Since 70% of small businesses in South Africa fail in the first 5 years, researchers have found planning is one of the biggest reasons a small business goes under. If you know you need a website, you might rush to get one together so you don’t fall behind. Failing to plan for the right website or the right web programmer can make a difference in your sales.

A great website can be like having a 24-hour marketing team. It can be like having a 24-hour superstore that can sell any of your items on a moment’s notice to any customer who needs them. A web programmer can make sure your site’s e-commerce platform runs smoothly and maintains your customers’ trust.

If you’re in the market for a web programmer, asking the right questions ensures you get the custom services you need. Ask these 8 questions to get the site you need.

1. Do They Outsource Any Work?

This can be the most important questions you ask any web programmer you’re thinking about hiring. While your decision to work with them shouldn’t be contingent upon the answer to this question, you should consider the consequences.

A dispersed team can allow your business to be handled by the best of the best or it can make your project take forever. With your team scattered all over the place, you might have a tough time waiting for a response about a certain element of your site.

If the company or programmer that you hire has been in the business long enough, they’ll have worked out all of the kinks long ago.

2. How Much Experience Do They Have?

If your site is the first your web programmer has used a certain technology or code language, you might not want to be their guinea pig. If you’re using a new technology, ask about their deployment plan and what they could compare it to.

Everyone has a first experience with any technology. Just because your programmer lacks experience, doesn’t mean they will fail. The only thing you should focus on in this case is figuring out how they’ve overcome similar issues and succeeded.

3. How Important Is Mobile-First To Them?

As mobile and tablet traffic has surpassed desktop traffic worldwide, it’s important that your customers are able to access your site on a mobile device. Being mobile first allows your site to be future proof.

A mobile responsive site should scale to desktop devices as well. It’s simply much easier to scale from mobile to desktop than to scale in the other direction.

4. What Kind Of CMS Are You Getting?

If your programmer is going to design your site with a WordPress or open source CMS, you’ll be able to find more people to run it in the future. You’ll also benefit from having access to customer service, code updates, and using a common and well-known interface. If you onboard new staff to add content, you’ll be able to easily find people who know the system.

If you get a proprietary system, you could have something custom-built for your brand. You might struggle to find people whose experience is compatible with working on this system if you need to make changes in the future. This could be a worthwhile trade-off if nothing on the market has what you need.

5. Is There A Warranty?

When you’re getting web programming work done, you usually have some feedback cycle to perfect your system. Once this cycle is finished, you’ll need to be working with the product for a while before you notice any major issues. Once you do, will your programmer help you fix them?

If the code breaks or your site crashes, you need to be able to get service when you need it. You could be losing thousands every minute your site is down. If you then have to write a check to fix broken code, it might not be worth the cost.

6. What’s The Pricing Schedule?

This should be straightforward. If your web programmer tends to evade your question, you should see a red flag. Your programmer should offer a straightforward hourly rate or a flat fee.

Either way, you should get an estimate with each one regarding how long the project will take. While there will be hiccups that could cause the project to take longer, if it drags on, cite the estimate offered by your programmer at the start.

If you get an estimated timeline, you should be able to see an estimated timeline for previous projects. See if you can get references for this. Ask about how long bug fixes took and how satisfied the other customer was.

Know that if you’re using a new technology that you could be dealing with lots of bugs trying to make systems compatible with one another.

7. Can They Explain Their Process?

Getting to know your developer’s process is essential to understanding how they plan to approach your project. Too many steps and processes could belie an urge to make the process drag on. Not enough detail could be indicative of the level of detail they’ll apply to your project.

8. Will You Own Everything?

By the end of the design process, you should have ownership to all of the design files and images related to your website. You should not only have access to the code base but also have propriety over it. Owning your code allows you the right to make changes when you need to.

A Web Programmer Needs To Communicate

The most important trait that your web programmer needs is good communication skills. If they explain their process, respond to messages promptly, and treat you with respect, you’ll be able to build something great together. A programmer you struggle to communicate with will be a struggle to succeed with.

If you’re ready to hire a programmer for your next project, contact us for tips to make sure you end up with a perfect fit.