How to Find a Web Developer for Your Project

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freelance web developer at work

Developing a new website, microsite, or even just a single webpage can have a significant impact on your business. Everything you publish online is customer-facing, and customers are more discerning than ever about their online experiences.

For example, 47% of consumers expect a website to load in less than two seconds. Furthermore, 53% of mobile users will abandon a site that takes over 3 seconds to load.

And loading speeds are just the beginning. User experience (UX) has a significant impact on the efficacy of your site. A well-designed user interface (UI) can raise your website’s conversion rate by up to 400%, but a poorly-designed UI can be devastating for the ROI of your website project.

If you want to build online assets that load fast, create a positive user experience, and convert your visitors, you need a skilled web developer.

Not every company can hire a web developer in-house, so they turn to freelancers for their projects. There are thousands of candidates looking for freelance web developer jobs. This guide will teach you how to find a freelance web developer to suit your needs and avoid common pitfalls in the process.

5 FAQs Businesses Have When Looking for a Web Developer

If this is your first time looking for a freelance web developer or you’ve had no luck in the past, you’re bound to have questions. Here are five questions businesses frequently ask about finding a freelance web developer.

1. What Does a Web Developer Do?

Many businesses believe they already know the answer to this question, but a surprising number don’t. There’s a big difference between a web developer, a web designer, and a UX designer, or between a front-end developer and a back-end developer, for example.

From a fundamental standpoint, web developers design and create websites. They are responsible for how the site looks and operates. This may require technical knowledge of coding and using programming languages, but many web developers also have design skills.

Whereas a web developer is like an engineer responsible for the technical aspects of a website, a web designer is responsible for the site’s aesthetic. They may have experience designing interfaces and menus, creating graphics and icons, or developing wireframes and flow charts for how users will interact with the site.

A front-end developer produces HTML, CSS, and JavaScript so a user can see and interact with the website. A back-end developer is a programmer who creates the computational logic of the website—features which are accessed by the user indirectly when they interact with the front-end.

If possible, you may wish to hire a full-stack developer. This is a developer who has the skills to work on both front-end and back-end aspects of the site.

It’s important to understand the differences between these roles as you search for a web developer. You may only need to fill one of these roles, or all of them, depending on the complexity of your project.

2. How Do You Know You Need a Web Developer?

It’s easier than ever to spin up a new website. Drag and drop website builders like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly make web development accessible to almost everyone.

Nonetheless, these tools are very limited. They may help you publish an attractive website quickly, but they just don’t have the range and functionality that a content management system (CMS) like WordPress does.

If you need your website to perform advanced functions or integrate with your other marketing systems, you’ll need a web developer. Using a versatile CMS like WordPress or Joomla, a skilled developer will be able to integrate key functionalities and applications, or even design new ones, so your website fulfills both your company’s goals and the goals of your users.

3. What Makes a Web Developer a Good Candidate (or Not)?

Most businesses focus on technical skills when searching for a web developer. For example, are they knowledgeable of the programming languages you need? Are they skilled at finding and fixing bugs? Do they have deep knowledge of HTML and CSS?

This is a good inclination, but technical prowess shouldn’t be your only barometer when searching for a developer.

Soft skills, like the ability to communicate clearly, ask questions, and admit when they need help, are also important. For example, you may like a candidate who is an experienced freelance JavaScript developer because that’s the type of service you need, but if they have a history of missed deadlines and poor communication, they may not be the best candidate.

When interviewing freelancers, don’t hesitate to ask questions about soft skills and their work ethic in addition to technical questions. Last but not least, don’t forget that within Fiverr, you can read reviews from other buyers to learn if a freelancer has solid communication skills.

Expanding your online search can put you in touch with a far greater number of qualified professionals, giving you more choices and opportunities to find the right web programmer for your needs (Do’s and Don’ts for Working with a Developer Online)

4. What Programming Languages/Tools Should Your Web Developer Be Proficient In?

You can’t expect a web developer to be skilled with every tool and programming language. But you should approach candidates with a base of expectations.

For example, a developer should be knowledgeable in at least one back-end development language, such as Python, Ruby, PHP, etc, and at least one front-end web development language, such as JavaScript. They should understand CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), HTML, and SQL.

These requirements are a bare minimum. You may also wish to find a web developer who is skilled in a specific CMS, such as a WordPress developer. Freelancers with knowledge of other tools – Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, SaaS marketing platforms, or SEO plugins – may also be necessary for your project.

5. What CMS Do You Use, and Why Should Your Web Developer Be Familiar With It?

Your Content Management System is the system you use to create, publish, and manage digital content on your website. These systems vary widely, but WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Zoho are a few of the most popular.

There are other popular CMS systems, like HubSpot COS, which are usually only available when you sign up for the services of the company that owns them. DIY website builders like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly, are also options if you don’t need much functionality.

You should establish which CMS you’d like to use before reaching out to a developer. Otherwise, you may end up hiring a developer who must learn your CMS before they can begin working on your site. If you don’t know where to start, a developer may be able to consult with you to help you choose.

