If your company is like many of the boutique marketing and design agencies we’ve worked with, your strengths might include brand identity, logo design, marketing planning, ad copy, print, and project management, to name a few. You’re likely a passionate expert in your field, with industry experience in a particular niche or vertical market. When it comes time to build your designs, we urge you hold the execution of your projects to the same high standard you have for your creative work.
Don’t skimp on web development. Try not to look at it as a commodity. It’s a critical area that can have a big impact on the long term happiness of your client.
Choosing a Platform
You may have considered content management systems (CMS) like Drupal, WordPress, Joomla and Expression Engine for your projects. We recommend Drupal for most business projects. Even a fairly simple business website can outgrow the standard features of WordPress, particularly when e-commerce is involved. That’s not to say there aren’t great, impressively complex WordPress sites – there are. But in many situations they tend to require a higher level of custom development than Drupal websites. The main drawback to Drupal that is commonly cited online is a “steep learning curve”. Frankly, this doesn’t matter if you get help from a qualified developer. For flexibility, scalability and out of the box features, we heartily recommend Drupal, and unless you have a team of developers on staff, we recommend you outsource Drupal development to a specialist.
Things to Look For When Choosing an Outsourced Drupal Developer
- No Moonlighters – Find a developer that is committed to their job. If you get the impression they have a day job and are looking to make a few extra bucks on the weekend, run.
- Longevity – Look for an outsourced developer has been in business in the same capacity for several years.
- References – It’s worth asking for references and following up on them. Sure, they’re not likely to be negative, but a conversation with a reference can still tell you a lot about how a developer performs, and provide points of comparison with other developers.
- Communication Skills – If a developer is difficult to understand, overly technical, or talks like a robot, look elsewhere. You need a developer who can understand business and marketing – not just code. Ask yourself if you would feel comfortable if they talked directly with one of your clients.
- Process – Ask the developer to talk about their process. If you get the sense its ad hoc, be concerned. An experienced developer will have a firm grasp of how to approach a project.
Choosing the right web development partner can save you a lot of stress and make you look great. Ideally your partner inspires confidence and can free you from some of the technical back and forth that is typical when building a new website for a client, allowing you to focus on the creative work you do best.