I think every business that does online marketing in some ways needs a few key people on the team. You need a web designer. So much of the online world requires excellent design. You need it for email, your website, social media and more. And you’re always going to want to make tweaks and adjustments.
You also want to have a good we developer on your team. There are a number of issues that can arise with your website, email, hosting and all kinds of things. It’s good to have a developer that knows what they’re doing. Plus when you make changes to your website you want to have a developer that is a good fit. And if you’re doing a website redesign, a good developer can be huge.
Here is what I look for in a good web developer.
1. Good With Projecting Required Time
One of the challenges with online work is that it’s hard to project timelines for projects. It doesn’t matter if it’s a website design or a new software, things always seem to go beyond the initial deadline. I don’t have the answer as to why that’s the case, but that is what happens.
It’s good to work with a developer that understands that this is always the case. Giving realistic timelines with some built-in slack for unforeseen issues is good.
As business owners, it’s also our job to realize that things do come up during projects. We can’t demand crazy timelines. It’s important to set deadlines and to keep people motivated, but we have to be realistic as well when it comes to setting initial deadlines. And it’s important to break big projects into smaller projects so everyone is motivated to reach each milestone.
2. Good With Following Checklists
A developer might complete a web page and the business owner might have a few things to say that need to be adjusted. That’s fine. The best developers know to add those items to their checklist. This way when the next page is designed they check for those things before showing the business owner.
My boss used to make me do this when I managed a business. I would miss something the first time and he made sure I didn’t come back in his office the next time without checking for that item.
You have to create checklists and keep them up-to-date.
3. Able To Communicate Technical Concepts
This one is really hard. We’re all wired a little differently. We’re all very deeply involved in our little worlds. What is common sense for us is not common sense to people that don’t do what we do everyday. The really valuable people are the ones that are able to communicate effectively so that others can understand.
In this case, it’s finding a developer that can explain to you what is going on with what they’re working on. You want to know at a basic level what’s happening so you can maybe help or just to know what they’re working on. You don’t need all the details, but a basic understanding is good.
Developers that can make things easier to understand are worth their weight in gold.
4. Consistent With Their Schedule
Consistency is what people really want. It’s nice to have a superstar, but it’s frustrating to have a superstar that isn’t consistent. One day they could be up and the next day they’re way down.
You want someone that is consistently good. You can rely on them and they’ll be there when you need them.
For a small business, this doesn’t mean that you need a developer to be ready immediately when you email them. But it is nice if you know that they will always check their email from 8:00-10:00 AM each day. And if you know that they’ll respond to you within 24 hours every time. And that they’ll let you know when they’re out of the office.
That consistency sets the expectations and gives you peace of mind.
5. Curious About New Technology
With anything in life, you need to keep learning just to stay current. It’s very true for developers. They’re always having to learn new things in their niches, but also new things in the development world. You want someone that is naturally curious about new things. You want someone that is an experimenter.
6. An Expert In One Or Two Fields (But Not The Only Expert In That Field)
Jack-Of-All-Trades is great, but you really want someone that is an expert in one area. If your website is on WordPress, you want someone that works with WordPress all the time. This means that they will be quick with handling your site and that they’ll give you the best of the best.
But you also want someone that doesn’t do things their own way. You want to be able for someone else to come in and pick up where your current developer left off if something happens to the first developer. This is why it’s good to work with well-known software like WordPress.
Patience is a great trait for anyone that you work with. Developers need patience and it’s amazing when they have it. They take the time to explain things. They’re patient when we try to explain what we want to them. It’s always a struggle when you explain something that you do everyday to someone that doesn’t. Someone that has the patience to do so is a person worth hiring.
The reason this topic is important is that there is a shortage of developers out there. The demand for them is growing like crazy, but the number of available developers doesn’t seem to be keeping pace. This means that when you find a good one you’ll need to treat them right so they keep working with you. Hopefully the traits above help you find a good one because having a bad developer on your team can lead to major headaches and even lost business.