What to Know About Hiring a Web Developer

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Whether you’re starting from scratch and building an entirely new website, or you want to change an existing site, you may be wondering who to hire to do the work or even whether you can do it on your own using a site builder.

First, hiring someone to develop a website can be expensive, but it has pros over using a site building tool. If you use a site builder, you may end up losing a lot of possible revenue. If you want a modern, effective and well-designed site, it’s typically better to make the upfront investment and hire a professional. A professional web developer will know coding languages like Python and CSS. They will also be able to provide you with strategic input that you wouldn’t get otherwise.

How do you start the process of hiring a developer, and what should you know if you haven’t done it before?

What’s the Difference Between a Web Designer and a Developer?

First, an area that can create confusion for some people is what the differences are between a web designer and a web developer. A developer is someone who works on the backend to create the actual structure of the website. The focus of a developer is on using coding languages to implement that structure. A web designer, on the other hand, tends to focus on the user experience the visual elements of the site that a user will see.

A designer will usually provide a developer with the creative plans for a site. So, when you think you need to hire a developer, you are probably also going to need to hire a designer unless you are going to do that part in-house.

While the general idea is that a developer works on the back-end, there are both back- and front-end developers. The back-end is the structure of the site that’s created with software languages. Users don’t see this work. Then, there’s front-end development, and this is more related to website design because it includes the elements users will see when they visit your site.

As a side note, if you want to develop a mobile app as opposed to working on a website, it’s a web developer you need to hire as well.

What is a Full-Stack Developer?

If you’re hiring a developer, you might see people touting their skills as a full-stack developer. A full-stack developer works on the front- and back-end and is experienced in all areas.

A full-stack developer is likely going to be able to do everything for a website project from start to finish, including both design and coding. They might not have the deeper-level knowledge of someone who specializes in one area, but a full-stack developer can keep things streamlined and can keep your budget in line.

Decide Whether You’ll Hire a Freelancer or An Agency

You can opt to hire a freelance developer, or you can go with an agency. There are pros and cons to both options.

If you hire a freelancer, they may be more focused on your project and able to dedicate more time to it because it’s possible you’ll be their only client at the time. They are also likely going to be cheaper.

At the same time, an agency is going to have standardized ways they work, and they’re going to have a lot more resources at their disposal. The benefits of an agency are going to cost you, though, so factor that into your budget planning.

Another decision to make is whether you’ll pay hourly or by the project. With a very experienced developer, paying by the hour can be smarter. An experienced developer isn’t going to make many mistakes, and they’re likely going to work faster, so you may come out better financially if you pay them by the hour. With a less experienced developer, paying by the project might be smarter on your end.

If you’re weighing whether to post your budget or to ask applicants to submit a quote, there are a few things to keep in mind. If you have a truly set budget with no flexibility, you should just go ahead and post it. If you don’t, ask for quotes because it’ll give you a broader range of candidates to choose from.

Finally, when you have a short list of candidates, and you’re having a tough time narrowing it down, look for the candidate that has projects in their portfolio either in your industry or most similar to what you think you’re looking for.