10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Magento Developer

Business.com / Hiring / Last Modified: September 25, 2017
Photo credit: BsWei/Shutterstock

Building an e-commerce website is far from easy, no matter how much experience you have. How do you align yourself with a developer who can make your dream website a reality? Ask them these 10 questions.

Building an e-commerce website is far from easy, no matter how much experience you have. The ultimate goal of every e-commerce website is to be simple for customers to reach and use it.

However, this includes a large subset of prerequisites. After meeting these requirements, your e-commerce website needs to be user-friendly, attractively designed and highly functional.

Even before considering the design or layout, you need to think about choosing the right e-commerce platform. Magento is one of the most common platforms recommended for e-commerce retailers. To fully unleash the power of this platform, you need to hire the right Magento developer.

 

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Just like with any job, interviewing a developer is a crucial step that has many long-term consequences for your project. To help you with this task, we have suggested 10 questions to ask when interviewing and choosing a Magento developer.

1. Certification

Your initial question should focus on a Magento developer's certification and experience. Make sure you are familiar with the current certification requirements so you know exactly what to look for to recognize the developer's skills.

This platform offers several tiers of certificates, like the Magento Certified Solution Specialist. The Magento platform evolves rapidly, so prioritize developers with recently earned certification, because they will be the most up to date in the trends and technology.    

2. Experience

Ask about a developer's past projects and experience. Live projects are the best way to assess your designer's skills. This will also provide you with insight about what you can achieve, raising the bar of your expectations. Plus, you may get some ideas for your project when looking at a potential developer's work.

3. Ease and effectiveness of communication

Effective communication is essential for any Magento development project to run smoothly. Thus, make sure to ask what kind of communication you can expect, from the first project meeting up to post-development support. Make sure your Magento developer agrees to regularly update you on the progress of your project.

4. Development time

Every web development project should be based on milestones and strict deadlines. You need to be aware of how your Magento developer will address this request, as well as what happens when something unexpected gets in the way. A reputable developer will offer you a timeline of when your project is expected to be completed.

This timeline will often account for unexpected events like technical difficulties. This helps you to follow the progress of your project and demonstrates your developer's experience and expertise. An experienced developer is fully aware there may be growing pains along the way and accommodates for this in the timeline.  

5. Billing

Ask how the developer invoices their clients. Some projects are charged on an hourly basis, while smaller projects may be a fixed price. In most cases, the hourly billing method is preferred.

However, you'll want to know how often you'll be invoiced and exactly which services you will be billed for. Also, clarify if the developer bills in quarter-hour, half-hour or hourly increments.  

6. Additional fees

With some projects and in certain situations, additional fees may apply. For example, some developers have a minimum number of hours per month. Anything over the agreed hours may be billed separately.

You might also be charged an early termination fee if you cancel your project early. Request clarification on this before hiring a developer.

7. Website design and responsiveness

Your developer might use a Magento theme to build your site. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as you receive a uniquely designed website. But it's beneficial to know if a developer is capable of producing custom-designed content blocks.

Building a reputable and recognizable brand is easier if the website is custom designed. Creating an e-commerce store that is unlike any other on the market, at least aesthetically, will make your brand instantly recognizable.

Another important consideration is responsiveness. Today, a significant portion of internet traffic comes from smartphones. If your website isn't responsive to smaller screens, you might be losing potential customers. So, make sure your website is responsive and mobile-friendly.

8. Back-end editing

Once your e-commerce store is up and running, you'll need to maintain it. This includes adding and removing items, photos, text descriptions, banners, and more.

This kind of back-end editing should be straightforward and intuitive, and there's no reason to make it complicated, no matter how complex your website is. Irrespective of if you plan on maintaining your site or having an e-store manager, straightforward back-end editing can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. If you don't have the knowledge to work in the back-end editor, you can discuss the price of this assignment with your Magento developer.

9. SEO

Search engine optimization is a set of principles to make your website visible to search engines. The money you spend on building a highly polished e-commerce site will go to waste if visitors and customers can't find you.

Discuss SEO fundamentals with your Magento developer. Budget for the developer to spend time on SEO, but only if your developer can show you real results. Ask about previous SEO projects and their effectiveness.

10. Ongoing support and maintenance

Even if your e-commerce store's back-end editor is easy to use, some problems might occur. Therefore, it's important to talk about post-development maintenance.

Post-development support includes dealing with bugs and other technical issues that usually happen before your e-commerce website goes live. Magento is a highly complex platform, and it's not unusual for users to experience bugs or glitches while they work in the back-end editor. Your visitors will notice every bug and technical glitch, so it's essential to have the support to resolve these issues quickly.

Get out there!

The more knowledgeable you are about Magento and your goals, the more easily you'll achieve success with your web development project. So, prepare a set of questions before interviewing candidates. Ask to see not only their current certifications, but also their previous work, especially any live projects. Don't be afraid to ask the hard questions, such as cost and post-project support.

 

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