What does a website developer do?

It’s pretty obvious what a website designer and content writer does, but what about a website developer? Do you really need to hire a website developer when building a website? Are there other reasons you need one? We reveal all!

After a website has been designed and the content is written, it gets handed over to the website developer. It is then that the website actually comes to life.

However, little do most people know, there are actually three types of website developers, and knowing which to hire will save you bucketloads. Keep reading to discover what each type of website developer does, when to hire one and how to tell a good developer apart from a not-so-good one.

The 3 Types of Website Developers & What They Do

Front-End Developers

A front-end developer is the person who brings a website design to life, ensuring it looks and works how it should. They use three main coding languages, HTML, CSS and JavaScript to add content, headings, tables, images, colours, forms and everything else you see on a website.

In the development world, front-end work is known as the easiest to learn and a good place to start if you want to learn to code/program.

Back-End Developers

A back-end developer works on what is known as server side, which means they create and maintain the technology to support the entire website. Without them, the front-end developer wouldn’t have anything to put their code into.

To do this, a back-end developer needs to know more advanced programming languages, such as PHP, Java, Python and Ruby. This allows them to create the storage for the website, the programs it needs to run and everything else, as well as optimising it all so it does not impact the website’s search engine performance negatively.

Full-Stack Developers

A full-stack developer is someone who knows both front-end and back-end development. Essentially, if you’re a full-stack developer, you can create the entire website, providing you have the design and content. 

While learning all angles of website development is challenging, it will give you a lot more opportunities. As a small business wanting to hire a development company to build you a website, it means you don’t need to pay for two people to do one job.

3 Top Reasons to Hire a Website Developer

1. You’re building a new website.

Having a new website built is the perfect time to ensure you’re set up for success from day one. A good website developer will know how to give you everything you know with minimal code to ensure your website both works well, loads fast and is optimised for search engine optimisation (SEO) best practices.

A full-suite website design and development company, like Localsearch — Digital Marketing Service, will ensure you get everything your project requires, and save yourself some big bucks too. Investing wisely now will save you in the future as you won’t need to pour excessive amounts into SEO, search engine marketing or social media marketing, just to have to hire another developer to fix up your site anyway.

2. It’s been a few years since you had your website built.

Technology is always improving. Like your mobile phone, there are always new versions of website platforms being released. Again, like your phone, leaving it too long to switch over to the latest version will result in laggy performance, security risks, lower support for that version and a host of other problems.

If you have a HTML website (typically the free, DIY builder or cheaper websites) that’s more than two years old, you will need an upgrade. Upgrading to the latest HTML website platform, HTML5, won’t just ensure your site is up to date, it will also give you a host of new feature options, not previously available.

3. Your Search Engine Optimisation is not performing well.

You can update, optimise and analyse until the cows come home, but if your website’s back-end is not following SEO best practices, you’ll never reach your full potential on search engines. 

Free, DIY or cheaper websites tend to have a lot of unnecessary code or bad application processes. As we know, page speed impacts SEO, so this lag on your load time, as well as the security risks involved with the outdated, not-supported or just outright dangerous applications all play a part in your search engine results.

If you fall into the trap of a dodgy SEO agency, they’ll be telling you all sorts of excuses to get more money out of you. When in fact, if you went to a complete digital marketing service, who does website development and SEO, you would be told you could cut your long-term costs by upgrading or building a new website.

What to Look for in a Web Design & Development Company

They customise their website packages to your needs.

Everything from the size of your business, growth expectations and location to what you offer should impact the price of your website. For example, if you provide general plumbing services to your direct region, you wouldn’t want to be paying for anything more than a basic website.

On the flip side, you wouldn’t want to be building an eCommerce store for too cheap. This indicates the website company is using cheap applications that could impact your sales and security. 

For instance, at Localsearch, our website packages range from 5-page websites (generally containing the home, about, services, gallery and contact page) to completely customised designs. We also offer payment plans over 10 months to ease the up-front cost, if needed.

They’re educated in the latest user experience and SEO best practices.

Like we’ve mentioned several times above, your website development greatly impacts your results on search engines. When assessing which website developer to use, ask what type of SEO best practices they have in place for their builds. 

In 2019, they should, at a minimum, be able to tell you that they optimise:

  • Content.
  • Headings.
  • Metadata.
  • Images.

They should also be using user experience (UX) best practices to ensure your website visitors can find what they need fast. You should be asking if they recommend having call to actions and/or buttons on or close to every fold, can help you with your website navigation and encourage sitemaps for larger websites, at the very least.

Their website portfolio and online reviews are regularly updated.

Before you even consider calling or emailing a web design and development business, check out their online presence. Do they have a website portfolio with plenty of variety? How many reviews do they have on Google and what’s their total star rating? Do they engage with people leaving them reviews?

Once you’ve had a look around online, get in touch with them. How fast do they respond? If you’re waiting weeks just to get a quote, what’s it going to be like when they have your business? 

Your website is a big investment. Choose wisely.

You can also include on-going website maintenance and support.

You can build the best website following every single best practice, but if you don’t maintain it, in as little as a few months time, it could be considered a flop. To maintain a website, you need to keep on top of monitoring your applications for updates, ensuring the right ones are updated with the right version.

However, unless you know what you’re updating and why, this could lead to unfortunate website crashes and other issues. This is when it’s handy to have an on-going relationship with your website company who can do it all for you. 

When choosing someone to maintain your website, it’s also a huge advantage if their support comes from Australia (or the same country, if you’re not in our fine land down under). If something goes wrong, this means you can get a quick response and solution, getting your website backup and running, or fixed up, in no time.

Reporting is available to you to track your website’s performance.

A sure sign you want to avoid a website builder is if they don’t offer on-going reporting or access to analytics. They should be very transparent about the success of your website and those times it isn’t going so well.

It’s those tougher times that count. Can they tell you why your performance dropped and how you can fix it? Technology is always changing, so at some point in time, a drop in your reports may occur. But, it’s the support of your website service that will help you get through them and come out the side stronger than ever.

Find a Website Design & Development Service near you on localsearch.com.au.

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      Sarah Russo

      UX Content Writer

      Sarah Russo is a UX Content Writer at Localsearch with a decade of experience in traditional and digital marketing. She has written for and assisted in the social media and marketing strategies for many different industries, including real estate, medical, health and fitness, trades and beauty. When she isn’t nose deep in data, SEO research or her content strategy, Sarah is a gym junkie, foodie and gamer with a brain full of random facts that come in handy far more often than you would think. As a digital marketing all-rounder and lifestyle specialist, her articles provide insight into marketing, advertising and branding for small businesses on the Localsearch Business Blog, as well as some handy lifestyle tips on the Localsearch Blog.