5 Factors for Choosing a Developer or Designer

Computer software programmers and website designers may be an extension of your online store’s advertising and branding team because these professionals have a substantial quantity of influence on how your ecommerce website looks and functions.

Deciding on an individual freelancer or service to perform development or design work should consist of considering things like particular platform expertise, the service provider’s physical location, responsiveness, speed and charging practices, as well as the instrument set the service provider will use to communicate or handle requests.

In this guide, I will offer five factors for selecting a programmer or designer.

1. Platform Experience

Even if you’re just starting out in ecommerce, it’s most likely a great idea to pick an ecommerce platform before choosing a professional programmer or designer.

Not all ecommerce platforms will be the same. For instance there are significant differences between launching and managing an internet retail website built on Magento or on Volusion. For some online retail companies, Magento will, for instance, be a much smarter option, though other ecommerce merchants will almost surely be better served with Volusion, Shopify, or, possibly, LemonStand. All these are great ecommerce platforms, but some do certain things better than others.

As soon as you have decided on an ecommerce platform seek a programmer, designer, or service which has specific platform expertise. While almost any great PHP programmer could work on a Magento website or a LemonStand website, it may take that developer a substantial period of time to become knowledgeable about the platform. It wouldn’t be unreasonable that a veteran developer would need something like 40 hours or longer, merely to become familiar enough with Magento to successfully write an extension.

Even once a programmer has worked with a platform it may take time to get acquainted with a particular theme or implementation. Frequently this is 10 hours or longer.

Some ecommerce platforms have developer certifications or partner programs. If this is true for your ecommerce platform, look at accredited programmers or agencies first.

2. Physical Location

The world wide web has made it possible to work from nearly anywhere. Many successful companies have group members spread around the planet. The implication is that an internet retailer in america should easily have the ability to work with a programmer in India or Uzbekistan without difficulty. Conversely, an ecommerce merchant in Spain may have no worries about working with a designer or programmer in Canada or the USA.

Experience, however, has shown me that even in the online era working with far off programmers and designers can cause projects to fail. One of the crucial factors is that the time zone. Unless the programmers or designers are prepared to work on your own time — meaning normal business hours where you’re — there will most likely be problems.

As a particular example, envision a that you are having trouble with the website at one in the afternoon your time on a Friday, but your programmer is nine hours ahead, so that your email asking help comes in at 10 p.m. her time. Your developer may be asleep or she may be out to dinner or in film. It may be hours or even days before getting a response.

3. Responsiveness

Physical location isn’t the one thing that may impact how responsive your design or development contractor is.

Some development or design companies are great about getting back to you immediately, while some — often individual freelancers — probably won’t be.

Sometimes, this may not matter much. Imagine a designer developing a new graphic design for a future website upgrade. If this designer does not respond immediately, it’s probably not a big deal. But if your site is suddenly broken and shoppers can’t finish their orders, you want a development partner that’s offered in a minute’s notice.

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4. Hourly Rates and Billing

Hourly rates vary greatly for designers and programmers; be sure to get a few estimates. As a rule of thumb expect to pay about $120.00 per hour for a programmer and about $60.00 per hour for designer in 2013.

If you’re selecting a service provider for a fixed number of hours, you will want to have the ability to carry over any leftover hours. For instance, if you contract for 20 hours per month, you ought to regularly cover those twenty hours. If, however, in 1 month you only use 15 hours, you need to have 25 hours out there within the next month. You will still pay the same monthly. Do not expect a discount, but you should have the ability to carry those hours over. Also there’ll be a some limit to the amount of hours which it is possible to save up.

You’ll also need the option to have the ability to buy extra hours in a given month.

Lastly, find out how you’ll be charged for project management hours. In case you have contracted for 20 hours of work it might be that as many as 4 or 5 of these hours will be consumed in job management time that’s time spent talking to you, reading your mails, and communication with other design or development team members. Some companies will charge you for these hours just like any other time, some companies will charge a lesser rate, and other companies won’t charge specifically for project management, but will likely want more per hour for growth time.

5. Tool Set

Often a programmer, designer, or service will have a certain set of software tools used to communicate questions, share job related information, or provide status updates. This tool set is going to be something which you will use very often. Be certain it works for you.

As a rule try to prevent ticket based systems. These are suitable for, say, hosting providers. However, your relationship with a designer or programmer needs to be more intimate.

Also search for solutions that will permit you to share audio or video files with the programmer or programmer because these are nearly always better than written descriptions. Basecamp is a fantastic selection for this, for instance.