Remember Lee from that great piece on hosting services? Well, he’s back and looking out for you in the web development game. He doesn’t want a shady developer to take advantage of you so he wrote up a great guide on avoiding the seedy underworld of crap developers. Below is just a part of it, make sure to pop over to Odd Dog’s blog to read the rest, the link is at the bottom.
Does your company need a shiny new website? Feeling a little uneasy because you don’t speak the lingo? Heard countless horror stories about flaky web developers taking off? Or are you just looking for some education on the whole web development process? Whichever criteria satisfies your need, you’re bound to find an answer to something here. We may even end up solving where Jimmy Hoffa is. Most importantly, I’d like to protect you from getting screwed by your web developer.
Whatever you do, at least be sure to check their social profiles. You know, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Dribbble, Stack Exchange, Elance, ODesk. Also, check their websites. View their portfolio and make sure it’s clear exactly what work they did on a given project. Check their recommendations on LinkedIn, too. Hell, just Google them. Never know what else you might find!
Make sure you get a well-scoped contract that details everything you expect out of your project. This part is as much your responsibility as it is the web developer’s. The contract should clearly state the developer’s name, address, email address, and website. It should itemize each piece of your project as to form a clear picture of start to finish. Milestones are nice to see, too. And make sure the total cost and payment terms are clear. There’s nothing worse than coming up on the middle of a project with unmet expectations over simple communication problems that could have been solved with a good contract.
Learn A Thing Or Two
A bit more ambitious approach to not getting screwed is to educate yourself in the web development process. This goes both ways – you could quickly snuff out a wanna-be developer, and they’ll likely feel more comfortable with an educated client. Knowing the lingo will go a long way with your would-be hire. Consider it like learning the native language of the country you’re visiting on holiday – it’s a respect thing. I’ll give you some common terms here and explain them.
This is you saying “I’m going to give you some cash for your time because I trust you.” The developer now responds with “Thank you. I trust you well enough to give you my time.” Simple as that. Expect to pay a deposit for any self-respecting developer.
Proofs, Comps & Wireframes
Most development projects require some visuals, like wireframes, schemas, content types, user flows, and other fun stuff. These are generally fleshed out and approved by you before the development work begins. This could even include some graphic designs.
A CMS, Content Management System, allows you to control some content on your website. That being said, it’s important to be clear on what this really means: you’re able to updates words and images, add blog posts, maybe control your contact forms. Anything above and beyond this is possible, but costs extra both short- and long-term.
Domain, Registrar & DNS
Your website is likely found by typing in somedomain.com into your browser, right? That .com thing is your domain name. You (or someone you may have talked to at some point) registered that domain name. Tied to domain names are directions for where to send you when you ask the interwebs to show your website. That’s called your DNS. Why the hell is it important that you know this stuff? ‘Cause it’s a confusing pile of mess and, unfortunately, we all have to try to understand how these fundamentals work. ”
Your website files need to be hosted somewhere for them to even show up on the internet. Your host serves these files for you. Your developer might be able to recommend a good host, or may even host the website for you.
This is a super-technical, geeky term. Your host puts your files on these servers. They’re just a bunch of computers, similar to the one you have, all tied together.
Putting Together A Plan…for the rest, just click!