learning all about web development so you can develop a website yourself but you may not have the time and effort. Even if you believe you are capable of it and do the work, you may not end up being an expert on web development and you’d encounter a lot of problems along the way.
To save yourself the stress, it’s easier to simply hire a web developer. They can fill in the gaps in your knowledge and create a professional website.
If you choose to get a web developer, you need to know the basics and tips on ensuring how to make your hiring process and project run smoothly. Continue reading our guide on just what it takes to hire a web developer.
Guide to Hiring a Web Developer
Establish the Details of the Project
The first step you need to do is establish your goals and objectives for the web development project. Without this, it’ll be harder to know what to look for. Even if you find someone to develop for you, you wouldn’t know what to instruct them.
There are two major tasks in creating a website. These are the web design (i.e. graphics and visuals) and web development (i.e. functionality or coding). Web design can be about creating a logo, header image, page layout, or design effects. The web development part is the behind the scenes functions of the site, including adding a shopping cart, custom image slider, or a management panel.
Depending on what part you need more, you may hire more people or specializations. When building a website from scratch, you need more people to do both.
Make sure that you are clear, concise, and detailed in defining the project. If you do this, you’ll be able to:
Save time from the word go
When you’re already clear on your expectations and goals, the web developer wouldn’t have to spend so much time in the discovery and consultation process. When they have all they need without squeezing them out of you, they can get right into the project and complete it faster.
Appeal to the right candidates
When you post the project, you won’t attract the wrong people who are qualified for the job. Keeping it vague and general will let inexperienced candidates apply as they would seem capable of the job. With clear project details, candidates will know what you’re specifically looking for so they’ll only apply if they have the right skills and credentials.
Get better quotations
The complete project details and extent of the work will give potential developers the right idea of how much time and money the project needs to cost. Sudden changes in cost would also be unlikely.
Plan the project right
When you become specific in creating the project details, your ideas and concepts will be clearer to your team and the web developer you’re hiring. A better vision during planning is vital in completing the project effectively and successfully.
What kind of developer do I need
Once you’re clear with the kind of website you want to create or the redesign of your existing site, you need to start looking for a web developer to hire. The job of a “web developer” encompasses a lot of skills and duties that may surprise you.
Difference between a Web Developer and Web Designer
Both of these titles are in charge of the creation of a website. As such, their jobs may overlap in some aspects. But to put it simply, the designer is in charge of the graphics, visual facets, or look of the website. Meanwhile, the developer writes the code or programs the functionality of the site.
The designer creates assets such as images and icons using graphic design programs, including Adobe Photoshop. Pure graphic designers do not develop or launch the site. They just devise a representation of what the site will eventually look like. There’s someone else who is typically in charge of developing and launching the site.
The developer writes the code to enter and change files and functions on your site. They can make sites from scratch without the need for website builders like WordPress or Wix. They can also utilize development-related tools such as code editors.
Difference between a Front-end and Back-end Developer
Web development is divided into subgroups. The biggest ones are front- and back-end development.
The front-end is what visitors see in their browsers while the back-end refers to how the website manages and communicates with the server and database.
Front-end developers are similar to web designers if they’re not already the same. They use the same terms and both take care of the visual aspect of your website. They share a lot of responsibilities but the front-end developer does not necessarily have to be the one who designed or conceptualized the visuals of the website despite being in charge of it.
Back-end developers prioritize the functionality of the website. Aside from that, they handle the performance of the site to ensure that it remains fast along with other technical issues. They are proficient with various programming languages such as PHP, Python, Ruby on Rails, and Java.
What is a Full-stack Developer
Front- and back-end developers are specialists in web development. They are experts in their domain but rarely dabble in the other’s discipline. Now, full-stack developers can work on all aspects of the website. Typically, a website may need two or three people, namely a graphic designer, front-end developer, and back-end developer. A full-stack one can do everything. They’re a jack of all trades who can build websites from the ground up starting from design, functionality, coding, and implementation.
Full-stack developers are more expensive but they may require less coordination as there are fewer people involved. It can speed up the process since there will be less back and forth. However, a downside to this may be that they’re not as deeply knowledgeable in one part as the other. Maybe they’re better as developers and not as designers or vice versa. You still have to look for one that can competently and expertly do both.
Should I get Freelance, Full-time, or Retainer
It totally depends on your needs and your project details. Do you need to hire a part-time and freelance developer or a full-time developer?
If you only need a one-off and small job, a freelancer is suitable for your needs. You can simply agree on the deadline, price, and delivery and they’ll develop the website. After they complete the job, you manage the site by yourself. If you have any changes or additional features, you can simply hire them again. This is appropriate for company websites or brochure sites that would not change or need a lot of maintenance. It’s ideal for those who plan to manage the website themselves.
While this is cheaper, it does have its drawbacks. For one, if you only have minimal technical skills, some issues may be too much for you. It could also be slow and long to hire a new freelancer when you want to add or change a feature. For these cases, you should consider hiring a full-time web developer.
