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12 Important Questions To Ask Your Website Developer Before Hiring Them

Article Overview

In this digital world we live in, hiring a web developer is a critical decision for any small business owner and who you choose as your web developer will greatly impact the success (or failure) of your online presence and digital strategy.

The right web developer can not only help build a high-quality website that accurately represents your brand and meets your business needs but will understand the customer flow as they move from learning about your company down to becoming a customer.

Asking the right questions during an interview will give you insight into your potential web developer’s knowledge, experience, and design philosophy — all of which are invaluable in making sure that you have chosen the best one for your project.

In today’s article, we explore both the importance of this decision and, more importantly, what questions to ask your website developer BEFORE you hire them.

Strap in because this is a good one.

Why should you interview your web developer?

While interviewing developers is common practice in larger companies, it’s less common in small and medium-sized businesses due to resource constraints and a lack of domain knowledge.

But, in our opinion, it is one of the most important things you can do before setting out on a web development project.

Since your web developer will have a significant impact on not only the look, feel, and functionality of a web project, but on how effective the project achieves your goals, the right or wrong developer can make or break your marketing campaigns.. Knowing that, it is essential to ask the right questions to understand their fit and keep searching until you find one that fits.

Summing it up…

The upside is huge.

The upside of having the right web developer on your project is huge and has to be one of the best feelings there is.

Not only will the right web dev be able to do the heavy lifting for the project, but they will also be thinking about your project from a technical AND goal perspective.

In the end, this means that the product you get will be more effective and more aligned with your business.

 

The downside costs you a lot.

If there’s anything we’ve learned, it’s that the wrong person doesn’t just cost you the time and money invested in the project, it costs you the lost business from having an ineffective website, potential a brand reputation hit, and the cost of fixing.

Add up project delays, poor quality work, and misaligned project goals, and a little time up front interviewing developers seems worth it, doesn’t it?

What are you trying to understand when you're asking your web developer question?

A lot of the time, people run through the interview process as a formality, but we encourage you to actually understand it’s purpose.

We’ve laid out the three things we are looking for any time we go through the process.

They are:

1. Do they have the technical expertise and competence to complete your project effectively?

This should come as no surprise, but having the technical expertise and competence is crucial for a web developer to effectively complete a project.

Their skill level directly affects the quality and reliability of the end product and ensures it aligns with your bigger goals. A web developer who lacks technical skills and knowledge may not be able to understand the full requirements of the project or how best to create it given the available tools in the market.

It is not your job to figure that out. It is theirs. Ensuring that you are hiring someone with these capabilities is crucial to the success of the project and the interview process is your opportunity to do that.

2. Does their skill set and style fit with our company, the project goals, and our working style?

The interview also helps you get a sense of the web developer’s working style and their approach to projects, and work in general. If you are hiring the web developer for a one off, well-outlined project, this might not be as important, but usually this isn’t the case and you will have to integrate the web developer into your team, at some level.

What are you trying to figure out is:

  • Do they work well under pressure?
  • Do they think for themselves?
  • Are they detail-oriented?
  • Do they need explanations, or can they understand the bigger picture we are trying to accomplish?
  • Do they think from the perspective of our company or are they just trying to get the job done?

The more of these that are positive and aligned, the better your experience throughout the project will be, and the better your final deliverable will be.

3. Do they have the correct communication skills to make this project successful?

Effective communication is crucial in any project, especially when it comes to web development. This is because of the specific domain knowledge of development and the importance of aligning what’s possible digitally with what the business actually needs.

During the web developer interview, pay attention to your candidate’s communication style and ability to articulate their ideas and thought processes. Also, specifically look to see if they have the ability to hear what your goals are, refine your ideas, and relay that back to you in their approach to building your website.

You want someone who can think for themselves, communicate that effectively to you, and can clearly understand your bigger picture. This will ensure alignment throughout the project.

Now, without further adieu…

What are the 12 questions to ask your website developer before hiring them?

Question 1

Can you explain how the website you plan on building will achieve our company’s desired goals?

This question is one of the most important questions we recommend you ask because, at the end of the day, we are looking for someone who can achieve our stated objectives and contribute to our bigger company objectives.

Without that, what’s the point of doing the project?

Ensuring that your web developer can think not only of the technical aspects of the project but also in terms of how it will align with the bigger business goals makes sure that the outcome amplifies your business and drives long-term success.