WordPress is the most popular CMS by far, so it’s relatively easy to find a WordPress developer. In 2018, WordPress powered 30% of all existing websites.

Key Takeaways

  • A web developer is responsible for the technical aspects of your website. You may also need to fill other roles to build a fully functioning site.
  • If you want more functionality than basic website builders can provide, you’ll need a developer.
  • Both technical and soft skills are important criteria when hiring a freelance developer.
  • Your developer should have experience with basic programming languages, but it’s more important they are familiar with the tools and languages you intend to use.
  • Your developer should be familiar with your website’s CMS before they begin working for you.

5 Tips for Finding a Developer with the Right Skills

The first thing you’ll realize when you set out to find a freelance developer is that there are a lot of them out there. Computing occupations are among the highest-paying jobs in the world right now, and although only 3% of US college students graduate with a degree in computer science, computing jobs make up to two-thirds of projected new STEM jobs.

If you use a freelancer marketplace like Fiverr, you’d get access to developers from around the globe, not just the US. You’ll need to be selective about who you hire. Here are some tips to guide you.

1. Response Time Matters

If you reach out to a freelance developer and they are slow to respond, this could mean any number of things. They may be too busy, on vacation, or they could be dealing with an issue in their personal life.

fiverr digital marketing freelance profile

Nonetheless, most professional freelancers respond quickly to inquiries. It’s the only way they can keep up with opportunities. If a candidate isn’t responding to your inquiry, you can’t guarantee your project will be a priority for them.

Look for candidates who respond quickly and communicate clearly.

2. Look at Their Previous Work

Accolades like advanced degrees, testimonials, and even awards are indicators of a skilled freelance web developer. But their portfolio should be the determining factor as to whether you hire them. You should look for published work from previous projects, in particular — not just examples.

Fiverr Pro freelancer portfolio

If a candidate doesn’t have previous experience working with your CMS or your chosen programming language, you can’t guarantee they’ll be a proficient choice for your project. Most freelancers keep a detailed portfolio available to help buyers determine if they’re a good fit.

If you need to see more examples, don’t hesitate to ask.

3. Don’t Just go by Price

When searching for a freelancer, it’s often tempting to look for those with the most affordable gig prices. Some excellent freelance web developers will offer affordable prices for small projects.

But the old saying, “you get what you pay for,” rings abundantly true in the freelance world. A web developer is responsible for developing the functionality of your website. This is an integral role to fill for your business, and developing a website is a substantial amount of work.

Many freelancers do it full time, which means the money they make per project is how they support themselves financially. They have an incentive to prioritize those projects that pay the most and finish low-paying projects as quickly as possible. Furthermore, a high-quality freelancer will often cost more than others.

This isn’t to say you can’t find affordable freelancers. Just keep this fact in mind when looking for candidates and approach each candidate with a set budget.

4. Start With a Small Project

Before going all-in with a developer, ask them to start with an exploratory project. For example, if you need help building an entire website, start your freelancer off with a single page. This will give you an idea of what their work looks like, how well they communicate, and their turnaround time.

You can even start with a few small projects before you make a significant investment. If you find that the freelancer you’ve chosen is a good fit, you can be confident when you hire them for a bigger gig.

5. Use Fiverr to Find Candidates

In the past, businesses had to find freelancers posting on job boards, or putting out ads.

Using a freelancing marketplace like Fiverr lets you access an entire network of professionals ready to take on new projects. In addition to web developers, you can find writers, designers, videographers, and much more.

Instead of posting a job on an online job board and waiting, with Fiverr you can search through a worldwide database of freelancers to find the exact candidate you need. The platform makes it easy to specify your project parameters, pay freelancers, and keep track of results.

Key Takeaways

  • Freelancers make a living by responding quickly to inquiries and delivering work on-time. Choose a web developer who is professional and responsive.
  • A web developer’s previous work gives you a good idea of their capabilities and their compatibility with your project. Don’t hesitate to ask for published examples.
  • Establish a budget before searching for a web developer. If you want high-quality work from an experienced developer, expect to pay a little bit more.
  • To get an idea of how they operate, start candidates off with a small project before committing to them fully.
  • With Fiverr you have access to professional web developers all over the world.

Do You Only Need a Web Developer?

Hiring a web developer is integral if you want to build a custom website. And if all you need is back-end development or some UI tweaks, that may be the only role you need to fill. Many companies who have design and content contributors in-house only outsource for development.

But building an entire website requires a diverse set of skills. Most web design and development projects require at least one individual to fill the following roles:

Depending on the size of the project, you may also need supplementary roles. For example, instead of just one writer/editor, you could enlist several writers to work under an editor. The same could be true of your design and development team.

Most companies choose to keep strategy and project management in-house, but even that could be outsourced if need be.

Key Takeaways

  • You may need to fill additional roles, such as writers and designers, for a full web development project.
  • You may need supplementary contributors depending on the scope of your project.
  • You can fill every role you need through Fiverr’s marketplace.

