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If you are a business owner who is not an expert in Web development, finding someone you can trust to build your website is critical. To help with the vetting process, here are some questions to ask your would-be developers before making a decision.
1. What do you do? Developers should be able to explain what they do in terms you can understand. Don’t let them confuse and/or bore you into working with them.
2. Can you break down the process for me from start to end? Choose developers who use an iterative approach rather than a "one giant deliverable" or "waterfall" approach.
3. What are your goals for my website and how do you intend to accomplish them? Asking this forces them to outline their future plans. It’s important to know they have some.
4. Do you work predominantly with open-source or proprietary software? One of the main benefits of open-source software is being able to pick up where others left off. Should you choose a firm working with proprietary software, you may be locked in with that company for good.
5. How long will it take you to respond to e-mails? If you find yourself waiting awhile for answers, chances are your developer’s team has not been working on your site or has taken the project in a different direction.
6. Do you outsource? Web companies that outsource their projects tend to subscribe to the one-size-fits-all approach, and you are unlikely to get the custom work you desire.
7. Will my website be scalable? Your developer should be familiar with the combination of hardware/software needed to ensure full scalability so that your site doesn’t crash the instant it gets some traffic. Important systems like database clustering, memcache, query optimization, and others shouldn’t be foreign concepts to them.
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