June 17, 2019 Last updated June 14th, 2019 1,902 Reads share

The Complete Guide to Hiring the Right Website Development Agency

The Complete Guide to Hiring the Right Website Development AgencyImage Credit:

Irrespective of the industry your business caters to, technology is an integral part of your core business model. As all businesses are technology driven, hiring the right website development agency is a function directly related to long-term business success.

An increase in the demand for skilled developers has resulted in the shortage of programmers who fit the description of being the best.

Additionally, hiring developers is a cost and time intensive process. You’ll end up spending a huge amount of time in sourcing talent, vetting them and hiring the ones who suit your business needs.

For bootstrapped startups, doing this on a budget is an even bigger challenge.

If you know the details that go into tackling this task; what to look for and what steps to follow, then you could breeze through the process.

The 4 key I’m covering in this article are:

#1. How to hire developers online?

#2. Hiring a full-time or a freelance developer

#3. Essential tips for hiring a website developer

#4. The cost of hiring a developer

Most commonly when companies look to hiring developers, they search online. Nearly 3 million options come up when you search for “hire a developer” on Google.

Here’s the catch: All results that show up on the first page of Google are not the best options for you. Ranking on search is a result of SEO done right and does not always guarantee a top-notch talent quality.

While hiring a developer online has become easier, vetting the available talent pool is remains a tough job. So how would you get access to the right developers for your small and medium business or startup?

You should know the options available and make informed decisions based on your business requirements and budget.

The options:

You have a wide range of candidates to choose from, including freelancers and full-time developers. If you’re looking for freelancers there are a number of platforms to connect you with your potential hires. There are consultancies who help connect business owners with developers. You can also choose from hiring a full-time resource or outsource this job to a website development agency. Hiring offshore developers significantly reduces your developer costs and gives you access to a wider pool of talent.

Where can you hire developers from?

  • Freelancing websites such as Upwork, Freelancer, PeoplePerHour, and Guru have numerous developers across a wider range of budgets. The issue being, choosing a developer from all these options is equivalent to finding a needle in a haystack. These markets cater to freelancers across multiple industries and are not specific to website, software and app developers.
  • Freelancing platforms such as Gigster and Toptal vet the talent for you, thereby making your selection task easier. They are a level above the general freelancing websites. You can hire freelancers on a contract-to-hire basis. This works ideal if your requirement is a single developer. If you’re hiring a team of developers, this falls short as there are no project management offerings from these platforms.
  • Developer-specific communities such as Stack Overflow and Github serve as an open-repository for coders. They are a go-to-place for developers to show their talent. Simultaneously, the recruiters get an idea about their coding skills. With these communities, you get access to the best coding talent across the world.
  • References from your network and recommendations from your connections in the industry who’ve developed a website or web application could give you a head start. If you come across a website that you like, reach out to their marketing team or the owner for a reference to the development team. You can also get references from networking with your peers.
  • Professional communities such as LinkedIn are becoming a good source for recruiting talent. The past experience, as well as the recommendations,  are helpful to determine the credibility of the developer. If you’re looking to hire a team of developers, Clutch reviews will assist in determining if the company fits your requirements.

#2. Hiring a full-time or freelance developer?

There is a mind-boggling number of developers available on the freelancing web portals. What is better – hiring a freelancer or a full-time web developer?

The benefits of hiring a full-time developer or a website development agency outweigh the cost of acquiring them. The accountability that a full-time developer or a website developing agency brings is critical in the long-run. There is an ongoing relationship with the developer and/or the team of developers which is invaluable.

Hiring a freelancer has a greater financial benefit as they’re cheaper than a full-time resource. However, you need to weigh the cost and the benefits associated with hiring them before making the decision.

Pros and cons of hiring a freelance developer

In the tech industry, just like anywhere else you get what you pay for. Throwing peanuts will attract monkeys. The low cost of hiring freelancers’ looks tempting, the uncertainties and the hidden costs add up to the bill.

