There are many web developers around today.  Web Development has, in a sense, become a commodity.  People ranging from tech-geeks earning over one hundred thousand dollars a year all the way down to your neighbors kid know some some sort of web development.  There is one problem…  who do you want to design your website.

There are multiple things to consider:

What type of website do you need?

Do you need a simple Brochure website or a fully functional corporate or e-commerce website?  This is the first and most important question.  Without answering this, it will be impossible to gauge the following questions. 

Often times, customers don’t undestand the scope they will need.  Sometimes a customer thinks they will need a simple website, when in actuality, they need something much more complex.  More frequently, Customers think they need something complex, when they really need something very simple. 

In this case, a developer will be willing to meet with you to help you determine the correct path to take.  

What is your budget?

This is the second crucial question when figuring out what type of developer you need.  Do you have a large budget and are you willing to fork over a substantial portion for an established developer?  Often times this isn’t the case.  That doesn’t mean you can’t find quality.

There are many developers that are just as talented as the “big wigs,” they just don’t necessarily have as much exposure.  These developers are absolutely the best value.  They will take pride in their product – because they need it in their resume.  They will also be more willing to work with you on price and scope.

What is your timetable?

This needs to be established immediately after you decide on a developer.  Developers, like all artists, have a “primadonna” complex.  While they often create fantastic products, they march to the beat of their own drum.  If you don’t establish a timetable for your project, it is possible that your project will continually get delayed.  Don’t let this happen.  Establish a date or a set of dates in the beginning.  That being said, issues undoubtedly will arise in your project.  You may want additional features, etc.  This can push back the date, but not by to much.  

What are your hosting and domain requirements?

The worst thing on the planet is developing a website with a crappy host.  Find a host that is flexible.  Usually your developer will have a preference.  I’d suggest taking their opinion – after all, they know what they’re doing.  I personally prefer Dreamhost for smaller projects.  They are a great hosting company.  Whenever I have an issue, it is resolved quickly and thoroughly – usually within an hour!!!

What technology do you want to use?

This goes back to the developer question.  Don’t hire a PHP developer if you need It’s that simple.  At the end of the day, the end user won’t care what technology you’re using as long as it looks good, functions well, and is secure.  Keep that in mind.  If you have a higher budget, .net will probably be the better solution.  For smaller budgets, PHP and Ruby are great tools.

That’s it for part 1.  I will have part 2 very soon!