Welcome back to our “How to Hire a Website Developer” series! This is the final part of the series, so be sure to read the rest of the posts in this series for more information on hiring a developer. In this post, we discuss the importance of giving your developer a test project.
What is a Test Project?
A test project is where you will give a website developer a small(ish) task. You don’t tell them you are giving a test project. For all they know, this one project is the extent of what you need from them.
The reason you give a small task is that you don’t want to spend a large portion of your budget on someone unless you are confident of their ability. So, hire them to develop a landing page for you. Or hire them to redesign the layout of your blog. You could even pay them to create a few website design mockups for you. These would be examples of how they would design your website, but made in Photoshop, rather than actual website coding. Take a look at these mockup designs and see if you like them. If you do, great! Let them build the website. If not, you may want to keep looking for a developer you do like.
Other test projects could be adding buttons, changing the menu layout, adding email subscription options, or doing a combination of small edits like these. If you could change one thing about your existing website, what would it be? That could be a great test project for a website developer. You could even have the website developer provide you recommendations on how they think your website should be revised. Then, consider having them make some of those revisions, if you agree with them.
Why are Test Projects Important?
There are many reasons to use test projects before hiring a website developer. For one, test projects can potentially save both you and the developer a great deal of time. This is especially true if you hire a developer to create a website mockup for you, as previously mentioned. You will both have a clear understanding of your goals and a vision for your website.
In business, we know time is money, so saving time wherever possible is very beneficial. Here are some other reasons to start with a test project:
You are Less Likely to Waste Money
When you hire a website developer, you will need to pay them for the work they do on your website. If they build a complete website for you and you are not happy with the results, you can potentially lose money. While most developers will make changes upon request, you may end up wishing to hire a different developer. If this happens, you will possibly need a completely new website developed. This is one of the most important reasons you should start with a test project. When you give a test project, you will be able to more clearly see the quality of your developer. You will also get a better understanding of his or her design capabilities.
In part five of this series, we explained the cost of hiring a website developer. If you don’t know the factors that dictate the price of website development already, we recommend reading that post. When outsourcing a job, you should be aware of how much the job will cost so you can be better prepared.
You Will Know What to Expect for a Timeline
As we wrote about in part four of this series, timelines are very important with website development. You likely have a date you would like your website to be completed by. You will want to be sure the website developer you hire is able to meet the deadline you set for them to have your website completed. When starting with a test project, you will be able to see how quickly the developer works. Typically, test projects are very small. Ask the developer how long it will take to complete the project. Then, see if they abide by the time they give.
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To See How They Respond to Your Feedback on the Test Project
When the developer completes the test project, you will likely have feedback for them. There may be some elements you want changed and others you really like. When you point these out to your developer, they should take your feedback appropriately and should make changes for you. If they receive your feedback well, and they are good at making your requested edits, then they will likely do well when working on a larger website project. A quality website is vital to your marketing success. So, when you do a test project with a website developer, see how they take your critiques.
To Get an Idea of What You Want in a Website
If you have never had a website developed in the past, you may be unsure of what you want in your new website. Or, you may have an idea of what you want, but might change your mind later. This is completely normal. In fact, we are constantly making tweaks to the design and functionality on the current version of our own website (www.jjlyonsmarketing.com). Although it was launched in the beginning of 2019, it is still evolving. Of course, we handle our own website development work. But, you will likely want changes to be made on your website, and it’s important to have a developer who is easy and pleasant to work with.
Start With a Small Test Project
When you come across a website developer you are interested in working with, ask them for a small test project. Test projects are a fantastic way to see how quickly a website developer can work and see if you like how they set up your website. Before committing to one website developer, you should ensure you like their quality of work.
Thank you for reading this last post in our series on “How to Hire a Website Developer.” We hope the series helps you, as you make a decision about who to hire for your website development projects. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us by filling out the form below. And of course, if you need help with your own website development, let us know!