Building Your Website: 8 Easy Tips For Dealing With Developers
Last updated: June 2019
Knowing some best practices for working with developers can save you many potential headaches, not to mention your hard-earned cash. By implementing the tips below, you can significantly improve the chance that your project is completed on time and to the standard, you desire; ensuring all parties walk away from the project happy.
1. Have A Plan For Your Website
You should have an idea of what the site will look like and what features you want before any work gets carried out. You can do this by researching various websites and giving your developer a list of examples that you really like and some that you’re not so fond of. Going to a developer with nothing but “I want a website” often ends in disaster and can take more time to correct than making sure everybody is on the same page from the very beginning.
Make sure you list and have in writing the exact features you want on your website. If you want a contact form, social media icons, or an image gallery, you need to specifically tell your developer that. No matter how clever they may be, nobody but yourself has a clear idea of how your website should turn out.
2. Get A Contract Written Up
A contract doesn’t need to be written by a lawyer unless of course, you want to, but it does need to be put on paper (or digitally for that matter). The contract should outline what work is being carried out, the deadline, the price and be signed by both parties. Having a signed contract is often all that’s needed to keep your developer honest. Including a clause stating what happens if there’s a dispute can also give you a roadmap of how you rectify the problem if it does occur.
3. Keep Accounts And Domain Names In Your Own Name
In no case should you let your developer create a hosting account in their name or register a .AU domain with their ABN. If they are building the website for you and the domain name is for your business, then it stands to reason that it’s you who should have the legal right to the service or domain.
4. Demand Transparency From The Outset
Ask your developer if they are writing all the code from scratch and if not, where they’re sourcing it from. There’s nothing worse than spending big $$$ on a ‘custom’ website that you later find on ThemeForest for $15, or even worse, they simply used a ‘drag-n-drop’ site builder that may limit any future customisation.
5. Don’t Pay The Full Amount Upfront
A lot of developers offer a discounted price for upfront total payments and while it might sound like a bargain, this is a dangerous gamble. The only time you should consider paying the full price up front is if you implicitly trust the developer will complete the project and you are confident they will do it to the standard you expect. Once they have all the cash, it can be difficult to get them to do work at a fast enough pace or to the quality you demand.
6. Set Deadlines For Key Milestones
Break the project up into pieces and agree on a deadline for each completed phase. This is a great way to track your developer’s progress and lets you know if the website build is going to plan.
7. Create A Pay-As-You-Go Schedule
Coupled with creating deadlines, pay the developer as the project progresses. This protects you from dumping $1,000’s into a project that they can’t/won’t complete and limits your risk exposure. To speed up development, you can also offer a bonus if they complete the work on schedule which will keep your project on the top of their ‘to-do list’.
8. Choose A Reputable Developer
Determining if your developer is reputable or not can be achieved by looking at their portfolio of previous projects, seeing if they have a professional email address (not just a Gmail address), and finding out if are they’re registered as a business.
Doing your research can protect yourself from ‘shonky’ developers who are simply looking for a cash grab. If something about them doesn’t feel right, go with your gut feeling and look elsewhere.