Almost every day, someone approaches me about a website development or SEO project, and they sheepishly admit they don’t know anything about this stuff. Well, why would you? I assume if you’re calling my company about a website that you are probably not in the website business. And if that’s the case, there’s no reason to expect you to know much about how the website industry works.
In many ways, hiring a web developer is like hiring any professional. Like doctors, lawyers, and building contractors, web developers have specific knowledge and expertise that the general public lacks. But web developers differ from other professionals in a number of very important ways, so listen up! And consider these facts when you go shopping for those services.
1. No license, no exam, no regulation. Anyone can claim to be a web developer. Anyone. It doesn’t mean they have any skill, any ethics, or any experience.
2. Nowhere to file a complaint. Oh sure, there’s the Better Business Bureau, and they have certainly received plenty of complaints about web developers. But the BBB can’t help you get a refund if you hire a crook or a flake or a deadbeat.
3. No legal standing. Unless you have a legally binding contract that properly protects your interests (and not just his), you’re probably screwed if you try to take him to court.
So how do you protect yourself? You should hire a consultant (me, for example, or any reputable consultant in the web marketing field) to do your homework for you. The larger the project, the more critical this is! Because you don’t know what you don’t know. Hire someone who knows what questions to ask and what you should get in writing. The right consultant can help you get the right services for the right price, with the fewest headaches.