If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it...well, at least four or five times. There are variations, of course, but the general sentiment goes something like this:
“We paid our web developer $_____ and they didn’t even do _____!”
Usually the frustration stems from the site’s inability to cooperate with search engines, but there can be a laundry list of other issues as well.
While some of those frustrations may be well founded, many of them come from unrealistic expectations of what the web developer’s role is. Every web design shop is going to be different, but here some standard things to expect (and not expect) when you’re building a new website. At the very least, this can give you some talking points to discuss with a prospective developer. And of course, make sure to get it all in writing!
Realistic Expectations for Your Web Developer
Expect them to create a beautiful site that’s on par visually with other companies in your market.
Expect them to create a site that is easy to navigate and provides a great user experience.
Expect them to populate that site with the content you provide (page copy, videos, etc.). Depending on the arrangement, they may be providing some of these assets (logos, images, etc.), but don’t expect that unless it is explicitly discussed.
Expect them to fix any bugs that relate to these things (but be sure to find out how long that support period lasts!).
...And Some Unrealistic Expectations
Don’t expect them to provide any marketing or branding strategy. It’s not their role to guide your messaging.
Don’t expect them to write any of your page copy for you.
Don’t expect them to implement any SEO (search engine optimization) elements. Some agencies may include some form of this, but for most, this is outside of their purview. The best-looking site in the world won’t do much good if people can’t find it!
Don’t expect them to integrate Google Analytics (or another analytics platform) in a way that will provide trustworthy data.
Don’t expect them to figure out how your new site fits into a broader digital marketing plan (including things like social media, SEO, paid search, data analysis, etc.).
So Now What?
Now that you have a better idea of what to expect from your web developer, the question remains: Who is going to take care of the rest of these issues?
The answer is a team, and the sooner you get those people in place, the better. You’re going to be much happier in the long run if you have the right people on board when you start the website design process. The alternative is bringing those people in after the site has launched, asking them to put out fires with no context about the spark that started it.
At Pryor Consultation, we’ve helped many clients with their website redesign. We can bridge the gap between client and web designer, guiding things like website layout, content strategy, messaging, SEO, and analytics to make sure your new site can hit the ground running. Send us a message if you’d like to learn more; we’d love to chat about your upcoming project!