I was at the local fruit market buying a watermelon. I really didn’t know how to determine whether it’s ripe or not. Is it the weight or colour? Do I pick one out of the bottom thinking that they might be hiding the best ones there?

This in a bizarre way got me thinking about web developers because on face value they look perfect and sit pretty and seem to know it all but how do you know if they’re the real deal? How good are they? Can they do the job? Here are some key questions to ask in order to identify the pros from the amateurs.

Is this your full-time job?

Freelancers are often out there to make that extra bit of cash and will give you a very cheap quote, but they also have a full-time job and are busy; they will probably not meet any deadlines and will be hard to get hold off. In some cases they stop answering your calls because they can’t find the time to finish the job. It is often said if you pay cheap you pay twice and in this case it’s certainly true.

Will you be using Word Press to create my website?

If they start telling you they will create your site from scratch using Java Script or some other language then its best to cut your losses and move on. These days it is all about WordPress as it’s easy to build, use and Google loves it!

How will you make sure my website is secure?

A good web developer will ensure that they install a firewall to monitor people visiting the site. They should also inform you of using a secure server (where your website is backed up) so the information is encrypted when it travels, just in case it gets intercepted by hackers.

Can you use Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator?

A good web developer should have some design skills and understand graphical communication. They will know what colours work best, how to design and create images. They will also know how to correctly align and layout information. If they cannot use Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator then they will most likely struggle with this and your website will look amateur.

There you go! The next time you’re choosing a web developer, think watermelons.

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