Just as there are certain expectations and goals your developer needs to meet, your developer needs some information and communication from you as well. Knowing what to expect from each other helps fuel a good, long term business relationship. A good developer will ask for some of the following from you to help optimize your website.
What do I mean by this? Well, just like you need to know how your developer is going to communicate with you, it’s important that they know the best communication methods and paths to take. For example, do you have a chat channel? Do you like to talk on the phone? Or should this all be in an email? Communication is one of the most important components to a good working relationship, which is all the more reason why knowing where and how you best communicate is going to make everything better.
What do You Need?
You may not know exactly what you need. After all, that’s why you hired someone, right? It’s not uncommon for a developer to make a suggestion to help your site that you weren’t aware of, or didn’t expect. Having some general expectations or goals for your developer to achieve, no matter how basic, can help ensure your project’s success. If you have no idea what you want or need, the overall project might take longer, which would mean delayed timelines. If you have an idea, no matter how simple, of what you want your site to do, or look like, let your developer know. References are an excellent starting point, and help you discover what you want.
Of course, sometimes it’s not possible to get everything exactly how you want it. Maybe what you want isn’t compatible with your site needs, for instance. If this happens, a good developer will explain the issue, and still present you with a solution. It’s important to listen to each other and discuss the best solution for your site.
A good developer will do everything they can to provide you with a website and additional services, if needed, in a timely manner. But this doesn’t mean they can cram three weeks worth of work into a 24 hour period. There’s often a discovery period when initially working on a site, and it can take time. If there’s no documentation from a previous development team, this process can take longer, given that someone literally needs to explore and discover before they can really make some recommendations. The discovery period is kind of like walking into a new room with the lights off. You need to feel your way around first so you don’t hit a wall, or walk into some furniture.
Have a Plan
We’ve touched on knowing what you need, but what about planning? What’s the plan for your website? How is it going to support your business, and what features does it need in order to do that? Are you selling anything on your site, and if so, do you need to be able to link elsewhere? Can users interact with your site? What do you require from a hosting provider, if you’re looking for a new one? Have a business plan and/or outline for your developer, so they know what you need to support your business. If you can create a detailed list that describes what each feature is on your site, and what you want it to do, that gives your developer a basic blueprint, so you both have some expectations for what your website will do, instead of blindly guessing.
Keep the Relationship Going
Once you’ve found the right developer, everything that has to do with your website will get easier. Knowing what to expect from each other will help manage your expectations, and provide them with a clear path to success. Establishing a long term working relationship between yourself and your developer will improve your expectations, and provides the support your site needs for the future.