Your business’ web page is the online storefront for your business. It’s often the first impression people get of your business – in fact, it may often be the only contact customers have with your business.
Because of the high visibility of your site, and the importance that first impressions make, it is important to have a site that is well-designed in terms of aesthetics as well as functionality. Online sales are a huge part of retail revenue – just last year, online retail sales reached $177 billion. And because of the level playing field online selling can give small business to compete with larger competitors, having a top notch web site for your business is a must.
While many business owners can easily design attractive and reliable web pages on their own, less tech savvy owners may want to turn to a professional web developer to help build their Internet pages. Web developers are professionals who develop software specifically for Internet applications and webpages. They can provide you with the technical expertise neccessary to take the concepts you have for your website and bring them online.
A good web developer will be able to create an attractive, functional site for your small business. He or she will be able to use the resources you make available to him to make your site perform to the limits of those resources. The web developer you want will be able to take input from you and put it into action onscreen, and will also be able to advise you about ideas you may have that are impractical or unfeasible.
When advertising for a web developer, you’ll need to determine whether you’ll need a full time employee or someone who can work on a contractual or part-time basis. For many small business start-ups, all that is needed is for the web developer to do the initial work in getting the site up off the ground and instructing the owner how to do basic maintenance. However, it is recommended that you keep the web developer’s contact information handy in case technical support or advice is needed.
Web developers can be found online using Elance or Craigslist, or you may want to turn to some fellow business owners you know and trust to help you find a reliable web developer.
When hiring a web developer, you’ll want to ask specifically about their technical skills. Ask for a detailed resume, including their education and previous employers. Ask to see what web sites they’ve helped design and check the references they’ve provided to get an idea of the quality of work they’re able to produce.
When talking to potential hires, outline what you want done with your site, and ask the interviewee direct questions about how he or she would accomplish your goals. This gives you the opportunity to assess the developer’s technical skills, as well as the developer’s skills in communicating with his or her potential employer. Technical skills are important, but the ability to understand and adapt to an employer’s requests are also key skills that your web developer must have.
When hiring a web developer you’ll want an individual or team who can design the information architecture – that is, how information is organized – on your site. It’s also important to choose a developer with graphic design skills who can pick attractive graphics, colors and fonts for your site. Programming skills are, of course, a must as well and the developer or developers you hire should also have the neccessary skills to test and launch the new site.
Be upfront about the technology and resources you’re able to provide the web developer and ask about the web developer’s own equipment and resources. And before making a final agreement, be sure to outline exactly what you want from the web developer and also work with him or her to come up with a series of milestones and a completion date. The dates don’t have to be set in stone, but having regular progress markers is important to getting the job done in a timely manner.