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Hiring a Web Developer

K & K Design specializes in web development and graphic design for both print and Internet. We offer services with high standards of excellence and a focus on customer satisfaction.

K & K Design ensures your satisfaction by following a strategy based on your unique needs. Unlike larger graphic, print and web service houses, we take the time to listen to your ideas to achieve your goals. Whether your project is well focused or is in need of further definition, we can guide you to a successful outcome.

Combining artistic ability, technical know-how, marketing savvy, and old-fashioned experience results in a service where cost effective does not equal ineffective.

Things to Look for When Hiring a Web Developer

You approach the designer with only a vision of your web site and entrust the look, feel, and message to them. For better or for worse, your fate is in their hands. Hiring a web develop doesn't have to be a scary journey into the unknown.

I can tell you:

  • WHAT to look for in a developer
  • What to know BEFORE you look for a developer, and
  • WHERE to find a developer

Top 10 Things to Look for When Choosing a Web Developer

1) EXPERIENCE
An experienced designer will have more skills to create a sophisticated looking and functioning web site. They will have more tools and tricks and knowledge to help you accomplish your business goals.

Questions to ask

  1. Can you see their design portfolio?
  2. Do you like the designer's own website?
  3. How long have they been doing website design?
  4. How many websites have they developed?
  5. What areas of web development do they specialize in?
  6. Do they know how to hand code HTML or do they only use an HTML editor? Hand coding can allow for an extra level of precision that may be difficult to achieve with various HTML editors.
  7. Do they know Javascript?
  8. Can they do database work?
  9. Do they have a professional graphic design team or do they create the graphics themselves?
  10. Will they help you market your web site?

The whole process of interviewing the designer will not only give you the answers to those questions, but gives you insight as to who the designer is, their level of expertise, and how well you can work together.

2) TOP QUALITY CUSTOMER SERVICE
Equally important to experience is quality customer service. After all, what good is having a top designer if they are too busy to answer your emails and jump in during an emergency? Ask for a list of references, and CALL them! Don't be afraid to ask them if their web developer is responsive to their needs and assists them in a timely manner.

3) PROFESSIONAL, ORIGINAL WEBSITE GRAPHICS
The ability to create professional, original web graphics will quickly distinguish the out-of-work-wanna-be's from the pros. Anyone can put words on a page and create links. But, only a skilled designer will have a good sense of page layout, how to create a good color scheme, and be able to create tasteful graphics that will enhance the web site.

Take a look at other sites the designer has created. Do they demonstrate a considerable range of "styles" or do they use templates? Do the web sites feature original web graphics? If you want a one of a kind web site to brand your business, you must insist on original graphics for your web site. Can they create "extras" such as flash, animation, or mouseover effects?

4) MARKETING SAVVY
Having a crème-de-la-crème web site will do you no good unless you can build a steady stream of traffic to it. Here's some questions to ask your designer to determine what level of marketing assistance he will provide you:

  • Will they help you create meta tags for your web site?
  • Will they register you with the search engines?
  • What search engines do they submit to?
  • Do they mass submit, or will they hand submit your site to the important search engines?

5) CREATIVITY
One thing you'd better know up front is how involved your web developer will be in the creative process. Unless you are an experienced marketer, you probably will need at least a little help writing web copy and planning the layout of your web site. Will your web developer help you develop content?

Writing for the web is a little different than writing for a print marketing piece. By using someone with experience in writing web copy, you can ensure that the message as well as the look of your site is geared to sell. Also, be aware of over-creative know-it-all designers who won't listen to your input. It's your web site, and you should have creative input. The key is to finding a developer that will listen to your suggestions and work with you offering ideas and advice when planning your site.

6) PRICING
The cost of a professionally designed small business web site can run anywhere from $1000 to $15000. To ensure you don't overspend your budget, you need to get a written estimate. Depending on the complexity or your project, you may even have to pay to get an estimate. To get a complete picture of all costs involved, have them break out costs for domain name, hosting services, graphics, web development, and marketing fees separately.

