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Articles >> 7 Considerations Before Hiring a Web Developer

A website is an important investment. It is the online storefront of your business and is often the only "image" that your customers relate to for your company. It has the potential to increase your sales, bring in new business, and "work" well for you if it is designed right from the beginning.

The problem is that websites are like cars. We need them in modern society but most of us rely on specialized professionals to build, maintain, and repair them. And because of our general unfamiliarity with how they work, we rely on these specialized people for their utmost care, honesty, and talent.

Although this article does not serve as a manual on web development, it will provide you with some background information on websites, so that when you do meet with a developer, you will have a deeper understanding of terminology and what to expect before you hire someone to build your website. It will also prepare you with some questions to ask your potential web developer and what types of answers to expect.

1. Search Engine Friendly Structure

The way a website is built from the get go is important. Be sure that your web developer builds search engine friendly websites! If they do not, search engines will not index your site as well as they can. Being search engine friendly includes many things, from the coding (using modern CSS or not using HTML Frames, for example), the use of relevant words (keywords) in particular places throughout the website (for example, your website should always have relevant page titles), and the proper and thoughtful use of such things as Flash, photos, and javascript (things that search engines don't care for or cannot understand).

2. Using Bells and Whistles

There are a lot of "Bells and Whistles" out there, such as Flash Animation. There are also a lot of web developers out there that love to use them because they are fun. Be careful. While adding some extras can be impressive, if you add too much it can be distracting. One example is using too much Flash animation. Not only can it distract visitors who are trying to find the content they are looking for on your website, but, search engines do not like Flash either. Another example is adding sound to your website that plays automatically when the site is opened. While it can create a nice atmosphere, visitors may be startled by the music and if they cannot locate a way to shut it off quickly and easily, they may leave your website.

Just think about the overall goal of your website. If Flash animation will enhance what you are showcasing on your website, it can be a great addition. Likewise, if you are selling music or have a site that would benefit from the music adding to the overall atmosphere of your site, by all means, consider using them. Just be aware of the pros and cons beforehand and keep them in mind when planning your site.

3. Navigation and Usability

Websites should be simple and to the point when it comes to usability. If a website is unorganized and it takes the user too long to find what they are looking for, you will lose potential customers. Be sure that your web developer creates websites that are easy to navigate.

4. Testing in Multiple Browsers

Web developers should test their websites in multiple browsers. Programming code does not display the same in every browser and it is up to the web developer to make sure that your new website is displaying properly across browsers. You can ask your web developer which browsers they test their website in to make sure they are doing this.

5. Modern Programming

Is your web developer in the stone age or are they using modern programming in their websites? If they are using all HTML tables or frames and have never heard of CSS, for example, this is not a good sign. You can ask them if they use the latest technology and programming.

6. Addressing Website Goals

What is the goal of your website? What will the web developer do to address this goal? How will the website be laid out so that the user takes the steps you want them to?

Also, does the web developer offer plans such as search engine optimization that can be incorporated into your marketing plan now or in the future?

7. Experience

What other websites has the web developer completed? He / she should be able to show you a portfolio of previous websites and explain to you why each website was created the way it was for each individual client and how they served each clients' needs.

How do the websites look? How do the designs compare to other websites that you have seen?

The web developer should also be able to offer testimonials from previous customers so you can get an idea of previous customer experiences.


These are just a few things to consider before hiring a web developer. If you are planning a website and have any questions, contact us for a FREE 15-minute marketing consultation and we'll answer your questions for you. Mahalo.

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