This would be better if you’re building a complex e-commerce site with large databases or a complex news site with lots of content being published. These large and complicated websites need a lot of hands-on work for the various changes that can happen frequently.
However, you can also have a retainer for web development or a project-based developer. They’ll also work full-time but wouldn’t be a full employee of your company.
Places to Hire Web Developers
The internet and the connectivity it brought to the world has made it easier to look for and hire web developers. Gone are the days you have to post and browse at local classifieds to hire people. Nowadays, there are user-friendly websites where you can find professionals across the globe that can work for you.
It’s a popular site to hire all kinds of freelancers and not just web developers. You will find a lot of potential candidates here but it may require a lot of research in finding the right one fit for your needs. There are various tools in the site itself, such as time-tracking and automatic payments once goals are achieved.
Another popular choice for freelance web developers and remote workers. This site has the usual features as well including real-time chat and a milestone payment system.
The freelance web developers here can be cheap as they may typically start with $5, hence the name. Just take note that you get what you pay for. There are more expensive telecommuting workers, however. Again, you also need to do a lot of research if you want a quality web developer.
It’s an outsourcing service for professionals specializing in WordPress. Like with other sites, you just outline what you need and you can match with the right developers.
Web Development Studio
If hiring lone or small freelancers doesn’t appeal to you, you can search for web development studios. You also hire them either in projects or retainers but you’ll be hiring a full team of experts instead of an individual. It’s usually more expensive than freelancers but it can be worth it based on your requirements.
For one a full team would have better checks and balances between them to ensure that the quality and standards are met. With large and complex projects, a team can work longer and provide better outputs. This is only recommended for big projects though. Small development projects for them would be overkill.
Job Posting Boards
If you’re looking to hire a full employee, there are job posting boards on the internet for this. LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster are popular resources you can use. Various website building tools can also have marketplaces where there are freelancers, such as Squarespace, Wix, Shopify, and WordPress.
How Much Budget is Appropriate
Deciding on how much a website’s pricing and cost would be is a difficult task you’ll have to get through. Estimating the right price depends on many factors. These could range from the skills and experience of the developer, the size and complexity of the project, the work location of the developer, and even the job portal you found them in.
Pay by the Hour or Fixed Fee
The first you have to decide on is if you want to pay a fixed price or hourly. Depending on the project, it may have its pros and cons. The two simple factors here are the size of the project and the experience of the web developer. With a small project and an experienced developer, you can choose to pay hourly. With a small project but an inexperienced developer, pay a fixed price. With a large project, pay a fixed price either way.
This is because experienced developers are already experts in their field. Small projects are nothing to them. They can finish them quickly and commit fewer mistakes. There will be less back and forth between you and them which saves time. For this, hourly pay may be less expensive.
With inexperienced workers, there can be more revisions and corrections which leads to more work hours. The process may be slow which will eat up a lot of your time and money. This is why a fixed price may be better in the long run.
With large projects, you can’t help but encounter errors, issues, revisions, and design changes throughout it. Paying hourly could quickly rack up a lot of costs on your end. That’s why it’s better to ask for a quotation or an estimate for the entire project and agree on a fixed price.
As said earlier, you have to be clear in communicating the project details. A complete and thorough project proposal and scope would fetch you a better pricing estimate and reduce the chances of additional work.
Short Estimate on Possible Costs
To better visualize how much it may be, you should get a rough estimate of the actual prices. As mentioned before, there are a lot of different factors that affect the price so the ranges may be wide. It’s just a reference to how much your web development project may cost.
- Small Company/Brochure Site: $1000–$10,000
- E-commerce Site: $10,000–$50,000
- Enterprise-Level Site: $50,000–$100,000
- Resolving Bad Plugins or Code: $40–$600
- Custom Plugins and Functions: $100–$1,000
- Web Designer: $25–$120
- Front-end Developer: $15–$150
- Back-end Developer: $75–$150
- Full-stack Developer: $75–$150
Take note that if you really have no idea how much your web development project may cost, you can always consult with an experienced web developer. You simply need to communicate the details of the project to them and they can give you an estimate of it.
Should You Post a Budget Or Ask for a Quote
Each has different advantages and disadvantages. However, the basic guideline is a more flexible budget can ask for a quote but a stringent one should post the budget in the proposal. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, add it to the proposal so it’s clear for the candidates if it’s worth it to them or not. This may scare people off but it’s better than leading them on or outright lying.
If you have a flexible budget, you can ask for quotes. This way, you also won’t discount possibly perfect candidates right off the gate if you underestimate your budget requirements.
Creating a Job Offer
Right now, it’s time to post the job offer. As previously stated, you need to communicate the complete and correct details of the project. This allows the prospective web developer to get the right idea on how much the project should cost, what work is needed, and what skills are required.
What You Should Include
Start by introducing yourself or the company you represent. What does your company do? What is your brand? Tell them about the overall goals of the company and your target market. This is important as it’ll give the developers an idea of the project scope and what you’re all about.
Second, give them a bird’s eye view of the project. Be clear on what website designs, site functions, features, and changes you’re after.
