In the past, I needed to outsource a web developer then I quickly realized that I wasn’t sure about the questions to ask. I was so busy growing my business so I entrusted almost everything to her. I knew she could implement my designs and address my feedback well. And she did!
The problem? Because I did not take an active role in asking detailed questions to understand what she was doing, we finished the site. But, I was left with no idea what features, plugins or codes were involved in the process. Sounds familiar? Yeah, it happens.
So to help you avoid the same situation, I sat down with Artbees web developer Louis to learn the most important questions to ask your web developer before, during and after your website is finished!
Assuming that you’re building your site from scratch, here are some questions to ask your web developer and understand (Ah! Those two don’t always go hand in hand).
Keep these in mind before you outsource a web developer.
1) Where will my website be hosted?
Since you will be doing everything from scratch, you and your Developer will need to have a fresh site set up. Thus, you will need to put the site on the server so both you and your Developer can work on it before (in case you want to see the site too) and after the site has been completed. If you’re okay not to see the site before it’s completed, your Developer can work in their localhost server.
Here are some additional questions to ask your web developer about the hosting provider:
- What is your recommended server?
- What is the server package (e.g. Pro, VIP., etc.)?
- Can you specify the limitations of the server?
- How much is the price of the package?
- How will the provider support us?
Once the answers to these questions have been settled, you can assume the server has been set up and a WordPress site has been installed.
2) Which WordPress theme are you using?
From your idea, mockup and special requests, the developer will find and use a theme to build your site. He or she may do some customization works. So to learn more about the WordPress theme, be sure to ask these questions:
- What is the name of the theme?
- Where can you find the theme?
- Can I have a demo of the theme?
- How does the your theme function or work?
- What are the features and elements of your theme? How’s the speed performance?
- What are the theme support and update?
- How much will the theme cost me?
Although the Developer will do the work, it is important that you know these things because it is the core of the site and you will be using it for a long time.
3) Which plugins are you using, and what are they for?
Once the theme has been installed, several plugins will be needed to improve the functionality of the site. This includes spam avoidance (Akismet plugin), security protection (Wordfence plugin), cache and optimization (W3 Total cache, WordPress Super cache).
Often, the Developer will use free plugins, but there will be times where purchasing the premium version is recommended. Here are the questions to ask your web developer when you’re discussing site plugins:
- What plugins are you using, and how can it help your site?
- Are you using the free or premium version? If you are purchasing the premium version, how much will it cost you?
- What are the plugin support? And how often is the update?
- Do you have other plugin alternatives? If yes, what are those?
- Are there customization works for the plugins? If yes, what are those?
These questions will help you understand the builds needed for your site and how they work. You may also manage the price and the work of the Developer.
4) Which parts of my site need customizing?
Of course, the Developer will have to do customization in your theme and plugins using his or her own codes to achieve your desired result. Given that, you need to ask the following things:
- Which part of the site, theme or plugin needs customization?
- How will you be customizing that component?
- Why does it need to be customized?
- Is there an alternative solution rather than the extra work? (Remember, you will pay for each extra work, and the same customization setting could be available or attainable in other ways and for a cheaper price)
- Will there be any conflicts with future updates?
- Can I easily maintain the customized parts of the site?
These questions will help you understand the things that your Developer is doing for the site. If something goes wrong with the theme or plugin, the answers to these questions can help you determine the kind of support you need.
These information will also be useful in case you will have to outsource a web Developer in the future.
5) How about Website Maintenance and Updates?
The job is not yet done after the site has been completed. Ask yourself. What will happen in the future? WordPress, themes and plugins are constantly updating. You also need to be able to easily update your site.
Be sure to clarify these things with your WordPress Developer:
- Do you continue support in the future? How much is the maintenance cost?
- How will you maintain, backup or update my site in the future?
- What happens if a problem or a conflict arise after updating the site?
- If you will not continue support in the future, what are my alternatives to be able to maintain and update my own site?
Building the site is just 50% of the work. You will need to keep it running and working to gain income, traffic and website success. If you do not prepare for these cases, all your hard work will go to waste. So, be sure to have control over everything related to your site.
Asking the right questions and seeking the correct information when you outsource a web developer can provide you with a better picture. Remember, this is your site you are working on, so you better be on top of everything. You should know every twist and turn. Knowing all the necessary information about your site can prepare you in case unexpected issues arise.