Web developers are here to make your website and application dreams come true, but that doesn’t mean you get a free ride.
Even before that first meeting, there’s some light, but important, prep work to be done.
It’s always good to thoroughly discuss your project internally to decipher what you think the end product should look like and what it should do. Not only will this better prepare you to describe your idea to your developer, but it will ensure your team is on the same page.
1. Separate the must-haves from the nice-to-haves.
We’re talking functionality and design here. Determine what your website or application needs to do to be valuable to you/the end user. Then, put together a wish list of extras. When you present these extras to the web developer, they’ll let you know which ones are easily achievable and which require a little more work to satisfy.
Demoing comparable sites and applications as a group can help you brainstorm and figure out what’s important to your stakeholders.
2. Seriously, think about the content.
Let’s say you’re having a new corporate website developed. On top of design and functionality, you’ll want to start thinking about those words, videos and photographs that fill the gaps.
You’ll need to know how much existing content can be ported over from your old site and decide who will be responsible for producing the new content.
3. Consider longevity.
What’s the long-term plan for your application or website? Do you expect your solution to live on as-is, or evolve and grow?
4. And on that note, who’s going to maintain it?
Consider whether your site or application requires maintenance or updates, and think about whether you’d like to have the ability to do this in-house. If you do, the web developer might have to deploy a content management system – which is something they should know from the start. If you’re having a custom application designed, this might mean adding an administration module that allows you to administer your database tables (to some extent), users and settings.
5. Do you have any marketing needs?
The line between web design and marketing can be blurry. If you’re not happy with your current brand or logo, or if you require a communication strategy, you might opt for a web developer with in-house marketing expertise. Otherwise, you might need to hire another firm to handle these requirements altogether.
6. Discuss your budget.
Get an idea of what your budget will be. If possible, communicate a ballpark figure to the developer before ending the meeting so that they can craft a proposal and estimate that respects any budgetary restraints.