Today’s guest post was written by Uri Foox, the founder of Pixafy, a NYC-based web development and technology firm.

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If you are a business owner who is not an expert in web development, finding someone (or an agency) you can trust to build your website is critical. To help with your vetting process, here are eleven questions to ask your would-be developers before making a decision.

Hiring a Web Developer – 11 Questions You Must Ask Ahead of Time:

1. What do you do? Developers should be able to explain what they do in terms you can understand. Don’t let them confuse and/or bore you into working with them!

2. Can you break down the process for me from start to end? If there is too little developer/client interaction, chances are the final deliverable will resemble the developer’s vision of the project, not yours. Choose developers who use an iterative approach rather than a ‘waterfall’ — or one giant deliverable — approach.

3. What are your goals for my website and how do you intend to accomplish them? Asking this forces them to outline their future plans… It’s important to know they have some!

4. What part of your job excites you? You can teach coding but you can’t teach passion. Look for a developer or team that will treat working on your site more like a creative challenge than ajob task.

5. How reliant will I be on you after my site launches? A good developer installs a CMS to give the clients a level of control over the day-to-day operations, while still forming a partnership for any technical needs down the road. You shouldn’t have to wait a week for your developer to change a letter on your site.

6. Do you work predominantly with open source or proprietary software? One of the main benefits of open source software is being able to pick up where others left off. Should you choose a firm working with proprietary software however, you may be locked in with that company for good. They might be the only people in the world who know how to update, troubleshoot, expand, and train you in this particular piece of software.

7. Can I see examples of your work? Look at sites that the developer or agency has built.

8. What is the discovery process and how will you learn about my business and business goals before we start the project? Make sure they understand your business goals before engaging with them.

9. How long will it take you to respond to emails? If you find yourself waiting around awhile for answers, chances are your developer team has not been working on your site or has taken the project in a different direction.

10. Do you outsource? Web companies that outsource their projects tend to subscribe to the ‘one size fits all’ approach, and you are unlikely to get the custom solution you desire.

11. Will my website be scalable? Your developer should be familiar with the combination of hardware/software needed to ensure full scalability so that your site doesn’t crash the instant it gets some traffic. Important systems like database clustering, memcache, query optimizaition, and others shouldn’t be foreign concepts to them.

Uri Foox is the founder of Pixafy, a NYC-based web development and technology firm.

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