Every business needs a website. While some businesses can get away with a DIY approach to their website, most benefit from the involvement of a professional web developer.
Talented web developers can produce beautiful, modern websites that can go shoulder-to-shoulder with the digital experiences produced by the biggest brands in the world. Moreover, they are versed with what makes websites work, pull their weight, and act as revenue drivers for the businesses that own them.
Picking the right developer to craft your website is a big decision. Here are six things to look for in a web development partner.
1. They Prioritize Communication and Teamwork
Even a great web developer might not be the right choice if the developer doesn’t match your communication and teamwork style. How well you work in partnership with the developer you choose makes as much of a difference as the developer’s talent and dedication.
Don’t underestimate the value of vibe. Great partnerships can grow out of creative synergy between the developer and the client, each contributing to a shared vision.
Pay attention to how they communicate with their team as well. Are they open to feedback? Do they respect the talents of their team members and take full advantage of them? The developer’s synergy with their team is at least as important as their synergy with you, since they will rely on the team to execute tasks above your pay grade.
2. They Have a Track Record of Success In Your Industry
Of course, how well you get along with the developer isn’t everything—they have to be able to do the job as well. Check to make sure that the developer has a track record of success. Look at testimonials, ask for testimonials, and review the developer’s portfolio of websites.
But don’t stop there. Even a portfolio of beautiful websites might not tell the whole story. Make sure that the developer has a track record of success in your industry, building websites similar to your vision.
Don’t settle for a developer who intends to learn on the job, or who tries to draw comparisons between your project and their past projects when your gut tells you that the projects are too different to correlate.
Whatever your industry, whatever kind of website you envision, some web developer has a track record of success making websites like that. Look for one of those.
3. They Stay Up-To-Date With the Industry
Web development is an ever-changing landscape. Last year’s best practices are already fossils. The website you have in mind could be outdated. Look for a web developer who understands what is working now, what users are looking for now.
A good web development partner stays current on industry trends, including design, UX, and security best practices. They know how to build a website that is “future-proof,” anticipating your future needs. They can develop a website with an adaptive theme that can be updated as design aesthetic trends change.
4. They Use an Agile Development Methodology
Agile isn’t the only development methodology for digital products like websites, but it’s the most popular digital development methodology for a reason. Preferred by 86% of software developers, agile produces 28% better outcomes compared to other methodologies according to a study by PWC.
The various agile methodologies of software development organize a project into short “sprints,” bursts of development activity with continuous feedback, improvement, and interaction between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. Each iteration of the product becomes better and better.
This methodology is especially effective in website development, because websites lend themselves to iterative development with continuous improvement, as well as easy prototyping and continuous user testing.
One of the benefits of agile methodology is that, with the right team and stakeholder buy-in, it is virtually guaranteed to succeed. Every iteration builds on the last, based not only on the principle of continuous improvement but also on user feedback. The website you ultimately launch will have had ample time to adapt to user feedback. Even if that user feedback suggests a complete pivot or redesign, agile is “agile” enough (hence the name) to roll with the feedback.
Agile presents several advantages to consider when it comes to seeking out web application development services.
5. They Exhibit Good Time Management and Priorities
Web development can be hectic. The project can expand or contract on a dime. New feedback can completely reshuffle the priorities or add hefty features to the backlog. It can’t be planned on the back of a napkin. The right web development partner will always exhibit a commitment to diligent time management and triage of priorities.
Look for a partner who adheres to a strict schedule, with prioritized calendars and systems in place to keep the team on task and accountable. Check what channels of communication they maintain with each other, as well as with you as the stakeholder.
Look for a developer who adheres to the “80/20 Rule”: 20% of the inputs produce 80% of the outcomes and vice versa. Inefficient teams focus on the 80% of the actions that produce only 20% of the outcomes. Developers with good priorities focus on the 20% of the actions that will produce 80% of the results.
6. They Are Committed to UX
Web developers are artists of a sort, and any artist faces the temptation to show off, to do things just because they can, never mind the wishes of the patron who pays them.
Good web development partners remember who their real client is. And it’s actually not you–it’s your users. Your customers. The people who will actually interact with the website as a fully-realized digital experience.
UX is short for “user experience”—the user’s interaction with the website. Make sure that your developer isn’t just committed to a beautiful website, but to one that takes the user on an immersive journey, ultimately leading to a defined business outcome.
Whatever your web development aspirations, choose the partner that shares your vision and has the skills to bring it to fruition. The website they develop for you will have the potential to become a growth driver and a cornerstone of your business.