Ideas can strike at the strangest times.
Sometimes it’s right before bed, which usually causes a you to lose sleep. Other times it’s in the shower or when you’re stuck in traffic. Along with your new idea comes a burst of energy and inspiration.
However, before you run off to find a developer, you should check out these tips on how to make working with a freelance developer a smooth and easy process.
1. Understanding Development vs. Design
Something you see often is a confusion between the “design” and the “development” of a website. Make sure you have a keen understanding of what each role is, and how they contribute to a finished website or webapp.
On a high level, the designer focuses on the visual aspects and general layout of a website while a web developer takes the design and turns it into a working website or app.
When you’re on the lookout for a developer, you will run into freelancers who offer both design and development services. This is because the two skills have some minor overlap, and they were likely trained on some level on each skill. Generally, however, designers’ development work is not a good as developers, and developers’ design work is not as good as designers.
2. Flush Out Your Idea Completely
It can be exciting to run off to a developer and rattle off 100 ideas a minute about your project, however this is more likely to lead to stalled projects and scope creep (which can cost you big money at the end of the day).
Instead, focus on your idea for a while to develop a list of key needs and wants and your target audience. Hone in on what your sites key features need to be and list those as well. Does it need an Ecommerce space? Will it require user profiles and some form of database integration?
3. Know Your Budget, and Get Lots of Quotes From Qualified Developers
One of the biggest hurdles you’ll likely have to overcome throughout this process can be the budget. Many are shocked to find out the web development can cost several thousand dollars, and even more when you add custom development and shopping cart integrations.
Okay, take a breath. You have a general picture of the cost when the quotes start to roll in. Now it’s time to find the right developer. Research developers with experience in your niche, and reach out them for quotes. Include all of the needs and wants you came up with in the previous tip to give the developer the ability to deliver an accurate quote.
Alternatively, you can try out Reliable Bits that handles all of this for you.
4. Consider Multiple Project Phases
Sometimes, breaking the project up into phases can ease the burden of cost, and get you to launch faster, if appropriate. Let’s say you want to build an app that has a social function that allows purchases right from the app. If the cost is too high, build one aspect of the app first, launch it, then add the shopping portion down the road as an update.
Keep in mind when doing a project in phases that the site or app should be able to stand alone on its own before launch. If your shopping site is live, but you don’t have a cart integrated, it’s not a good idea to launch it in phases. Your developer may have some insight as well on if the project might be better split up into phases.
5. Don’t Overwork the Project
Once live mockups on a dev site start coming in, it might make you want to change a few things as far as layout or look-and-feel. This is okay, and an expected part of the development process.
However, it’s possible to over-work a project. Lots of tiny tweaks, like shifting something to the left a tiny bit, or making a symbol 3% smaller can add a lot of unnecessary cost and time to a development project.
Things that seem imperfect to you, are likely fine to your customers and site visitors. They won’t be bouncing off your site because the text is a point-size too small or the headline doesn’t break at the right word on all devices.
6. Be Flexible with Timelines to an Extent
Sometimes, the timeline of a project needs to be extended. Try to be flexible with this when you can. Rushing a development project only leads to your site being rushed out. That means more bugs, and potential issues or shortcomings down the road.
Also keep in mind that you affect the timeline as well. Waiting a week to give feedback each round can turn a 1-month projection into a 3-month one. Try to give good feedback in a timely manner so the project doesn’t take longer than it needs to.
7. Maintain a Working Relationship After the Project is Finished
Once your project is live, keep a working relationship with your developer. It’s more likely than not that you’ll need to do minor updates down the road. These could be things like small feature add-ons, or even external things like some CSS needing to change because of browser updates.
Either way, working with the same developer can save time and money on these future updates. This is because the developer you already worked with is already familiar with your site, and won’t suggest larger changes to “fix” what wasn’t done their way on the original project. Secondly, service providers of all kinds love repeat customers, and are likely to give better rates to repeat clients.
Working with a developer on a project can be a smooth process that leads you to a great website or app, and knowing how to approach the project can be a great step in the right direction.