When you agree to pay a business to develop your website you are taking a leap of faith. Most web development sales and marketing people will cheerfully promise you the world, regardless of their development team’s abilities.
Over the years I have seen many cases of web developers making promises they fail to keep. Recently I was asked to help a website owner in dealing with the mess left by their previous web development team. In this case the web dev company simply abandoned the project after completing most of the work and giving up before finishing the more complex requirements.
This project did not require a PhD in applied mathematics or computer science. It was built on the very flexible and developer friendly WordPress framework after all.
When I put my developer hat on and dived into the code I noticed that the developers had created a number of custom features built upon numerous cut and paste code snippets. Most of the complex code had been taken, ver batim, from code examples found on various websites and forums. The implementation also revealed that they weren’t really sure what they were doing.
The net result was a website that did not deliver the functionality outlined in the project documentation, driving the client crazy. Numerous emails had flowed back and forth and it eventually became evident that the developers had done all they were going to do. Being in different countries in very different time zones didn’t help either (this also makes legal action very difficult).
All of the stress was further exacerbated by the fact that by this time the developers had been paid the final instalment, in anticipation that the remaining work would be completed.
As far as I’m concerned the web development business in questions was dishonest, not just incapable. At no time did they suggest that some of the project may be beyond their abilities. In fact it was just the opposite – they claimed it was “no problem”.
Web developers need to do what they promised
Failing to deliver on promises is an issue that has plagued the web development industry right from the start and unfortunately for clients it is very difficult to ascertain if a given business can deliver. Researching a business’s reviews can be helpful but don’t bother reading the reviews or testimonials on their website.
Smart web developers understand that a well managed project is far more profitable. There will be less wasted time and a happy client is less likely to complain or look for faults just to demonstrate their dissatisfaction.
Also, it pays to be aware that we live in an age where customers have numerous outlets for publishing their thoughts or views on your company. One negative review can be incredibly corrosive so web development companies should strive for positive outcome.
Hiring a web development company
If you plan on having a website built or rejuvenated then I’d suggest you find a web development company in your country. This way you will be more familiar with the legal options available to you should things go wrong. It follows that you should have a sound contract in place so both parties know their responsibilities and expectations.
While a contract is essential both parties should view it as an agreement, not as a hammer that you can threaten each other with should one side become frustrated. Work out your problems, it is better for everyone.
As stated above, try finding out about their past projects. You may even ask their previous clients directly and see what they really thought of the service and result they received.
Ultimately the cost of your website is not limited to the fee you pay your web developer. The end product, your website, will influence the success of your organisation from the moment it goes live. Make sure you are happy with its representation of your business.