This post is part one of a series on hiring a web-developer. Read part two, the Guide to Estimating Your Web-Development Costs, here.

You’re considering hiring a web-developer because you either want to launch a website or update your existing one. After determining what you want developed, updated, or fixed you must figure out how you will accomplish this and who will do the work.
So, should you hire a web-developer? Let’s consider the factors.

Time, Knowledge, and Money

Like any service, whether or not you need a web-developer is determined by a few factors. If you have plenty of time; knowledge of web-development, hosting, and search engine optimization; and some money you can do the work yourself. If you lack one or two of these factors you may need to hire someone.
For example: You may have called a plumber after your pipes burst because you did not have the knowledge to fix the damage yourself. Or perhaps you merely lacked the time to get the work done. Either way, a knowledgable, skilled, and trustworthy plumber was part of the solution. If you had the knowledge, time, and money to do it yourself you would have.
Whether or not to hire a web-developer is no different.
Where your gap is in the Time, Knowledge, and Money Equation will determine whether or not hiring a web-developer is the right choice for you.

I have time and knowledge but not much money

If you have time on your hands and the knowledge to develop, optimize, and maintain a site yourself the best course of action may be to develop a site from scratch and find cheap hosting for it.
By taking this route you can develop exactly what you want and do it quickly.
Because you are short on cash you may need to cut some corners on hosting. You may not be able to host on solid state drives, be choosey about the location of your server, or get a host who will backup and secure your site reliably. But hey! You have knowledge and time! Even with a cheap host you can optimize your site for faster download speeds, backup the site yourself, and install security software.
If you have time and knowledge but not much money… develop your own site.
Then, once your site is making you money, contact us to host it with all the bells and whistles.

I have time and money but not much knowledge

If you have time on your hands and some cash to spend you have a couple of options.
You could either use a drag-and-drop website builder or hire a web-developer. Both of these options help fill the knowledge gap.
Drag-and-drop website builders have become increasingly popular. Services such as Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly are some of the options available to you in this space. Drag-and-drop services fit you if you have time to learn and use the software and money to purchase the services, plugins, and tutorials you need.
Yet drag-and-drop services have their limitations – like your knowledge. Remember, you are going to a drag-and-drop service because you have time and money but not much knowledge in web-development. That knowledge gap can still bite you when you are doing it all yourself. Take, for example, this popular Wix website for a visual artist. The site looks stellar and the artist’s work is beautiful. Yet the website doesn’t use proper HTML heading structure and uses Flash.

mildd's websiteHTML headers on mildd's website

If you tell a drag-and-drop website builder to use 11 h5 headers that’s what you’ll have and you will have no idea that it could hurt your SEO. If you insert Flash onto your site a drag-and-drop builder may not warn you that Flash is dead, inaccessible to the majority of visitors, and a security risk. That sort of knowledge is what web-developers are for. Drag-and-drop website builders help fill the knowledge gap but they aren’t a perfect solution.
So we recommend taking one of two courses of action. If you have time and money but not much knowledge either…

  • Build a site yourself using a popular tool and then hire a web-developer to evaluate it (psst, we do initial site evaluations for free) or, if your knowledge gap still has you sitting uneasy…
  • Hire a web-developer and use your time for what you really love to do.

I have knowledge and money but not much time

If you have some web-development knowledge and some cash to throw at a professional online presence you could build a website yourself over an extended period of time.
I am currently working on a personal project but don’t expect to launch it for another three months or so – because I lack time. If you know how to develop, optimize, and maintain a site yourself the extended DIY option is an excellent one. Get your hands on that keyboard and get to work – just know you may be working on it for months (or longer).
Yet if you need your website online yesterday (or next month) you may need to hire a web-developer. Deadlines don’t wait because we lack time. If you aren’t willing to extend your website launch out to a much later date contact us for a free consultation.

Choosing A Web-Developer (Friend, Freelancer, or Firm?)

So you’ve decided you want to hire a web-developer. Who do you turn to?
Depending on your network and your needs you can hire a friend, freelancer, or firm.

Friend

Perhaps you know someone who does web-development. Maybe its their hobby, a side job, or their career. If you know someone consider reaching out to him. Express your needs, ask him if that is something he feels comfortable doing, and ask his rates (please don’t ask your friend to build you a site for free). Depending on the friendship, your friend’s skill, and your friend’s rates this may be the best course of action for you.
But just like any other business decision (which is what this is) weigh all the options.

Freelancer

Or you could hire a freelance web-developer. The industry is filled with them. If you don’t know one you can find one through various online searches. Some freelancers will have websites of their own, other freelancers may be listed in online communities, and others may be listed locally. There is no one best way to find a freelancer.
Regardless of how you find a potential freelancer always view his former work, ask about what he knows, and weigh all the options.

Firm

Or you could hire a web-development firm (like Rystedt Creative). Firms have teams of people that help mitigate any shortfalls of a single developer. They also have professional customer service – you know if your site goes offline or you accidentally break something you can get help ASAP. Firms also offer various complementary services. Rystedt Creative offers web-development, copywriting, and online business strategy. We also have team members that can assist with graphic design or social media management if those things fall within the scope of a larger project. We’re only one example of what a firm can offer. Firms offer the best support and growth for your website.

How Much Should I Pay the Developer I Hire?

You’ve determined that you need a web-developer and now you have a few people or firms in mind who could help you out.
So how much should you expect to budget for your online investment?
That will ultimately depend on what your project is, who is helping you complete it, and how long your turnaround time is.

What?

Hiring someone to fix some theme colors is going to cost less than hiring someone to build an e-commerce site with thousands of products.
The scope of your project and the time and technology investment for your web-developer will help set what you can expect to spend.
For example:

  • If it only takes your web-developer two hours to fix those annoying theme colors your invoice may be in the hundreds of dollars.
  • If it takes your web-developer two months, software license purchases, and some custom code to build you an e-commerce site with thousands of products your invoice may be in the thousands of dollars.

Who?

Who you hire also affects the amount you should expect to spend. A student who does web-development as a hobby will usually cost less than a freelancer with 10 years of experience. The hobbyist offers less (or no) long term support but the firm does. The experience, knowledge, and support of who you hire will affect the amount on your invoice.
You may pay the web-development hobbyist half (or less) of what you may pay that experienced freelancer.

How Long?

How long your desired turnaround time is may affect the amount you expect to spend. If your web-development project would normally take a professional developer one month to complete and you want it in two weeks expect to pay more. If you can afford to wait a little while longer it may save you a little money.

Now go hire one those developers you are considering and bring your passion to the Web

This post is part one of a series on hiring a web-developer. Read part two, the Guide to Estimating Your Web-Development Costs, here.

Quick and Dirty Guide to Estimating Your Web-Development Cost - Rystedt Creative