Every day, there are thousands of businesses preparing to launch.
Almost every single one of them will need a website to market their offerings to the world.
But, many business owners will try to skip one of the most important steps in this process, which is hiring a web developer.
There are a few reasons this might happen.
They fear that hiring a web developer will cost a lot of money.
They’ve never hired a web developer before, and they don’t know how to choose a good fit for them.
They hear that you can buy a WordPress theme on ThemeForest and set it up yourself.
They may see professional web development as something they can skip investing in.
But WordPress can be harder than it looks. And soon, the business owner is looking for help from a developer, which is what they were trying to avoid in the first place.
If you’re a business owner, and you’re not familiar with web development, I have some simple advice for you. I give you this advice out of love, and a desire to see your business flourish.
Get your web developer involved from the beginning. Don’t bring them in after you’ve already assembled part of your web project. Here’s why.
Your Web Developer Knows What To Look For In A WordPress Theme
The #1 issue I keep seeing from small business owners in WordPress forums is that they need help with a theme that they have already purchased.
Even some developers are lulled into a sense of security by how slick many WordPress themes look when they’re on the demo page, so I don’t fault business owners for thinking the same.
The truth is, there are tens of thousands of theme authors out there, and each of them puts varying degrees of care and quality control into their themes. The best ones graduate from theme marketplaces and set up independent businesses on their own websites. The worst ones put out a few feature-bloated and insecure themes, and disappear completely in a couple of years. That means no updates or ongoing support for those themes, which over time leads to bugs and vulnerabilities.
If you’re a business owner trying get a website built, the best thing you can do is get a web developer involved before you ever get to selecting themes. Ideally, your web developer will ask you questions about what you want to accomplish before getting to choosing a WordPress theme. Those questions about the nature of your business and what goals you are wanting to reach will eventually help you and your developer pick the best theme for the job, together.
Most business owners, when tackling this process by themselves, skip straight to comparing themes, often choosing by visual aesthetics alone. A website needs to be visually beautiful, no doubt — but usability, performance, and usability are also critical factors. These are areas that are not easily identified by the average businessperson.
Square Peg, Round Hole
It has to be confusing for a business owner to go through the process of finding a web developer for the first time. There’s not a lot of guidance in this area, for businesses looking to build a site, or developers offering their services at least at the small business level.
It seems normal for business owners to purchase a theme and find a developer to bend the theme into submission, and make it do what the business owner expected it to do. Even many web developers find nothing wrong with this modus operandi.
But this system is fundamentally flawed. It is like forcing a square peg into a round hole.
Instead of going through a discovery process, determining goals, and basing design and development around these criteria — the “choose first, seek help later” model wastes time and money. This approach is frustrating for the business owner.
A New Set Of Expectations
Web developers: if you know business owners who are trying to go it alone, reach out to them and see if you can help them. For the average person is like being thrown into the ocean, without a life-preserver, with heavy weight tied to their ankles.
As web professionals, you can help them navigate their web project from start to finish, save them stress, and help them present their business better. Do’t be afraid to speak up and show them there is a better way to go about things.
Business owners: you don’t have to be experts in web development. (I can hear you exhale a sigh of relief right now.) Despite what you’ve heard, not everyone is good at it. It takes a lot of time and dedication to excel at it, just like it took you to become excellent at your craft.
It will help you sleep at night to simply let a web developer or web studio guide you through the process of building your website. Your results will be better. Ultimately, you will make more money than if you did it yourself. Get your web developer to help you from the beginning. Don’t bring them in halfway through a project. Give your website it’s best chance to succeed.