12 Key Questions to Help You Choose a Web Developer
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Realistically, not every designer or developer is fit for every client project. Sometimes, the two parties simply mismatch. So, as a business owner, how can you ensure a suitable match for everyone involved? The key is asking the right questions.

What is Web Design and Development?

A business’s website is the home base for all brand information, resources, and announcements. An effective web design and development team personifies a brand’s message by translating it into a client-facing website.

Web design involves crafting an interface layout using standard design principles and artistic expertise. Web development is the process of building a website and subsequently bringing that design to life. Although web design isn’t the same as web development, these roles often work together to generate an optimized and user-friendly website.

TLDR: Web design & development is the process of designing a website and bringing that design to life.

In the digital age, a company’s website needs to include more than just an eCommerce shop or list of offerings. In fact, 92% of consumers initially visit a brand’s website to do something other than make a purchase. Your website should summarize the who, what, why, where, AND how behind your business. 

This is where a professional web development company like Forge Apollo comes in. Our marketing experts combine a deep understanding of your brand and years of technical expertise to create a compelling and dynamic website design. We transform your message into a stylish, optimized website that accurately represents your brand image while satisfying customer needs.

What to Know Before Consulting a Web Developer

How do you know your brand is ready for a website overhaul? Consider these factors when discussing your business objectives with prospective web development companies:

  • What type of information your website needs to include – about, locations, blog, etc.
  • The main purpose of your website – buying, selling, informing, etc.
  • Examples of websites that you like
  • Your target audience
  • Expected content deliverables and requirements – written copy, stock photos, etc.

expert web developers ensure responsive design

12 Questions to Ask a Web Developer

Remember that you’re trusting this website developer to represent your brand accurately and artfully online. Figure out how to choose a web developer for your website overhaul by asking the following insightful questions:

1. Can you show me your work for similar companies?

Request a portfolio and examples of past projects. This inquiry will help you gain insight into their design style and capabilities. Plus, work for similar companies may inspire best practices for your own site build.

2. What CMS do you build on (if any)?

A CMS (or Content Management System) is a useful tool for creating and managing website pages. CMS software aids the development team in the modification of front-end and back-end elements. Although not all developers utilize one, knowing which CMS they prefer allows you to educate your team on its capabilities. A CMS like WordPress (Forge Apollo’s preferred CMS) also makes it easy for team members to add blogs or make small edits to the website should you ever need them. Going with a popular and free CMS like WordPress is also helpful if you ever want to switch hosting companies or web developers.

3. How will we measure results and project success?

Verify website effectiveness by establishing meaningful, relevant metrics. Define specific key performance indicators (KPIs) and SMART goals to evaluate progress throughout the campaign.

4. What is the turnover for projects from start to finish?

Do you need a new website as soon as possible, or can you afford a detailed development process? A clear timetable creates transparency, so establish a timeline for the project to keep everyone on the same page.

5. Who is on your team: Do you outsource any projects, or are all services conducted in-house?

Meet the development and design team members to review their qualifications and responsibilities. Confirm your point of contact and who is responsible for each stage in the development process.

6. Who is designing the website?

When hiring a web developer, find out who is designing your website. There are usually two routes: a custom website or a template website. A custom website involves a custom design made uniquely for your brand. A template design involves using an existing design and adding your colors, fonts, and custom imagery to that design.

In some cases, a web developer might design the website themselves. It’s important to note that not all website developers are designers, and not all website designers are developers. Working with someone who fills both roles means you will either fall short in the design or the website’s build. It’s better to work with a designer and a developer to ensure you achieve the best possible results.

7. Do you use page builders, or is everything custom coded?

Custom-coded websites are essentially a blank slate for seasoned developers to build on from scratch. Page builders simplify this process by utilizing drag-and-drop elements for a quicker build. Research the benefits of each method and discuss them with your prospective web developer. Typically page builders will slow down a website a small amount, but their ease of use makes them attractive and efficient.

8. How can you ensure the website meets basic accessibility, usability, and security standards?

Confirm universal readability to maintain a safe, secure, and positive user experience. Ask your web developer if they utilize SSL certifications for communication security and practice ADA compliance for accessibility. A proper web design and development team will incorporate any legal obligations into the website’s design.

9. What is your average website speed?

Believe it or not, slow load speed can make or break a website. The web developer you hire should know that speed is vital to a website’s success and prioritize improving load times. Put simply, the slower the page load speed, the higher the bounce rate (and a high bounce rate is bad!). For reference, a web page’s average page loading speed is 10.3 seconds on desktop and 27.3 seconds on mobile. Test your current website’s speed with Google’s Page Speed Insights tool.

10. Do you offer ongoing hosting and web maintenance, and monitoring services?

Maintaining a website is equally as important as creating one. Hosting is a requirement for having a website. Whether you host through your web developer’s private server or go through a hosting provider, it’s good to know your options. In addition, you will either need to monitor and maintain your website yourself or ask your developer if this is a service they offer. Often, a plugin can update on your website and cause certain features or even the entire website to break. Prevent problems like this by having a reliable web developer monitor your website regularly.

11. What is your procedure for managing conflicts, bugs, glitches, and other emergency site maintenance needs?

Proactively solve technical issues with a detailed contingency plan. Viruses, bugs, and other technical issues constantly threaten every website. If a developer can’t find ways to avoid setbacks, an emergency maintenance plan allows for prompt alleviation.

12. Will my website be responsive?

A professional web developer will ensure all pages render correctly on any device or screen resolution. Responsiveness allows viewers to see every part of your website regardless of their screen size. Test your wireframe on different devices to verify responsiveness.

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Expert Web Developers in Philadelphia

Locking down a team of website experts is challenging for any size company. The process involves a great deal of consideration and researched knowledge. The right designer generates a sleek visual concept, and the right developer reflects that design for peak usability. Their collaboration creates a dynamic interface that encompasses your brand. How can you guarantee your new website fulfills your business needs without distorting your brand message? 

Avoid the hiring headache and freelancer interviews by recruiting a top-notch agency for your website or other digital marketing projects. Start budgeting your new website with Forge Apollo’s calculator tool, or contact our team directly for a custom quote.