Three Signs it Might Not be the Right Developer

PublisherSol Minion Developmenthttps:https://assets.solminion.co/logo.svg?mtime=20200915165531&focal=nonePublishedcustom development

Too often, I meet people who started a project with another designer or developer and have spent a lot of money and still aren't happy with the result (or haven't even seen a result). Business owners are great at what they do: running their business. If they don't have a background in Web technologies and digital marketing practices, it's hard to figure out who to listen to. So, here are three phrases that should be red flags and trigger a deeper evaluation of the individual or company you're interviewing to create your Web site.

1. "OUR CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM"

This seems innocuous enough. WordPress is a content management system. So is Joomla. The context here is subtle and implies they're about to drop you into a content management system they built themselves. That often makes it very difficult to move to another Web company and take your design and content with you if anything happens to the Web company. If you hear anything about "our content management system" or "our CMS", probe a little more and make sure they're putting you on a standards-based platform such as Joomla, WordPress, Magento, or Drupal, and not anything proprietary. It's not to say their proprietary CMS isn't any good, but you don't want to be forced to stay with a company simply because it's too expensive to change to someone else. You want to stay with a company because they provide great customer service.

2. COSTS AREN'T BROKEN DOWN

I was listening to a general contractor speak at a networking event and he brought up a really good point. When you get an estimate from a general contractor that's the lowest number and it's not broken down so you know you're spending X dollars on the countertops and Y dollars on the tile, it's a sure sign they may not know what they're doing. The same goes for Web site and custom development projects. Get your candidate to drill down into the numbers so you have a better idea of what he or she believes your expectations to be. I admit to frequently just laying out a single number to make it easy to compare to other bids, but a good Web company will have the other line items planned out. Most likely, this type of meticulous planning is more expensive, but going with a less detailed bid will likely cost you more in the long run.

3. PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH

There are plenty of companies that claim expertise or "guru" status. Make sure they back up that claim and follow their own advice on their site. Check their portfolio and see if it's really implemented on their client's sites, too. Sometimes, it's easy to give advice, but if they aren't following it themselves, they either don't know how or they're outsourcing it to someone else. Either way, it probably means they aren't the experts they claim to be. Do some legwork before you get a project rolling with some quick visits to portfolio sites.

There's plenty of information out there about potential red flags, but keep a particular eye out for these three scenarios. It's important that you pick someone who wants to understand the needs of your business so they know how to get you results. You should also take into account whether you should be considering a designer or a developer.