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How to Choose a Top Web Developer for Your Next Project

September 18, 2019

With so many web developers listed online, how can you ensure you're choosing the right one for your business? This article contains 5 steps for evaluating and selecting the best web developer for your next project.

Choosing top web developers in the sea of flashy ads and promising start-ups can be challenging for business decisionmakers. 

As a web development agency, we understand what our clients need and how to deliver. Top web developers stand out because of their website, previous work, and prices. Smaller details about the developer, however, can determine if they are the right fit for your business.

If you want to outsource your next web development project, you must also test their communication skills, assess your future relationship, and inspect their overall authority in the digital world.

This article outlines 5 criteria you should look for in a web developer. 

How to Choose a Top Web Developer for Your Next Project

  1. Look for an excellent company website
  2. Find high-quality portfolio items
  3. Seek out fair and honest pricing
  4. Test effective team dynamics
  5. Invest in a future relationship

1. Look for an Excellent Company Website

For a quick assessment of a developer’s skill, look at the quality of their own website first. If their own website is shabby, you can expect similar quality from their products. 

Design is not the only factor in a high-quality website. Design and functionality are closely intertwined, they are not one and the same.

According to Formilla, the four basic principles of a quality website include:

  1. Clear purpose: In the case of most businesses, it is either to inform the visitors or sell the products. 
  2. Visually pleasing aesthetics: The best websites avoid clashing colors, mixed fonts, murky images and pages congested with text.
  3. Relevant content: Website content should respond to the needs of its target audience and customers.
  4. Clear site navigation: Any page on your website should be within three clicks of any other page on your site.

When evaluating a potential web developer’s website, do not compromise on any of these principles. If the company’s website passes this test, you can begin assessing their portfolio.

2. Find High-Quality Portfolio Items

Some developers will create a top-notch website for themselves, but will they put the same level of dedication and passion into their clients’ websites? 

Check your potential development agency’s website for portfolios, recommendations from satisfied clients, or even case studies of past work.

Portfolios showcase developers’ work. Examine each of their projects based on the criteria discussed in section one. 

The image below is an example of a portfolio item from an AI development company

web developer portfolio item TGI Fridays A.I. mixologist


The portfolio item briefly explains the project – an artificial intelligence “mixologist” for TGI Fridays restaurants – and the solution the developers provided.

Recommendations and reviews offer insight into the relationship top developers establish and nurture with their clients. Be wary of fake reviews, though they are usually pretty easy to spot. 

Case studies are even more valuable than recommendations because they usually feature metrics the company has collected from their efforts. If a team of developers, for example, multiplied their client’s traffic and revenue ten-fold after a major website revamp, you can trust those developers.

When looking for the best company for your project, prioritize businesses who are established, have a few satisfied clients, and feature strong case studies. Agencies and developers that do not have portfolios should be immediately disqualified from further consideration.

3. Seek Out Fair and Honest Pricing

When it comes to web designers and developers, a higher price often means a higher quality of work.

As developers from CodeBurst explain, there are 3 attributes a software or web project need to succeed: time, money and quality. One of these always has to be sacrificed in order to maximize the other two, as shown in the diagram below.

money time and quality diagram


The diagram shows how "money" and "time" is stretched as "quality" shrinks, increasing the amount of time and money necessary for software development.

Startups struggling with budgets may be inclined to hire cheaper developers that have less direct experience. A low-quality web development job, however, ends up costing businesses more money over time than a more expensive, experienced developer. 

In fact, according to DevSkiller, the cost of hiring a bad developer can mount up to staggering $485,000 accounting for hiring, compensation, cost of maintenance, productivity loss, and disruption. 

While many startups feel like they are pushed into a corner by their budget, hiring someone experienced and paying accordingly has positive effects in the long term. 

One alternative for budget-conscious businesses is sourcing individual web developers from ratings and reviews websites. This makes it possible to negotiate a payment dynamic that suits your needs and prioritizes flexible development teams.

4. Test Effective Team Dynamics

Before you hire web developers, make sure you know the personalities behind the business. Prices and portfolios are not enough to establish a mutually satisfying business relationship.

Getting to know your web developers and being in contact with them on a regular basis ensures your project's success. Spend time getting to know your potential web developers and make expectations for the working relationship clear before the project starts.

5. Invest in a Future Relationship

Before you choose a web developer, make sure you know what happens after the project is done. It’s challenging for businesses to maintain websites on their own without any in-house development expertise. 

When evaluating potential web developers, assess their work with past clients and consider their ability and willingness to maintain a professional relationship after the primary project is finished.

Prioritize web developers who offer you continuous customer support and guarantee the quality of their work will last.

Find the Best Web Developer for Your Business

When it comes to finding top web developers, do not compromise. Your perfect hire should pass each of the five criteria easily.

The best web developers have high-quality websites of their own, case studies and reviews to show their achievements, and talented teams willing to sustain the working relationship after the product is finished.

To start looking for professional help for your next project, start by exploring ratings and reviews for top web developers around the world.