Vetting Your Website Developer [link]

Last week I wrote with a simple request for those starting on a website: Talk to a Developer!

WordPress sites are relatively easy to setup, but things break, features get more complicated, and sooner or later, a site owner needs help. The flip side of “things break,” is that certain things break less and a good developer can help you make good decisions before you run into problems.

So what if you found a developer but aren’t sure where to start? I recently found a resource from Minds on Design Lab  that I think offers some great pointers:

When preparing to build or overhaul a new website, we’re sure you have a list a questions prepared to help get to know your web development partner as well as the solution they will propose.

This guide showcases topics that you might not have considered in the past, but likely should.

The list itself is in a pretty weighty PDF, but it’s worth the download. While not quite comprehensive, it’s good start and should help you generate a full list of questions for a potential developer.

When you’re starting a project, don’t just take a developer’s word—or reputation—on its own. Ask questions and make sure you make informed decisions about your website. A good website project is based on trust and requires that you fully share your ideas and goals while listening to a developers expertise on the issues you hired them to address.

Read “Critical Topics To Discuss with Your Web Development Partner” from Minds on Design Lab.

After I had already written this post, Seth Giammanco, Principal at Minds On Design Lab, left a comment on my “Talk to a Developer” post that makes an important point about the process of planning websites: when you are looking for a partner to help you build your site, don’t make a decision based purely on technology. Here’s most of the comment:

You might decide you need a website and you should know the goals it is trying to achieve. But to decide on the platform before finding the right partner is a mistake.

Find and choose a great individual or team that gets you and will be committed to help you achieve your goals.

Then in the course of conversation with that partner let him/her/they share why they believe their technology of choice is a great platform to meet their needs. If it is you, you would share the greatness that you can deliver with WordPress. It if were me, I’d share the same about Craft or Statamic.

Tech should not come “last” after all strategic, design, and resource decisions are made … but is also should not be first.

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