How to Hire a Good Web Developer


How to Hire a Good Web Developer

  • Looking at websites done for other clients is not always a good indicator of a web developer's skills, since it's hard to tell exactly what they contributed to the site and how much it's changed since they worked on it. If possible, you want to see exactly what they contributed. Ask what role they played in the project. Did they build the entire site or just optimize webpages?

  • Education in multimedia production, web programming, interface design, or information design is helpful.


DEFINITION: A web developer, strictly speaking, builds and maintains websites. However, a lot of people who create a site from start to finish -- designing graphics and webpages, figuring out the site map, then producing the site -- call themselves web developers. People who conceptualize and plan out the site are actually web designers.

Developers are the people who use some form of HTML to build the actual pages. A Web developer's other responsibilities could include optimizing graphics for the Web and producing rich media such as Flash, streaming media, or online audio.


  • Can hand-code HTML
  • Can optimize graphics and webpages so that they load quickly
  • Can handle cross-browser optimization -- making sure the site looks good on different browsers


  • Content Management Systems (CMS)
  • Databases
  • Photoshop, Illustrator
  • Dynamic HTML (DHTML)
  • XML
  • PHP
  • Databases
  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
  • Familiarity with JavaScript


  • Senior development, programming and graphic design skills.
  • Years of experience developing and maintaining commercial websites
  • Years of experience as web developer, graphic designer and web manager in a commercial environment.
  • Knowledge of various Content Management Systems, and their pro's and con's
  • Experience with setting up file structures (important for large sites)
  • Experience with databases
  • Can look at a visual design and tell what it will take to implement it
  • Experience with Search Engine Optimization
  • Continue to stay on top of current and new technology, which is important with the ever so quickly evolving tech world.


  • Candidates should be able to provide URLs of previous work. This is the equivalent of a portfolio.
  • Get references from previous clients or employers. Was this person easy to work with? Did he or she produce a fast-loading, well-functioning site?

Rough Sketch

Common comments:

"I don't know how I want my website to look, even though I have a rough idea of what the site will be about."

"What should I put on my website?"

"What can my website do?"

Paper: Even though we all hate pen and paper, it is actually STILL the easiest and quickest way to get ideas down quickly.

Research & Sketch:

It's a good idea that you have a rough sketch of what you want your site to do, and helpful if you have an idea of what type of design (look) you prefer - particularly if you're not a designer yourself. Even if you don't use a sketched design, it helps give you more ideas about what your site will offer, and is a step on the path to the right design.

  • Search online for your product to get some ideas of what others are doing.
  • Bookmark some sites you like the "look" of.
  • Bookmark some sites you like the "layout or structure" of.
  • Bookmark some sites you like the "options" of (example: calendar, photo flash slideshow, flipping book,
  • Come up with a basic layout/structure sketch you'd like for YOUR site.
  • Come up with a basic design sketch on paper using the sites you've found.
  • Scrunch up & slam dunk in the trash and try again if it's too messy.