We’re all looking for webmasters and programmers who think one step ahead, so that we don’t have to for them. They’re hard to find. Here’s a checklist of what’s important.
Let me start with the positive. A few website developers (programmers) are really good and if you have one of these, hang onto them! The website scene is getting ever more complex and we all need intelligent technical assistance. I used a very good guy until recently when I started concentrating on WordPress. He didn’t use WordPress and so we couldn’t work together. But now he’s started so there’s hope I can resume working with him.
Meanwhile, in the WordPress world, I’ve used lots of other people – and been disappointed to a greater or lesser degree. To appreciate my position, you need to understand that I take full responsibility for building a website for a client. It starts with the content and general planning (I’m the content guy after all!) and moves on to website design and then production. Until the site is not working perfectly, I cannot say that my work is done. That can be a very frustrating process.
Annoying things that developers do (actually, don’t do)
They don’t think ahead. They don’t put themselves in the shoes of the final user. Instead of building a WordPress site with customized programming, they’ll use a ready-made template design. That design will have all kinds of buttons in the CMS that have no function – they are just part of the ‘ready package’. Then, when you need to change something on the web page, it’s a guessing game which button controls what.
They don’t investigate. They use the solution that they know instead of looking for the best solution. Take the use of Captcha in website forms for example. Do you need them? Sure, because you don’t want the client to get spam mail from robots filling in the forms with junk. But Captcha doesn’t have to be a box that the reader needs to complete. It can be an extra data field added to the code. The reader doesn’t see anything but the robot fills all data boxes. If the ‘secret’ box has been filled, the form is considered ‘spam’ and not sent.
They don’t double-check. Part of the job in building a website is for developers to double-check everything themselves before they pass it to anybody else for inspection. All links should work properly and everything should be properly aligned. Yet how many times has a developer sent you a mail saying ‘All done!’… and you find a lot of mistakes?
You make a list of the mistakes and send it back. The next time you get a ‘All done’ mail you discover that 4 out of the 10 points have still not been fixed. So you have to spend time making another list. Eventually, after a few lists, you reach the Zero Error position. Now you can advise your client (the end user) that the job is finished. But will you work with that developer again when he or she loads so much extra work on your back?
They don’t protect. With the increase in random hacking today, Website security is becoming much more important – especially for sites built with WordPress. Do your developers always think about running the latest version of WordPress? Do they use computer-generated passwords instead of simple password access into the CMS? Are they security-conscious? Unfortunately too often they are just concerned about completing the website and moving on to the next one.