When interviewing your web developer, ask them to explain how the website they plan to build will achieve your company’s desired goals. This can be both the specific project goal, as well as help contribute to broader goals less directly. Look for well-thought-out and clear answers.

From that, you can gain insight into whether their approach aligns with your business objectives.

If they do a good job of walking you through that from a customer perspective and a business operations perspective, it shows that they understand the technical aspects of the project, are thinking strategically about it from a business perspective, and are good at communicating it.

Question 2

How do you approach designing the user experience and customer journeys on a website?

This is a critical question because it provides insight into their design philosophy and process from a customer’s perspective, which, after all, is the whole point.

A solid web developer should have a deep understanding of how to create an intuitive and seamless experience for customers that is both engaging and drives business outcomes.

A web developer that can explain this well highlights that:

They think in a customer-focused perspective.

If your building your site for customers, then its design and functionality should be focused on the users. This seems obvious on the surface, but in the development world that’s not always the case.

A well-crafted customer experience is one that ensures the customer can browse your site and find what they need easily. Remember, they don’t know what’s on your website and it’s not their job to spend lots of time finding out. If they don’t find it right away, they are likely to bounce.

A good web developer will think about this from the customer’s perspective and design the website to meet their needs and goals.

They are focused on the customer’s journey.

Websites aren’t static billboards and they don’t display information like a book.

They are an experience that takes the customer from wherever they land on your site to where they are looking to go. Focusing on this and understanding the different customer journeys is key to creating a positive and effective customer experience.

A web developer who is familiar with this concept and thinks in this style will be better equipped to design a website that guides users through a logical, efficient, and enjoyable experience, – ultimately towards your desired outcomes.

They have problem-solving skills.

A web developer who can clearly article their understanding of the user experience and what the customer journey will look like usually has strong problem-solving skills.

This means they can think through each of the steps methodically and map out the journey correctly, both technically and from a customer perspective.

This helps ensure they are able to identify potential roadblocks in the customer experience and design a solution to overcome those obstacles before the website is live – not after.

They are focused on attention to detail.

Creating a thorough and effective user experience requires attention to detail, and a developer who can create one on the spot has it.

As a general rule, this means they aren’t just putting pixels together, but thinking about the desires and needs of your customers during each step of their journey.

If they can do this, it increases the likelihood that the final product will be well thought out and polished, both technically and from a customer perspective.

Both are necessary for long-term success.

Question 3

How do you ensure that a website is easy to navigate and understand for the target audience?

Asking your web developer about their approach to ensuring that a website is easy to navigate and understand for the target audience is a valuable question because it shows that they can take something complex and boil it down to the simplest, most important things.

Websites are generally complex, and it is in presenting that complexity simply that we create a solid customer experience.

If your potential web developer is able to answer this question concretely, it shows they understand some important key concepts, such as:

User Experience

As we’ve said a few times already, user experience is king. Understanding how to take the complexity of a website and make it feel simple ensures that the end result is not overwhelming or confusing to someone landing on it for the first or even fifth time.

Accessibility

Accessibility is becoming a big thing in the world of web develop and a website that is easy to navigate and understand is more accessible to all sorts of users.

This includes simple things like font sizing, color contrast ratios, alternative text behind images, and more. Again, this is their job, not yours!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Google and Bing are smart, but even they don’t want to do unnecessary work. A simple and clear structure to a site enables the robots that crawl and understand your website to do it efficiently and effectively. Your developer should understand this and be familiar with tools like Google Search Console, Keyword Planner, Google Analytics, Page Speed, and GT Metrix if you want to get the most out of your website.

Brand Experience

Who’s brand wants to come across as complex and confusing? No one!

If the structure and design of your website are easy to understand and navigate, it will be more likely to reflect positively on your brand. A web developer who has a clear understanding of how to create an intuitive and consistent user experience will be better equipped to design a website that accurately represents the brand and its values.

Question 4

How do you gather user feedback and data analytics and use it to improve the customer experience on a website?

Incorporating user feedback into the design and development of your website will lead to a better, more effective website that provides a better customer experience and drives business results.

It does this through these mechanisms:

Improved usability and better conversion rates

Gaining user feedback and reviewing analytics ensures that the design and functionality of your site is centered around the needs and preferences of your customers, rather than the developer’s own assumptions or preferences.

By incorporating customer feedback and analytics early and often, your web developer will be able to identify and resolve any usability issues that could cause confusion or frustration for users. All of this adds up to make the your website easier to navigate and use and helps ensure your customers get to your desired outcomes.