Include what result you’re after. Is it just a PSD or Photoshop file, a WordPress theme, a custom plug-in, or a complete website? Let them know what format and what exact output do you want to have in the end.
This is helpful as it will let the developer know the existing style or identity you have. It could be brand guidelines, color palettes, existing assets, website copy, logos, wireframes, or the current website. Give whatever you have in stock as it’ll help them provide a better output for you.
Picture of an Ideal Candidate
Give them a snapshot of the kind of candidate you want. Clearly describe the skills and experience they should have and other special characteristics you’re looking for.
When do you want the project to be completed? You can plan for delays or problems so it’s better to post a tighter deadline than needed. Through that, you have some contingency if you encounter some problems.
These may not be needed but this extra information can make your project details more effective.
You can devise visuals to show them a rough mockup of what you want your website to look like. It could be as simple as a sketch on paper or a layout done using Adobe Photoshop.
If you have sites or assets that are similar to what you want, you can also add them. This gives your developer something to start with. You could also go to the opposite and include designs that you don’t want.
When you post a job, many people may just send a templated application to it even if they aren’t qualified or they haven’t read the project details. You can quickly eliminate these people out by instructing them to use a certain subject line, answering a question, or including something in the message body. You’ll know who’s actually read your project and is serious about it.
How to Assess the Skills and Experience of a Web Developer
Once your project is posted or sent to potential candidates, you will hopefully see applications and responses. But how do you know which to choose?
1. Technical skills
The first factor you have to check is if they have the technical skills and requirements to effectively complete your project. If they need to create a website from scratch, make sure that they are equipped with the knowledge required to do such a thing. Review their credentials or ask them about their skills to do this.
2. Response Time/Communication
Promptly reaching your hired employee is important. If you encounter an issue or want a change in the project, you don’t want to wait days before hearing back from them. You can test their response time by writing or messaging them a few times and see how long they respond back.
Also, analyze how they communicate with you overall. Do they speak clearly and concisely? Do they respond adequately to all your questions? Are they generally pleasant to work with? Their communication skills are important to complete the project smoothly.
3. Previous projects
If they have a portfolio, study it carefully. If not, you should ask for it. You’ll learn about their experience, skills, strengths, weaknesses, and style. They can show you their own website, or simply screenshots or code snippets of their past work.
4. Customer Rating and Testimonials
Many of the freelance websites have spaces for customer feedback. Design studios may also ask you for this. When reading through these, don’t just consider the overall rating but carefully read the comments. You can get an understanding of their work ethic, turnaround time, probable issues, and other features.
Web developers with enough experience make fewer mistakes and better outputs in general. They may cost more but they also work faster. New or less experienced developers may be cheaper but you may encounter more problems later on. It’s your call on what works best for your project and company.
6. Paid tests
If you have the time and resources for it, you can have your candidates perform a paid test. This is very useful for large projects. Give them a small task they can work on and evaluate their performance. Take time to assess how they work and communicate with you throughout it. You will get a sense of how they will be throughout the entire project
Completing the Project
After choosing a web developer to work with, you can start working on the project properly. Starting from the beginning, here are the steps you need to take:1.
1. Arrange and conduct a meeting
Message the developer if you can have a meeting. It depends on you if you want it to be by video call, phone call, or in person. If you have a complex project, emails or short messages are not advisable. During the meeting, go through and outline the project from beginning to end, field questions or potential problems, and ask for their input.
2. Establish milestones
With larger projects, you need to create milestones throughout the project. You’ll be able to see how the project is going throughout the process. Is it going well on schedule? Are there any problems throughout the development? You get to review the current progress instead of just receiving the finished product at the deadline.
3. Decide on a mode of payment
This is important in the exchange of service. Prepare a mode and schedule of payment that you can both agree on.
4. Pay the deposit
A deposit ensures that both parties are committed to the completion of the project. In the acceptance of the deposit, the web developer usually starts their work.
5. Follow up on the developer
Throughout the project, check on its progress by assessing it after every milestone. When you’re satisfied with the output and progress, you can also release the payment at this time.
6. Perform a final review
Once all milestones are done and the project is completed, you can do a final audit. Review if the web developer has done well throughout the project or if there are any problems encountered. Once you are satisfied, you can pay the remaining fee.
It’s a good idea at this step that there is a warranty or maintenance period where the web developer would agree on a time to fix issues that may occur on the website.
Hire a Web Developer Now
Website builders can enable anyone to develop a website nowadays. However, there are still a number of reasons why hiring a professional web developer will be better for you in the long run. For one, a real developer is capable of more than the builder can give you and finish the job faster. Outsourcing this task will enable you to focus on more important parts of your company or business.
Hiring a web developer can be difficult at first but it can get easier after you get more experience with it. If you build a good working relationship with previous hires, you can continue working with them. That way, the process can be faster and smoother.
Are you looking for a web developer to hire? Qadra Studio can give everything you need in website design and development and more. Contact us now and understand why we’re a top web design and development studio in the Philippines.