Trials And Tribulations of Website Developer

48 Hours of Real-World Trials and Tribulations

Meet Sally

Sally is a prospect that arrived as a referral from another WordPress developer. She spent $50,000 on a website that was built with a page builder she can’t really use or modify. The rebuild of her website took her search traffic to virtually zero and her sales funnel has dried up into nothingness.

Meet Charles

Charles is my SEO consulting client and I’ve been helping him with keyword research, site mapping, and content creation for the last few months. This has been taking place while he had an outside designer and website developer build out his new website. He recently sent me the URL to his development website so I could check it out. Friday morning I had the unfortunate task of telling him what I found in just a few short minutes of review.

Each page has a whopping 10+ h1 headers. You’re only supposed to have one per page. This is basic coding and anyone with a adequate level of coding skill would know this requirement. His page URLs don’t match what we had planned and were simply defaulted to page titles. This means they are not really following his instructions and don’t value his focus on SEO. And what made me most mad was basic elements like phone numbers, which should be set to click to call, are coded in as images. That works great for search engines and users on mobile devices.

I sent Charles a note through our project management software to alert him of some of the issues I found. I offered to do another and more thorough review once I know the developer has finished coding. I’m not a coder, so if I immediately see issues with coder, you know something is seriously wrong. And I felt bad. I surely don’t want months of SEO work to be derailed by someone else’s horrible coding.

Meet Paul

Paul is a returning website development client. We built him one website a year or two ago and he is back for another one. Paul isn’t unique. We’ve run into lots of people with similar experiences. All of these three people are educated, smart people, who were simply caught up in the cloudy world of website development.

My Tips and Suggestions for Hiring a Website Developer

You might be asking yourself why I’ve taken the time to document these experiences and share them. It’s because I want to educate people on what happens when you hire the wrong website developer.

Through education you can force change and through change you can find success. Let me give you some of my tips and suggestions for hiring a website developer that will deliver as promised.

#1 – Do your research.

I only meet about 10% of our website development clients in person and when I do it is a rare treat. We sell internationally so clients come from a variety of sources. The distance does not mean that the client cannot do his or her own research into us. If you can’t locate information on your website developer outside of their own website, be suspect. Be very suspect because there is a reason they are flying under the radar.

#2 – Know that bargains aren’t really bargains at all.

This is a big one because we often find the source of website development disasters started with a discount, bargain, or sale. Good website developers have full project calendars and they don’t need to offer discounts. They set a fare rate that aligns with their qualifications and experience.

When you find a developer who is eager to throw discounts out, they are racing to the bottom and doing so because they have to reduce prices to survive. The discount will end up being paid to another developer who will clean up the code the first developer botched. It happens time and time again. No one wants to clean up someone else’s spaghetti code. When we do, it takes us a lot longer than it should which means the client pays a lot more than they would have if they simply started with a quality coder at the beginning.

#3 – Articulate your project and define your expectations.

If I have a prospect who cannot articulate their needs or provides short or vague answers, I have red flags going off in my head that cannot be quieted. This is because I need to understand your project to be able to quote it and deliver to it to your level of satisfaction. If the prospect cannot or is unwilling to define their needs, it makes it difficult for me to deliver what is required for project success. I’m happy to help define these needs together, but I need cooperation and an active participant. Collaboration before and after the sale is what delivers results.

#4 – Expect a lot of questions and embrace them.

I ask a lot of questions. To the point that I know I drive some prospects crazy. But I do this with purpose. The more questions I ask, the more I understand what the prospect needs and wants. This means I can have clear expectations defined for my team on what steps are needed to deliver during design and development. Without questions, I’m forced to make assumptions. Assumptions are never good, because they can be incorrect. And when assumptions are incorrect, someone is left with disappointment.

#5 – Stop hiring friends of friends and family.

Just because your nephew took one college class in HTML, this doesn’t mean he can design and code a fully functional website that can support the sales funnel for a business. He may be cheap or even free, but you’ll pay dearly for this relationship. And that pay will be financially and emotionally based. Friends and family do not make good developers, designers, or webmasters. Keep business as business and family as family.