Increased user satisfaction

A website that is designed with customer feedback in mind is more likely to meet the needs and expectations of said customers, leading to higher levels of satisfaction and loyalty to your company and brand.

Think about Amazon’s one-click checkout or Netflix’s automating starting of the next show. These are small development elements that led to huge customer loyalty.

You want your web developer to be thinking about the same.

As an additional bonus, a website that provides a positive user experience is also more likely to be favored by search engines, helping to improve your brands ranking and visibility in search.

Question 5

Can you tell us about your experience with [specific technology or platform]?

This question higlights the developer’s technical abilities and expertise within the specific platform you are trying to build with and it’s important to understand the developer’s capabilities, expertise, and depth of experience with it.

Whether its Shopify, Webflow, WordPress, Squarespace, or a custom platform, each is a world in its own that requires a detailed understanding of how they work and what is required.

For example, if you are looking to build an e-commerce website, it’s important to know if the developer has experience with payment gateways, security protocols, and other related technologies. If the developer has experience with the specific technology or platform, they are likely to have a better understanding of how to implement it in a way that meets your needs and achieves your goals.

This question also gives you a chance to explore the developer’s level of expertise and their ability to speak about their experience in a clear and concise manner. The answer to this question can provide valuable insight into the developer’s technical skills and give you a sense of their overall knowledge and experience.

Question 6

How do you approach project management and keeping a project on schedule?

This question is important because it reveals the web developer’s approach to organization and project management, and explore whether they have an organized and methodical process for getting you to your destination. As a business owner, you need to ensure that the develop of your project stays on track, but ultimately it is your developers responsiblity to get it there.

A good project management approach ensures that tasks are completed efficiently, deadlines are met, and the project remains within scope and budget.

It also helps minimize the risk of misunderstandings or missed deadlines, and ensures that the project aligns with other departments that might not be directly involved.

We encourage you to explore your potential developers approach to project management and understand their process for creating a clear development plan, including milestones and deadlines.

Question 7

Can you discuss your approach to SEO and making a website search engine friendly?

This question reveals a potential web developer’s understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) and the larger internet ecosystem your website will live in.

While you might have a marketing team who will be brought in to handle this, we find it as an awesome question to explore a developer’s tangential domain knowledge and how a website is set up for findability.

In today’s landscape, having a website that is easily discoverable by search engines is crucial to the success of your business and building it with that intent in mind from day one is much more effective then trying to fix it after the fact.

A web developer with a strong understanding of SEO will be able to design and build a website that is optimized for search engines from the ground up, which includes thigns like optimizing the website’s content, structure, and code for search engines, as well as ensuring that the website is fast and easy to navigate.

Your potential developer should also be knowledgeable about best practices for SEO, such as keyword research and meta descriptions, and be able to implement these practices effectively.

Asking them about their approach to SEO will give you an idea of their level of expertise in this area and help you determine if they have the skills and knowledge necessary to build a website that is search engine friendly and optimized for maximum visibility in search results.

Question 8

Can you provide examples of websites you have built with strong integrations, such as with payment systems or marketing tools?

Websites are not isolated islands and this question gives you the ability to assess the level of depth of your potential web developer’s expertise with the foundational things your website requires, as well as the overwhelming number of integrations, plug-ins, and options available to supercharge it.

Integrating various systems into a website can be a complex process, and requires a strong understanding of both the website itself and the third-party systems being integrated.

For example, integrating a payment system into an e-commerce website requires a deep understanding of  the platforms themselves, as well as payment processing platforms, and security/data compliance.

Integrating marketing tools, such as email marketing platforms or analytics software ensures that your website can connect directly and seamlessly to your marketing tools, helping you get the most out of your website, as well as better understand your customers.

If you are serious about your website, your web developer should have a proven track record of successfully integrating various third-party systems into websites and should be able to walk you through how and why he chose certain integrations when and how they did.

Asking the developer for examples of websites they have built with strong integrations will give you an idea of their level of experience in this area and help you determine if they have the technical skills and knowledge necessary to integrate the specific systems and tools you need into your website.

Question 9

How do you keep up with the latest advancements and updates in web development?

The web world changes fast and knowing your developer is keeping up with the latest advancements in web tech is an important part of ensuring the end product you get is competitive to what else is out there, as well as built for the world we are heading into, not the world we were recently in.

As a general rule, we find that web developers that have a desire to keep up with the tech are generally able to anticipate what your website needs to be so it services you at launch and down the road.

