How to Choose A Website Developer
If you are trying to figure out who to choose for a website developer, it can be a little confusing sorting through all the ads and claims. How do you really know who is the best fit for you? Here are 5 simple and effective criteria to help sort them out. The most important are first.
If your web developer has high value in all these criteria, you will end up with a great website and a prosperous business.
We also hope you agree that Epiphany Websites does extremely well in these criteria, so we can provide you with a top tier website. Please contact us so we can prove it to you.
How to Choose a Website Developer In A Nutshell
They know how to make search engines love your site, because your website first has to be found by your potential audience.
They know how to make your website a marketing engine. Your website is there to achieve goals, whether they are to generate sales, leads, subscribers, clients or patients.
They know how to give your website the optimal look and feel for your brand personality. This requires more than the use of plugins, templates, and drag-and-drop builders.
They know how to program deep into the code so that your website has the functionality to give your unique customers the ideal service interaction.
They are easy to work with
1. They know how to make search engines love your site
This is the number one criteria in how to choose a website developer is good knowledge of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). While looks are important, looks won’t mean a thing if nobody knows your website exists. People need to find your website, mostly through search engines’ free results. There is a saying “the best place to hide anything is on the 2nd page of search engine results.”
When you interview a web developer, ask him or her what are the top 2 criteria for ranking high in search, and they should be able to tell you without hesitation:
Rich content, tagged properly with strategic placement of well chosen key words.
High quality back links (links from other websites to yours).
There is some debate (even among Google employees) what is the 3rd most important, but answers are predominately page speed, or “Rank Brain” which is an AI that learns how important your page is based on how people click, stay, read, and want more of the same from your site.
There are literally 100’s of other factors that can also effect ranking, and your developer should be well versed in most of them, without loosing site of the most important factors.
2. They know how to make your website a marketing engine
Your web developer should be aiming at high conversion rates. Conversion rate is the number of people who actually click to buy or whatever your website is calling for, out of the total website visitors. Your web developer should plan time to understand exactly what your goals are, the profile of your ideal clients, and how to match them.
Hopefully when you’re interviewing a developer, he or she will be asking insightful and penetrating questions about your marketing goals, customers, competitors, and how the website fits within your overall marketing plan. This will help your website become the powerful marketing engine you need it to be.
3. They know how to give your website the optimal look and feel for your brand personality.
Anyone with a few weeks of training can construct a basic website from a theme template using a drag-and-drop builder. It takes more specialized skills to efficiently create an outstanding website. Just as people can tell the difference between Motel 6 and Marriott, they can also tell the difference between a drag-and-drop website and one that’s professionally designed.
For example, look at these two call-to-action buttons. It should be obvious which one might attract more clicks. Unfortunately the Motel 6 type button is by far the most common across the web.
If your budget can currently only afford a Motel 6 type website at the time, most professionals can scale down their work to accommodate your budget, and you can later use the same agency to upgrade to a better site down the road as your marketing budget grows.
Having skills and knowledge is not enough. They have to be applied. If a web developer offers an incredible sounding website deal to you, make sure to ask how much time they will be spending customizing the theme to your specific brand / niche, and just how much that customization will improve the appearance and functionality of the website. For example, at Epiphany Websites, we include 10 hours of custom design work in our silver package. Since our website experts are very skilled in website programming, we can make a good estimate about just how far that will carry the look and feel of your site.
4. They know how to program deep into the code
This is an optional feature set for websites, but potentially extremely profitable for business owners. Take an example of an online seller of custom made skateboards. An average website might simply present an online store with lots of base models and small variations customers can make with their order. A website with custom programming could enable visitors to do a “virtual build” of their dream board from scratch, specifying each important element, with some artificial intelligence built in to construct an image of the resulting skateboard. Which website do you suppose will sell more to the highest spending skateboard enthusiasts?
Once again, even if your marketing budget won’t allow for such an investment right now, it would be good to start with a developer who can do that for you at a later date.
When you’re interviewing a potential web developer, ask them how comfortable they are with PHP, Python Django, or Ruby programming. Have they written any of their own plugins? What is their programming background?
5. They are easy to work with
A good agency will:
Be able to work with your budget, big or small, and know the best ways to apply the development time for maximum benefit.
Get back to you promptly and courteously
Make it clear what you can expect from them.
Final thoughts on how to choose a website developer
While there are many other criteria with which to evaluate a web design company, we at Epiphany Websites consider these to be the most important. If choose a website developer that ranks well in these factors, it’s hard to go wrong. We hope that this will help you find the best agency for your business!
In your website project, feel free to contact us at Epiphany Websites for any questions you have, and we would be happy to help you along.