Will you be required to put down a deposit? Some firms may ask for half of estimated fees up front as a deposit. What methods of payment do they accept? Will they accept credit cards or do you have to pay by cash or check?

Do they charge a flat rate or by the hour? Typical hourly web development fees can range from $30 to $200 per hour. But beware: cheaper is not always better! Whatever the hourly rate; make sure it is justified by the amount of experience and skill set they bring to the plate. While a designer who charges $30 an hour might seems like a deal at first, it might take them twice as long to accomplish a task.

What items will cost you "extra"? If there are items that will NOT be included in the estimate which will be additional, make sure to get the ala carte pricing. And finally, find out what the costs for web site maintenance will be when the site is complete. If you will be updating your site frequently, this ongoing cost is an important one to keep in mind.

7) COMMUNICATION SKILLS
How easy is your designer to talk to? Do you trust them? Can you understand what they are explaining to you or do they use techno-babble. Do they take time to listen to your needs? If you are going to have a good long term working relationship, it's crucial that you feel comfortable with one another and can communicate clearly.

8) TIME FRAME TO COMPLETION
Ask how long the web development process will take. And then you may want to ask their references how close they came to completing the project on target. A simple web site could be developed in one or two weeks, while a larger more intense site could take several weeks or months. Knowing what to expect can help you manage your expectations.

9) FULL RANGE OF SERVICES
Does the developer offer a full range of web site services? Will your web developer help you: acquire a domain name, set up a web hosting account, market your web site, and/or provide database programming?

Working with a developer who can handle all these details will save you time, money, and frustration. You can rely on their expertise to handle some of the more technical questions that may arise. If they don't provide these services, then ask if they have companies that they recommend. Be sure to get prices from those vendors too so that the total web sites costs don't sneak up on you.

10) AVAILABILITY
Are they a full time web developer or is web design a moonlighting job for them? A full time developer will probably be able to complete your site in a shorter time frame than someone who is squeezing you into his or her spare time. What are their hours? Are they open to you calling with questions? Can they start your project right away? If you need maintenance down the road, how soon can you expect changes after you submit them?

Do Your Homework Before You Go To a Web Developer

If you want an accurate assessment of what your web site will cost, you must have a clear idea about what you need. Take some time to answer these questions before you talk to a developer.

1) How will my web site function?

  • As an online brochure to inform the consumer about your company or services
  • As an online store where actual product is sold?
  • As an online community

2) What will your web site look and feel like?
What will be the corporate culture of my site? Will it be light and fun, or hi-tech looking, or business-like and professional?

3) How many pages and what specific pages do you need?
Here are some typical pages to think about for starters:

  • Home
  • About
  • Products/Services
  • Order
  • Contact
  • Resources
  • Free Newsletter

4) What is my budget?
Be reasonable, if you only have $500 you won't get too much out of your web site. There are affordable designers who can design a small business web site ranging from $700 to $2500 in price.

5) What is your deadline for project completion?
Are you pressed for time or do you have several weeks to play with? If you need your site in a hurry, you may be able to get it sooner by paying a "rush" fee.

6) Will you require any specialized programming such as a shopping cart, a database or a contact form?
If you need these items, make sure your web developer has the skill set to meet these requirements.

7) What level of assistance do you need in development?
By knowing in advance how much and what kind of help your project requires, you can confirm that the developer your are considering can (and will) provide the level of service you need.

  • Do you need full site design & concepting?
  • Do you have the concept and just need it created into HTML pages?
  • Do you just need some new graphics and a web site makeover?
  • Do you have an existing logo or will they need to create a new one?

8) Find samples of web sites you like!
Create a listing of URLs for sites that you like and note what you like and why it appeals to you. By showing this to the designer, it gives them a better idea about what you are looking for. This can better assist them in providing a quote and in concepting a graphic design to match your vision.

 

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