Help in selecting and conversing with a web developer?
Posted 08.03.2017 @ 10.12PM
Ok, please don't shoot me straight up. I'm here to learn and fingers crossed some of you will help.
I'm a farmer, I want to build a website that has elements of Upwork, Realestate.com and Gumtree (for example). So subscription based, information portal, that is highly autonomous, highly reliable,low graphics, low data load (users are often on slow and dodgy connections) and a super simple interface for the users. ie 50 year old men who avoid computers as much as possible... well they're farmers.
I've trawled the net a bit and frankly the whole web developer scene uses a language of it's own.
To compound things, this will be my first foray into the small business space.... advertising, logos, marketing strategies, launch strategies etc.... so once again the jargon goes straight over my head. And I've no idea who does what and how it all comes together.
Yes, I have cash and I am taking 6 months off from July this year to go full time on this project. Yes, I have a pretty good understanding of my target market at both ends of the transaction and know why this portal will fill a need.
So I really don't know how to start the search for, or the conversation with the service providers I need or nor am I confident enough in my knowledge about the whole process to feel I can select the right provider/s.
I have some reservations about how to communicate my needs to a provider because my target market for this portal are not tech savvy at all....and generally have poor coverage, poor download speeds and very low data limits. All things that I suspect are not common to most projects.... and certainly don't fall within the everyday experience of the web developing crowd.
So please tell me:
What is this type of site? not a shop front? not standard ecommerce? what is the word I need to explain to people?
What type of service provider am I seeking? designer/ developer/ full service suite?
Should I use just the one business or should I be using different specialists from different businesses?
Should I have some sort of project manager in place for the tech element?
What can I do to make a build more cost effective?
What is a realistic time frame for a build like this?
What sort of CMS platforms would suit this type of project?
Somewhere along the line, I got the impression that I need some sort of open source platform that is common across a few developers so that I have some options to transfer my business if my initial provider shuts up shop down the track. Is that valid?
I'm not against learning to do a bit of the day to day management of the site myself down the track, so something that is simple to update and refresh would be essential. If that's feasible?
Any other thoughts I how I should approach this and explain the above?
Who I should approach?
What else should I or should I not be saying?
For reference initial phone conversations I have had with a couple of companies gave a price estimate of $15k to $50k, so yep, still pretty clueless on what this is likely to cost.
One company had developed their own CMS which sounded great but worries me around continuity in the event of some sort of service failure. Am I right to be a little worried?
Too many questions. Impossible to give answers to all.
A lot will depend on your budget. My suggestions is put together a proper brief about who you are, what you want to build (the ins and outs/features/requirements), why and who it's for, your competitors, deadline etc.
Shop around for a small web agency or freelance web designer. Find someone with a track record of similar projects and can work within your budget. Submit the brief and get quotes. If you have no tech experience do not attempt to be project manager this.
I am an experienced web developer who would be interested in quoting for your project. Happy to sign a NDA as I do on many projects. Also happy to give you some pointers on selecting a good development partner. drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Some thoughts to keep in mind, none of which require any technical know how:
- If a provider is not able to communicate with you in "layman", non-technical jargon, and explain everything to you CLEARLY so you can understand it fully, then they are not someone you should choose to work with. And they should be able to do this from even initial discussions on some of the functionality you might be looking for, before you reveal anything that would require an NDA.
ie. Ask them to explain, in non-technical "layman" terms, what they use to build their websites with. Someone you would want to work with could explain this to anyone.
- They should be able to provide verifiable client referrals you can contact and talk to, to get an idea of what they are like to work with. Again, of they cannot provide this find someone else.
- Take a good look at the work they show you. Make sure you, as a non-technical but "general" web user, find them easy to use, the information easy to find, and that they work on desktop, tablet, and mobile well.
- You should find them easy and comfortable to talk with, and not hesitant or evasive at all.
The above would be good starting points.
I'm not sure I agree with Bjarni's comment above about needing to be a team necessarily. It doesn't sound like that huge a web build, though the planning of development would need to be done well, so would certainly need to be someone with experience of working on similarly sized projects.
i think i would be good to hire a developer and express your ideas of how the website should be displayed
and the time frame of this type of a website would depend on how good your developer is
if he experienced it would take atmost a week and an amateur would take his own time for this