The list of things you should consider before hiring a freelance developer:

#1. Reliability – If you hire a great developer who isn’t reliable, your development efforts will be negatively impacted. Reliability is the biggest issue when hiring a developer. People commonly inflate their accomplishments on a freelancing platform. Look at their portfolio and talk to their references before deciding.

#2. Lack of project management – Coordinating with a single developer is comparatively easy but when it comes to hiring a team, communication and coordination is the key to a successful outcome.

#3. Vetting the talent – The problem of hiring from freelancing platforms is the minimal vetting of the talent. You end up doing the heavy lifting of assessing the wide pool of developers.

Hiring a full-time developer – remote or in-house?

In the past, companies used to mostly hire in-house developers. With advances in technology, communication and project management tools, remote hiring has emerged as a viable alternate solution. For an early stage startup, hiring a remote developer is financially feasible. The advantages are:

#1. Access to a wide pool of talent, without being restrained by geographical boundaries.

#2. The flexibility of working remotely for a better work-life balance. This leads to a higher degree of work satisfaction and is lucrative for potential developers.

#3. Cost effective, because of the difference in remuneration rates based on the location of the developer.

#3. Essential tips for hiring a website developer

#1. Define the requirements

Before hiring a developer, be clear about what you are actually hiring them for. A clear picture of the requirement and being able to communicate those specifications to potential hires is instrumental in finding the right candidate and getting them to apply for the position.

For a technical entrepreneur specifying the requirements is a simple task. For a non-tech founder, they would have to do the homework to detail the specifics that you want the product to contain. These include the features and functionalities, the tech stack and the programming language in which you want the website to be coded.

As a general rule, for building a robust web application such as an e-commerce website or a blog for a business, WordPress and PHP would be ideal. If you’re building a web app with high-performance real-time transactions and for technologies such as blockchain and chatbots, Python or Node.js developers are better suited. If you need a scalable software that can be iterated with time, hire Ruby developers.

To have a better insight on what you want, chalk out the wireframes and jot down the functionalities. This could be as simple as an outline of the website on paper. Make sure you go through this crucial step as it will help you gain more clarity on the end objectives you are looking to accomplish.

#2. Screening the developers

Hiring developers is trickier than hiring for conventional jobs. The resumes are not the best indicators of their skill-sets. A simple list of projects they’ve worked on fails to give you an inkling of the actual performance. Although conducting individual interviews will be time intensive, you cannot afford to skip this.

Additionally, check their portfolio, ask for case studies, client testimonials and talk to their past customers.

#3. Shortlisting of applicants

After the initial screening, a coding test is the best way to find the right candidate. If you’re a non-technical founder, there is software available in the market to create coding tests. The results are automated evaluation of the test to help you shortlist the suitable candidate.

#4. Selecting the right candidate

A prerequisite for knowing the developer or the team you’re hiring is to have one-on-one interaction. If you’re in different locations, this can be in the form of a video conference. Seamless communication between the two parties is important for everyone to be on the same page.

The developer will embark with you on the entrepreneurial journey, which is why you should look for soft skills such as teamwork, the ability to communicate and self-motivation.

#4. The cost of hiring a developer

The cost involved in hiring a developer varies by a huge margin. The final cost depends on the following factors:

#1. What is the tech stack and which programming language are you using?

Hiring a developer who codes in a popular coding language is cheaper than hiring a non-so-common language developer. Also, hiring a front-end and back-end developer will be budget friendly as compared to a full-stack developer.

#2. The scope of work

The scope includes the duration of the project, the features to be included in the minimal viable product and the integrations to be added to the website. The more elaborate the scope, the longer the time duration and the higher the costing.

#3. Geographical location

Hiring a full-time developer in a developed country has a multifold additional cost as compared to hiring remote and freelancing talent. An offshore website development company would be much more budget friendly as compared to hiring a full-time in-house resource.

Wrapping up

You may find the cost of acquiring skilled coders steep, however, they will save you from the risk of developing a bloated website or web application. Partnering with a team of qualified coders by hiring a website development agency is the right strategic decision for a business owner.

Prasit Bhattacharya

Prasit Bhattacharya

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