Using Fiverr to Hire a Freelance Web Developer

Fiverr has loads of features that make it easy to find a freelancer to fit your exact needs, regardless of the size of your project.

Here’s how to use the marketplace.

Finding Freelancers

Fiverr has an easy-to-use search tool that operates just like most search engines. It’s a good place to start, but you can also use Fiverr’s filters to find candidates to fill specific roles.

For example, on the Fiverr home page, you’ll see categories for “Graphics & Design,” “Digital Marketing,” and “Writing & Translation,” among others. Under the “Programming & Tech” category, you’ll find tabs for WordPress, Website Builders & CMS, and Web Programming. These are all good places to start looking for a developer.

Once you’ve entered one of these service pages, some have a wizard and then on the left side of the page you can find additional filters which you can select to search by delivery time, price range, expertise, seller level, and more.

Once you use some filters, you’ll see a list of possible candidates on your screen. Carefully look through each likely candidate using the tips listed above. Once you find a possible candidate, reach out to them.

If you have trouble finding candidates this way, you can always post a service request and let candidates reach out to you.

Communication

Fiverr makes it easy to start a simple chat conversation with a Seller. On the Seller’s profile page, simply use the “Contact Me” option to send them a message.

If you’d like, you can place an order immediately—just be sure you’ve found the right candidate. You should be specific about the scope and parameters of your project, but you also need to understand what services the Seller is offering (and what they aren’t).

Communicating with Fiverr Sellers is one of your keys to success. We recommend starting an initial conversation so you can understand a Seller’s services and they can understand your needs. It can sometimes take a few messages to get the project moving, but you’ll be more successful if both parties understand each other.

Once you’ve started a project with a Seller, keep those lines of communication open. Make it clear that they can ask questions and use you as a resource, and don’t hesitate to check in with them.

If you aren’t satisfied with your results, you can ask for a revision (as long as it’s within the scope of the gig). If you can’t resolve the issue with your freelancer, you can always turn to the Resolution Center or the Customer Support portal for help.

Hiring

Hiring a freelancer on Fiverr is as easy as placing an order on their page. However, there are a few steps you may want to take before handing over your website project in full.

Start with a small gig as a test run. Make sure the Seller understands the scope of your project and can deliver results that align with your goals. You can even start with several small projects.

If the small projects turn out well and you start to build a good working relationship with the Seller, then move on to larger gigs.

You can also place a custom order using the Custom Order feature. This allows you to message the Seller with details about your project, including your desired delivery time. In turn, the Seller can respond with a Custom Offer. You can start a Custom Order by clicking on the Seller’s username of the Gig you’d like to order, then by clicking “Custom Order” on the Seller’s profile page.

Managing Your Project

Once you’ve placed your order, you’ll be led to the pending order page. The Seller will complete the order and submit it to you for review when it’s ready.

If you need revisions, just request them from the Seller after they submit your order. Keep in mind that some gigs come with a limited number of revisions. However, some Sellers offer endless revisions.

Providing Feedback

Once you accept the project, you’ll have an opportunity to provide feedback to your seller. If they did a good job, don’t hesitate to leave five stars and a nice testimonial!

Remember, Sellers depend on client reviews to get new business. A poor review can significantly impact their ability to get new gigs. If you aren’t satisfied with the results, use the revision process or Fiverr’s other resources to suit your needs.

Crafting a Good Project Description

To avoid costly confusions and delays in your project, you’ll need to create a strong project description. This is an important step if you want to place a Custom Order or if you want to request a specific service.

A good project description should include the following:

  • A high-level overview of your background, your progress so far, your goals and objectives, and your needs regarding the website project
  • A detailed list of specific deliverables for the project
  • A budget and timeline for the project
  • Any technical requirements of the project (programming languages, CMS requirements, etc.)
  • An explanation of your website’s target audience
  • Examples of websites or other projects you’d like the Seller to emulate
  • Any other information you deem important

The detailed list of deliverables is perhaps the most important aspect of your project description. It needs to be clear from the start what you expect the Seller to deliver and when. This will give the Seller the information they need to schedule their time and name their price accordingly.

If a Seller accepts your project, make yourself available to answer questions and provide feedback. Communicate often. Treat your freelance web developer as a partner in your project, and you’ll get the results you need to succeed.

Key Takeaways

  • Use Fiverr’s search tools and filters to find good candidates. You can place a Custom Order with a specific freelancer if you can’t find a gig that suits you, or you can post a service request.
  • Communication is key to being successful with Fiverr. Make sure your web developer knows you are available to answer questions and don’t hesitate to reach out about your project’s progress.
  • If you want to avoid confusion, craft a detailed project description. Ensure your web developer understands the scope of the project before they start working.
  • Once your project is complete, don’t forget to leave your web developer a positive review!
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Nicolo Grossi
SEO & content marketing expert with 7+ years experience, working at Fiverr since 2016 Nicolo is responsible to follow and implement SEO’s best practices and inbound marketing strategies in order to increase reach and exposure.
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EstherRandell
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EstherRandell

Thanks. Well written.

Forhad
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Forhad

Helpful Content! Thanks!