Managing Your Clients Expectations As a Web Developer

When you’re a freelance web designer or developer, one of the biggest challenges you worry about is how to manage and keep up with all your different client’s expectations. Being that your main purpose is to solve the challenges brought on by business, it’s understandable that you would worry about such a thing. All businesses encompass the need for a website that will help them make a sale, thus your prime motivation is to make a web site that will help them make that sale. It’s a tough job and stressful, but completely doable.

What is important to present to all of your clients is your understanding of their vision, business-wise and aesthetically, as well as being able to give them the website in the allotted amount of time. Your promises will be sought after and highly regarded if you show that you completely understand and complete your tasks on time. However, failure to do so will hurt you tremendously and you may end up looking for a new profession.

Your biggest commitments and priorities are centered on your communication, goals and the sharing of ideas with your clients. Much of your talent may come from your knowledge in web design tools, developer tools, trends and other issues that your clients will simply not know much about, and it’s your job to fill them in.

When you’re hired to do a web development or design job, your client doesn’t expect you to know about their field or specialized niche, but if they are willing to share, you should listen. It will help you in the long run if you have an understanding of what they are about.

Negotiations: Sometimes a client may ask you to enlarge their logo, add Flash and every other bell and whistle that can be included. Business owners are all about their business, brand and their vision, so obviously they are going to want the best, even if it’s not right. That’s where your knowledge and appreciation for design comes in. You will need to explain to them why or why not this will work, in easy-to-understand terminology. Not to say that they are dumb, but they aren’t web developers. With your knowledge, you need to design what is best for your client, their business and the website. If you think what they want is just wrong, research it first and come up with the best suitable answer for why it won’t work, and always have an alternative.

When to let go: If you can negotiate appropriately, you will find solutions that fits both you and your clients. The ultimate goal is to have your client walk away happy. After you’ve presented why certain things in web development or design will work and why some won’t by outlining the facts, they will see you as someone who is honest and trustworthy and they are more apt to be completely satisfied.

However, it’s important to remember that your clients are the ones that pay the bill, and when it’s all said and done it really doesn’t matter what you think might work better. You just have to bite the bullet. Offering your knowledge usually will persuade them into the right direction with tons of admiration for your suggestions.

How to Choose the Right Web Development Company

You suddenly find yourself in need of a web development company to help you build the next killer application out there to topple all others. Maybe you’re trying to bid this work out for your employer as part of your responsibilities, or maybe it’s your own idea for a company you want to start. Either way, you need a professional to get involved to help you steer the way.

How do you make such a huge decision? While building a web application or website for a business is a lot cheaper than building on offline business, the charges can still add up. Add in the cost of hosting, servers, security, and bandwidth and you can very easily go from budgeting “just a few thousand” to needing many more resources. To help you avoid this type of situation, here are a few tips from a seasoned web application developer:

1. Scoping is everything!
Scoping a project is the most important thing you can do when getting bids out for a website. It’s easy to say that you want a site that “let’s a user upload pictures”, but the reality is that a programmer needs much more information. Just as you wouldn’t expect an engineer that designs cars to work off of “it needs to have four wheels”, you also can’t expect someone to understand exactly what you want when you are too vague.

The easiest way to scope any piece of work is to think of the site in terms of what a “user” can do. What is a user? It’s everyone and anyone that can conceivably use what you’re going to build. How do they upload images? How do they register for the site? Do they pay for the site, or do you have ads? How do you as an administrator delete, edit, or modify what a user uploads? These are the types of questions that a programmer will ask, and unless you have a solid answer your costs can quickly spiral.

2. You get what you pay for
It might sound trite to say, but do you really expect someone to build you a “Google killing” website for only $500? If you don’t have a realistic view of how many hours it takes to build an app you should stop what you’re doing right now. Sure, you know a 15 year old kid who can setup a blog, but how about someone who can guide you in the process of building a scalable app that can support millions of users in a secure and stable way?

While outsourcing is a very popular way of “saving”, also know that a lower hourly rate doesn’t mean a lower project cost. It’s often times much better to pay a real pro $100 an hour vs. hiring an outsourced team for $10 an hour because the pro knows exactly how to get it done. Think about any home project you’ve ever done. Sure, it looks easy to install tile when you watch a home improvement show, but when it comes down to it, it’s probably better in the long term to just pay for the work.

3. Think “Agile”
Agile is a web development process that is meant to get quick releases done on a regular basis. This is the best way to structure any web development process because it let’s you stretch the cost over time and ramp up. You can launch a website with “the basics” and then continue to add on functionality over time. This is in stark contrast to trying to get a 100% perfect product out the first time – it’s hard as hell to do!

Agile development also gives you the ability to get real users into your site over time to get real world feedback. This can dramatically alter how you development – maybe you find out that the super cool feature you want is something that no one else does. This turns into a better road map of where you’re going.

There’s much more information on how you can approach a web project, but if you think about these three items you’re a lot farther than most “pie in the sky” dreamers who think they’ll hit it big

Things to Consider When Choosing a Web Development Company

When you make the decision to create a website, you have two choices. You can forge ahead and get your hands dirty with all of the new technology and coding languages out there today, or you can hire a professional team that will be able to do the job for you. If you have the technical knowhow and you don’t mind taking the time to develop a site, then you can do it on your own.

Most people who own a business don’t have the time or the skill to create a great looking site, though. You have to consider far more than just the functionality of the site. You also have to think about the overall design and color scheme, as well as how you can incorporate your branding. Hiring a professional who can handle all of these things and more is often going to help you save time and money, and reduce the frustration that you feel.

Of course, you can’t choose just any company to handle the job, though. You have to make sure that you are working with a high quality team of professionals that can offer all of the services you need. Here are some of the things that you will want to consider and look for when you are making your choice for a web development company.

Design

You’ll want to make sure that the company knows more than just coding. They have to know how to develop an aesthetically pleasing site that is unique yet still familiar enough that your visitors will have no trouble with the navigation. In addition, they should work with you to find the best methods of incorporating your logo and other branding so that your visitors know that it is your site as soon as they arrive.

SEO Services

One of the most important things for a website today is SEO. You need to have high quality SEO if you are going to have a visible site. Some people are able to do the writing and handle all of the other SEO tasks on their own. However, it can be beneficial to hire a company that knows how to incorporate SEO into your site for you. The company that you hire should be able to develop a site that is going to be SEO friendly for you so that the coding and other elements do not interfere with your ranking.

Customer Service

One of the things that is going to be very important when you are choosing a web development company is the customer service that the company offers. If you want to have a good working relationship, then the company needs to have a good customer service department. You can look for testimonials from former clients, and you can speak with a representative of the company to see how they operate. If they don’t have time for you before you hire them, you can be relatively sure that they won’t have time for you after you are a customer.