Cefa.us was looking for a new design for their site that was updated, but still user friendly. The new design incorporated several elements of their old site, but with a fresher feel. Custom programming for this site included custom widgets, and a private members-only resource area. Visit Cefa.us
Author: Rebecca Smallwood
How to Choose a Web Developer
Hiring someone to make your website is a decision fraught with pitfalls. It’s imperative that you do your homework beforehand, because making a hasty decision can end up in loss of time and money. Some things to keep in mind while researching potential web developers:
- Are they able to solve your particular problem? Nobody wants “just a site” — you probably want a site that brings in clients, sells a product, or that has improved Google ranking. Web development is about more than just making a site; it’s about finding the solution to whatever problems a client has. If your web developer isn’t looking at your situation from that viewpoint, then look elsewhere.
- Check out their portfolio. Does their design aesthetic match with yours? Do you like the work they’ve done in the past?
- Do they have knowledge in the latest web technologies and design standards? Be concerned if your developer doesn’t seem to know what HTML5, responsive design, or jQuery are.
- Are they familiar with social media? You will need a web developer that can tie into social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, etc. and knows how best to integrate your site with those technologies.
- Do they have experience with SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? All sites need to be programmed with a specific focus on SEO. If Google and the other site engines can’t find your site, then your clients can’t find you!
- Read their testimonials, and ask for referrals. You want to know that this person delivers on what they promise.
- Communication is key. Are they able to clearly communicate? Are they professional in their responses, and do they get back to you quickly? One of the biggest complaints that many people have about their web developers is that they disappear or don’t communicate well enough.
- Do they have a well-written contract? Never do a web development project without a contract that clearly states the scope of the project, and the payment structure.
- Can they fit you into their schedule? Any project should have a projected start and end point, and your web developer should be able to give you some idea of milestones and when they will be met.
- Is their price in line with your budget? Developers will usually offer either an hourly rate or a flat-fee price. Either might be suitable for you, depending on the project in question. Make certain that you fully understand what you are paying for, whether it’s hourly or flat-fee.
- Will they be around for the long term? If you need someone to assist with the site over the long run, then you will want to find a web developer that is willing to sign a maintenance contract with you.
Reasons NOT to pick a specific developer:
- On price alone. Too many of my clients have made that mistake in the past, before coming to me; they chose to go with the cheapest option, and unfortunately, you often get what you pay for in this business. People who go with this option often end up with site code that is gibberish or unusable, and difficult to update.
- He’s your high-school-aged nephew. Web developers hear this a lot: “My nephew knows some HTML, and will make a site for me for free!” You have to decide if you want a free, amateur site made by someone with no schooling or no experience, or one by someone who has been doing this for a while. Ask yourself this — would you hand your car over to just anybody to fix, even if it was free? If not, then why would you hand over your business’s online presence to just anybody?
- They have no website or portfolio. This should be a big red flag, because it suggests that they have no experience. Don’t let their first foray into web development be your mistake.
Mark Spivey of DetailsOfMyLife.net contacted us to do a large revamp of their site. He had the design from a design shop, but was having difficulty having a programmer that could implement it. The new design involved major modifications to the overall appearance, a responsive design, and the ability for user’s to submit their own content. Visit DetailsOfMyLife.net
Microtech Scientific was looking for a complete refacing of their old site, which was dated looking and difficult to read. In addition, they wanted e-commerce capabilities. We implemented an e-commerce solution for them, with many custom programming changes (user lists, past shopping lists). Their site is easy to use, beautiful, and functional. (Design by Kiran Lovejoy) Visit the Site
I couldn’t be more pleased with the way my site re-launch turned out. Rebecca was great every step of the way; she was easy to work with, reached every goal we set for the site, and did so on time and with exceptional quality. I highly recommend her for any web work you need!
I’d have to say Rebecca is the most efficient, easy going, web designer out there. She communicates effectively and gets the job done. Its as simple as click, click, BAM, and the job is complete and your up and running. I would definitely recommend her services to anyone who wants to work with an approachable computer wiz who gets results.
Rebecca has provided me with brilliant service time and time again, going over and above what I expected from her. She has a fantastic breadth of knowledge and expertise, and I would never hesitate to work with her again in the future.
Rebecca partnered with our designer and built a fantastic website for our small neighborhood organization! It was important for us to have control over the content, to have flexibility and to be able add functionality later. Most importantly, we had to get a site up quickly – as we were working against an event deadline. Rebecca nailed it! I so appreciate the time she took to walk me through all the functionality so that I was able to maintain our site after she launched the site. She was accessible as I had questions in the weeks after we launched the site. Even several months into our launch, she is very quick to answer questions via email and make small tweaks that help us when unexpected needs crop up. I’m completely impressed that we were able to launch our site so quickly, especially given that all of our business was conducted via email or phone. She’s savvy and professional, get her while you can!
Admiral Neighborhood Organization
Excellent, outstanding, spectacular and magnificent are only a few of the words I’d use to describe Rebecca and the quality of her work. Prompt and attention to detail are also to be included in her qualities. We think of her as our “outsourced – in house” web builder and revel in the knowledge that we have such talent on our team.
Rebecca developed an outstanding website for me and helped me to understand how to use WordPress to create a blog and update my site. Whenever I contact Rebecca with questions, she responds promptly and is exceptionally friendly and helpful. Not only is she a pleasure to interact with, she always had exactly the answer I need, no matter how confused and lost I am! Rebecca has deep content knowledge in her field and knows how to simply and clearly explain information for those of us who are not as well versed in the terminology and programs. I am very impressed with Rebecca’s work and would hire her again in a heartbeat! If you have a need for the services that Rebecca provides, I recommend her most highly and doubt that you would find anyone else more qualified and easy to work with.
Rebecca has been our programming consultant for seven years at L.A. Youth, a small independent non-profit teen newspaper in Los Angeles. During this time she has rescued us from my ignorance more times than I can count. I’m ostensibly in charge of our website, but in practice that means I do what Rebecca tells me to do, including not worry when it’s no big deal and “sit tight” when she says she’ll figure it out. And figure it out, she does. Quickly and usually with a tip to make sure the problem won’t occur again or she fixes it in a way that prevents it from happening again. Another of her “best attributes” is that she’s able to work with someone who has very little programming knowledge and translate solutions so that I can understand and implement them. And she’s always incredibly patient when I need the simplest things explained. I cannot recommend her work highly enough.
Mike Fricano, Managing Editor
Our website needed a facelift, both with the function and the design. The old website we had was good but Rebecca transformed our new website into something great. Rebecca worked closely with us and our graphic designer to turn our vision into a reality. With Rebecca’s help and guidance, we added many new features we didn’t have before, like a Blog and Shop she created from scratch. She was always available for us and returned emails and calls promptly. She sat with us and instructed us on how to make changes to content ourselves and explained the back end in a way we felt like we could understand and handle. Even after the project was complete she remained a great go-to person when we had questions. Her price was fair and we received excellent service. We would definitely recommend her and will use her in the future if need be.
Milkin' Mamas Breast Milk Donation
Alice Toth & Keri Pommerenk