Hiring a freelance web developer can be a hard task and it's even more difficult if you don't know what you can expect. Expert web developers have the following 5 qualities in common. Make sure the developer you hire has them to get the most bang for your buck.
1. Advises during the planning phase
In order to effectively work with a web developer, you need to have some sort of a requirements document. But even if you don't have all your requirements together already, it might already make sense to start talking to a web developer. They can help you identify edge cases or limitations of the platform that you might need to account for.
A good freelance web developer is invested in the project and does not just act as a "code monkey". Expert developers can collaborate with you in the early stages to make sure the project is on a successful path from the start.
2. Delivers a quality product
If you're investing into developing a website or web application, you want to hire somebody who really knows their craft.
A great developer will use best practices and modern technology to make sure your website reaches its maximum potential.
Good freelance developers build good websites that meet the following criteria:
Characteristics of great websites and web applications
- Works well on both mobile and desktop devices
- Fast loading speeds (≤ 2 seconds)
- Smooth performance (no jank while scrolling, animations run at 60fps)
- Great usability
- Accessible to the masses (A11y)
- Search engine optimized (SEO)
- Integrated with social media (Open Graph protocol)
- Backed by solid code and architecture
Sometimes certain product or design specifications can make above goals hard to achieve. For example, a designer may have come up with a creative way of implementing a site's navigation that poses problems for usability and accessibility.
A good freelance web developer will inform you about the trade-offs so you can make an informed decision on how to proceed.
3. Takes deadlines seriously
It's popular among developers to let deadlines pass with the excuse that "it's hard to estimate software projects". If a developer is unwilling to give you a concrete estimate on how long the work will take, be cautious. They are likely inexperienced and not the right fit for the job.
Expert web developers are pretty good at estimates. They honor their deadlines and make them contractual obligations, so that you can plan accordingly.
4. Communicates well and proactively
There's nothing worse than paying an advance to a freelance web developer and then having them go silent for weeks.
Good freelance web developers will keep you in the loop periodically with progress updates and communicate proactively about potential challenges that they see coming up for the project.
5. Provides support after project completion
Finishing and launching a web project is the hardest part, so hats off to you if you made it this far!
Over the coming months you might find that there are still small adjustments needed. If your web developer becomes unresponsive after project completion, it can be expensive and time-consuming to find a replacement.
A good freelance web developer will still be available after project completion to make changes if necessary.