In the end, if they are, you will get:

A better solutions

Staying current with new developments in the web and tech field allows your developer to identify new tools and techniques that can be used to solve your business problems more effectively. This might be the way lead capture is done, email marketing tools, or even realizing you need a funnel, not a website.

Increased efficiency

New advancements in web tech are generally geared towards improved processes and more efficient workflows. This might be implementing a new way that Zapier has developed their automations, integrating new features from Twilio for SMS communication, or being on top of the latest AI chat-bot to decrease your customer service workload. The field is always changing and the businesses that are keeping up are being exponentially rewarded.

Improved User Experience

For perspective, Apple sells about 240 million new iPhones a year. Each of these iPhones is loaded with the latest and greatest tech, much of which your website can leverage for a better customer experience.

This might be streamlining your checkout through Apple Pay, turning on accessibility features for certain customers that require them, or making the signup process easier. There are a million ways that new tech improves the customer experience and a quality developer will ensure you have them on your site.

Question 10

How do you handle revisions or changes to a project during the development process?

This question is all about understanding how your developer will react when things don’t go as planned or you realize the plan needs to change.

This question will illuminate how the web developers project management skills and their commitment to delivering a high-quality product that meets your needs, above all else.

How they react around this question can help inform your decision around whether they are the right fit for your project and your company’s development needs.

It will show that your develop has:

Flexibility

A web developer should have a clear process for handling revisions or changes to a project during the development process. This highlights their understanding that sometimes things change and their emotional bandwidth to be flexible to your needs. Keep in mind, there may be some waranted push back if the scope of the project is going to change or the developer genuinely doesn’t see a reason why the revision matters.

Communication

A web developer who has a clear process for handling revisions or changes to a project during the development process generally has solid communication skill and a system in place for communicating changes and their rationals to your team, helping to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Time and budget management

Time and budget management skills matter and a developer that can positively move through project changes or revisions shows a level of understanding of how changes to a project can impact the timeline and budget. This is key in working with your team to get the desired result with the appropraite amount of resources.

Question 11

Can you describe your process for ensuring the security and privacy of user data on websites you build?

If you are collecting any kind of customer data, this is a big one. Ensuring the security and privacy of user data on your website is an important step in ensuring that your customers data (and your libaility for it) is secure and that you and your customers are protected.

Asking a web developer about their process for ensuring the security and privacy of user data on websites they build is an important question for several reasons:

Data privacy and security is foundational and best practice

In today’s digital world, user data privacy and security are more important than ever. If your website doesn’t properly protect your users data, it can expose sensitive information to cyber threats, which can have serious consequences for both your customer and your company. Your developer should have a clear process for ensuring the security and privacy of user data.

Security and privacy ensures legal compliance

In many countries today, there are laws that require companies to protect customer data with a certain level of stringency.

A web developer who has a clear process for ensuring the security and privacy of user data is more likely to design a website that is in compliance with these laws and regulations, limiting your libaility.

This can include things like understanding what plug-ins they are using and what the third-party developers do for security, understanding where the servers are housed, and what the requirements of the different countries you operate in are!

Security and privacy increases user trust

While we have come a long way in customers being willing to submit their data on websites, a website that clearly shows customers that their data is safe and protected is still signficantly more likely to earn the trust of their customers and depending on the purpose of your site, this should be built into the design of it.

When users trust a website, they are more likely to do things like provide their email or put in their credit card, or provide you with the data you require to call them a customer.

Question 12

Can you provide examples of websites you have built in the past and what your role was in their development?

Asking a web developer for examples of projects they have completed in the past AND what their role was is imperative to understanding that what you are looking at was created by the developer you are thinking of hiring.

It also shows their experience and expertise, their understanding of the development process, their collaboration and teamwork skills, and their problem-solving skills.

All of this information cna help you make an informed decision about whether the web developer is the right fit for your project and your company’s development needs.

Have questions about the questions?

The choice of a web developer is a critical one for any business.

The right web developer can help build a high-quality website that accurately represents your brand, meets your business needs, and understands customer flow.

Asking the right questions during an interview can give you valuable insight into a potential web developer’s knowledge, experience, and design philosophy, ensuring that they are the right person for the job.

By considering the importance of this decision and the questions to ask, you can ensure that you have chosen the best web developer for your project and increase your chances of success, while minimizing potential breakdowns.

We highly recommend you take your time to do your research and make an information decision. The outcome will exponentially reward you.

And if you are looking for a solid web developer for your web project, you can contact us.

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