Checklist To Choose A Developer For The First Time

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Tell me, what happens when you take your car for servicing to a local mechanic or the company service centre? Sometimes you already know what’s wrong with the car and inform the same while most of the times the servicing guy will add on to the existing issues pointed out. In either cases, you still remain the one who actually doesn’t know what’s really wrong with the car. You are the only one who isn’t aware of the technicalities, really. It’s all greek to you and time wastage isn’t recommended. So, at the end of it you end up paying more and accepting the terms of the service centre.

This situation is exactly the same when it comes to working with developers – freelance or otherwise.

The developers are know-it-alls when it comes to coding and having relevant knowledge to create a website. And since it is all technical, you can go to the extent of questioning them with the overall functioning but nobody knows how much time and money really goes into writing codes unless you’re a developer yourself or there’s a friend guiding you to crack this ‘code’.

Any which way, it isn’t a pleasant experience. (plain content making to a blog like this :P)

So, you must know the URL you clicked on to open this article belongs to a website that has seen three developers working on it (+1 who made my profile site preetihoon.com). No, not because I could afford three but for the only most frustrating reason I came to terms with after working with the first two. They lacked the right attitude. Now, that’s something very subjective isn’t it? Who exactly decides the definition of “right attitude”? I, as a Service Hirer, too fall under the lens where the Service Provider can adjudge my attitude as not okay. Everybody holds the right to form opinions, after all.

But it gets interesting when I talk to people and they share the sentiment. One of my friends, Saurabh Mishra, prepares to launch his website, was warned of such troublemakers that made him turn to a referral.

What also makes me put down this checklist is due to the amount of time and mind I had to unwantedly invest in these developers for just converting my blog (with third-party hosting) into an independent website. And I really wish you don’t have to go through the torturous set-up some of the freelance developers create that leaves you with no option but to go with what they suggest and think is right for you. It’s a one-sided blind trust game you cannot not play.

So, here’s a checklist to land yourself with a good developer and for me, after having dealt with four for the same scope of work, everything boils down to all of the following–

UNDERSTANDING OF SUBJECT

You have to have some knowledge of a website creation and relevant information before you begin to work with a developer. Thankfully, I had a background working on websites and could talk at a level where jargons were not a problem but if you don’t have basic knowledge, the developer comes to know of it in the first conversation itself and would easily take advantage of it – either in terms of charging you or delaying timelines of delivery.

REFERENCE

NEVER begin to work with a developer who is an absolute stranger. Go through a trustworthy reference. The third developer who finally finished off my site was through a reference and it worked for me.

REQUIREMENT DOC

A list of requisites you are wanting in the desired website is generally asked by some developers. Now know the trick. You can never know how & what all you will need in your website till the time it starts to take shape. The doc is asked in written to restrict your wants that may occur with time. Once you give your requirements in writing, it is sealed and the developer will not move left or right of it. My second developer did this to me and I was taken aback. Never work with a developer who asks for a requirement doc – tell him you want flexible way of working.

PHONE CALL COMMUNICATION

You will find this issue a lot common in freelancers. Since they are on their own, they work at their own disposal and are not really fond of phone calls. They will either ask you to mail or be on chat. Two reasons being, firstly, they want everything in writing so that if something goes wrong they can reproduce it on your face (you can do the same too, in fact) and secondly, they just simply don’t want to be disturbed and won’t take calls even if you die doing so. I suggest you make this point very clear right in the beginning. Not taking important calls sucks!!

COST/PAYMENT

There are no fixed costs of making a website and you’ll find every range in it. They all have their own price tags and it’s an open bargain. Just imagine, the second developer was charging me 5,000 bucks to put a plain GA code and I shared this honestly with the third developer. He laughed it off and charged me nothing for it.

Try not to pay your developer before you are satisfied with the results. If you pay him in advance, there’s a possibility he stops taking you seriously and merely drags your work to the finish line. There are developers who take money only after the work is through – my third developer being one of them.

PASSWORDS

In case the developer wasn’t your friend or a stranger, change all the passwords immediately after he is done working on the site. You are the only one to be blamed if anything goes wrong to your site once the payment is done and you have seen off the developer. Also, make sure you take all the related documents of your website before closure.

GA ADMIN RIGHTS

Google Analytics code must be generated from your personal gmail id and NOT from developer’s. I noticed this issue with my previous website (preetihoon.com). The GA code was generated by developer from his id since I had no knowledge of it and he owned the admin rights. I was only given the right to see and apprehend the data and nothing beyond. He had the right to delete my existence any time. So, I removed his GA code and replaced it with mine off lately. Of course, I lost some data but that’s okay. Make sure you don’t make this mistake.

ATTITUDE

And I call it the missing “right attitude”. If the developer working on your website does not own the work and shows signs of treating it as just another task by not educating you in the process or helping you genuinely with the completion of the site, it is your clue to call your terms off and never work with that person again. A developer with such attitude is working only for money and not to create any value –not even to himself, actually. Moreover, if he’s expecting you to behave with him in a certain way and push his own unbalanced psychological state on you, it’s better to quietly move out of the work relation there and then and continue with your search. You will surely find the worthy one.

All the best!

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