The Ultimate Guide to Working with a Web Developer

TechCare has been building websites for small and medium businesses and clubs for over 21 years.  We have worked with highly detailed people, disorganized people, super nice people, not so nice people, tech-y people, non-technical people., etc.  We want your experience building your website to be the best experience that gets you jazzed-up about your business, that makes you want to pound the pavement and make more money and get more customers.  If you do it right, building your website can get you in that frame-of-mind right away.

Here are our recommendations on how to have an amazing experience with your website developer.

  1. Get your Registrar, Name Server, Hosting Account and Website Logins documented and tested.

    We know that you think you know your login to all of these accounts.  Just, please, before you send these over to your website developer, please actually log in and check each account first.  If you need help, your developer can help you with this.

  2. Change hosting plans if yours sucks.

    Sorry to be so blunt.  Hosting makes a huge difference.  Your website developer also probably feels comfortable with a host or two, and it will make the process go so much easier if they can get around easily. You want your designer to spend his or her time thinking of and creating amazing things on your website, not figuring out how to FTP in or install files on your server.  Also, some hosts are super fast and some are not so fast.  If you think all hosts are the same, you are mistaken. Some hosts include daily backups that are kept for over a month. Some plans include free SSL certificates and do the installation easily for you. Some plans keep your server software (i.e. PHP version) up to date and others let it languish.  Some hosting plans have great support and some know less than your grandmother or grandfather!  (Sorry grandparents!)

  3. Write down your Keyword Phrases

    What are keyword phrases? They are the words that you want to be found in Google on.  But, here is an exercise for you in addition to writing these down.  Google each phrase, Act like a customer.   Refine. Then submit your phrases to your website developer.

  4. Look at other websites you like and ones you don’t like and make a list about why you like or don’t like them

    This will help guide your website developer in design that will fit the look you are going for online. We are not mind readers! Don’t make us guess what you are thinking, show us what you are thinking! Do you like a dark website? A corporate website? An artistic website? A relaxing website?  If you have an idea of what you would like to see in the end and are able to communicate this to your web developer, you will end up with a better product in the end.

  5. Write down all of the things that you want your website to do that it is not doing. Write down all of the things that your website is doing that you want it to continue doing. Write down all of the things that you don’t like that it is doing.

    If you are redesigning your website, now is the time to make changes that will improve your site overall.  This is the time to add functionality because your website will be “hidden” while it is being built so you will have time to test and tweak when it is not live.  If there are things that you would like to happen on your website, bring this up to your website developer. You don’t need to know the fix or solution, you just need to know the result you are looking for.  An example of this would be going to the doctor. If you have a pain or don’t feel well, you don’t go to the doctor and tell them how it should be fixed.  You tell the doctor about what you would like to see rectified.  They figure out the best way to get you to that point.  This holds true for your website.  Don’t worry about figuring out what exactly needs to happen, just give the idea to your designer and let them offer up some creative solutions so that you get the result you are looking for!

  6. Get your content together

    This means get ready to write. Write about your business. Tell the world how amazing your company is!  Do you have downloads and PDFs? Get them organized.  If there is one place where website development slows down, this is the place. If you have text, forms, videos, PDF files, anything at all to post, get it organized and ready to go.

  7. Find or take photos for your website

    Images might be more important in some cases than your content on your website.  The images that a visitor will see will immediately trigger an emotional response to your website, and therefore your company.  You can choose to purchase or take your own images.  There are definitely reasons to purchase images, and reasons to take your own.  At TechCare, we almost always recommend taking your own images if you can and have the aptitude as opposed to purchasing images.  With regards to images on the Internet, please note that you are not allowed to “use” images you find on other website unless you have express permission to do so.  Instead, there are many ways to purchase images: one by one, with a monthly or yearly subscription, or using a “free” website where you give attribution.  If you have the wherewithal to take your own photos, we suggest purchasing the proper equipment and taking your own images. The proper equipment may include a light set, a backdrop, a gimbal, tripod, or other accessories.

  8. Write down all of your services or product categories

    If you can write down all of your services you offer and group them by category, this will help your website developer come up with a functional menu structure for your business.  When your menu structure reflects what you offer either service-wise or product-wise, you will let a visitor know they are in the right place right away, and help them to find what they are looking for right away.  The experience your visitors will have will be wonderful, and they will hopefully come back time and time again because your website is so easy to use!

  9. Trust what your website developer is telling you and doing for you.

    If your website developer is really up on the latest trends in the industry, trust them.  You may want to “undo” what they are telling you that you should do on your website, but then you are shortening the life of your website. If you can put into practice the current trends in website design, your website will have a longer life, saving your company money. In addition, visitors who are aware of the newest trends in web design will recognize that your company or organization is on the cutting edge, and they will most likely translate that feeling to your products or services. They may feel that if your website is super-up-to-date, then your services or products must be super-up-to-date as well!

  10. Be organized. Use Dropbox.

    If you have a lot of images, PDF files, information about products or services and these are not organized, be prepared to spend more money. We cannot stress enough how important being organized is.  Examples of being organized would be: make a folder for each page of the website and put that content in that folder, name your images something that makes sense, not img_6078.jpg, choose the images that are your favorite and send over only those.  If you are organized, you will have a better result for a simple reason: instead of your web designer being focused on figuring out what goes where, they can focus on making your website awesome for visitors.

  11. Be Nice.

    Being nice goes a long, long way.  We are pretty sure this holds true in most all situation, but dealing with your website developer it definitely makes sense.  If you are nice and pleasant and complimentary, you will get better service and overall, have a better experience and get a better website.  We have worked with all types of customers over the years and our favorite customers are the ones who are nice!