Sitting in the office and get a phone call from someone interested in using us to help develop their online presence and get them selling online. However they already have this started and are looking for us to help finish the project. Now not to be rude, but this the way we work, as it always involves inheriting problems other developers/designers have made. Poor code, poor decision making and no joined-up thinking on how to properly implement an e-commerce solution. But here’s the critical problem:
“We’ve paid the other guy already.”
So what’s happened is someone took on a project that they could not deliver on, and they’re hoping that we can quickly and cheaply finish the task for them.
A vast amount of projects we take on are people who have already developed websites in the past but are underwhelmed with the quality of the product that was delivered. Usually, they shop based on price as one of the significant factors in investing a new website, and that wouldn’t be a problem if all websites were created equally.
If you hire an electrician to do work on your house, or a plumber to fix your gas heater or your local doctor, these guys have proper qualifications in their area of expertise, and they have to have them to perform the skills they have legally.
Web design is different. There are so many talented people out there who are all on various stages of learning. Websites and technology are evolving, technology gets old — improvements that make once highly technical skills become more accessible and easier to execute.
School kids learn to program basic HTML code, sure that’s how I learned the basics of programming. A lot of people dabble in the industry who think it’s an easy way to make some fast money, but eventually, they realise the self-employed route and running a small business isn’t sustainable for them.
What happens to their clients? Who manages the hosting? Who makes sure the domain names remain active? Nevermind getting the project to a decent state to go live anyway?
Always research who you plan to develop your website project.
What experience do they have? How long have they been around? Who are their clients? What type of work have they done previously? Do they understand your project’s needs?
E-commerce is a relationship with a web agency, and it’s not a single build once-off project. Successful websites are constantly maintained, monitored updated. You need a team who understand selling online, who can guide you through any problems you will encounter.
During the development in case a developer goes off the radar, our advice would be to insist on getting the following off your web developer on a regular basis.
- Website Logins / Control Panel Logins
- Layered Photoshop / Adobe Illustrator Files
- Weekly Backup
- Domains registered directly in your the client’s name.
- Emails hosted externally via Google Gsuite
This way if anything happens, you’ve as much as possible to get a project rolling with another developer.
Having a written agreement between you and the website developer will give a clear outline to what you expect the developer to deliver on. It should clearly state aims, features, timelines and payment schedule. If the function is not in this document never presume it will be included.
There is an incredible amount of talented web design/development professionals who can deliver some fantastic results. Just be sure to do some research on who your using, never choose someone based upon price alone. Experience and knowledge will cost more but save you so much in the long term.
And last but not least, a maintenance agreement plan is your lifeline to keep your website up to date and running as effectively as possible.