Building Task.fm and the many other projects I'm a part of, has seen me being involved with lots of developers. Currently I work with an amazing virtual team, but it hasn't always been this easy. In fact, I've wasted so much money and become incredibly frustrated at times when working on projects. So, as my gift to you, I will share with you my tips on how to find and work with a good developer and what not to do.
Create a Plan
Have you got an amazing idea for a website? Unfortunately that's not good enough. If you want to hire a good developer you will need detailed wireframes, mockups and plans. A wireframe will let the developer know that basic layout of controls and a mockup will help the developer see a finished product.
For wireframes I use iPlotz - its free but you can get an upgraded version. For mockups I use Photoshop and then if im feeling creative I transfer that into html and css.
The wireframing process can be very complex, but for your first project it doesn't need to be. The hardest thing about communicating with a developer is trying to convey a feature. With a wireframe this is mostly a non issue.
Trust me - start using Wireframes!!
Know the Language
Being able to understand and programming language is a very handy skill. If you're not technically gifted, at least try and understand the pros and cons of different languages (php, ROR, ASP) so you know the right place to find a developer (you'll often have to post an ad in one programming category).
I program in PHP and so do all my devs. This makes it easy to communicate and check their work. In programming there is a huge difference between crappy code and elegant code. The site may look the same to the user but if it has bad programming you'll run into huge problems later down the track.
Post an Ad
You could contact a firm or freelancer directly, but I have had most success by hiring people through Freelancer, eLance and Guru. Even Digg.com was built by someone hired through elance for a couple of thousand dollars!
Don't be to specific in your listing if you're worried about people stealing your idea. But do put in a good deal of information. Don't just put "looking for developer to build php task app". Instead list features, the database system, time frame, etc.
This is the most important step. Before you hire someone, you need to be 100% sure they can do the job you want. Make sure you ask to see samples of previous work (don't ever hire anyone with this), and get them to explain in their own words what they will be doing. Often there are little things lost in translation that you pick up on when doing this.
Make sure you also confirm the price. If you're new to hiring freelancers, you'll often overpay. Its a skill to know how much a job is worth. Never tell the freelancer your budget. This seems to be a common practice but don't do it - they will charge you based on what you can afford not what the job is actually worth.
This is my number 1 tip - don't let one developer handle the entire project all at once. Split it up into smaller tasks. For example, start with the login/registration, then move onto the next feature. Of the developer you hire is a dud (often happens) then you can easily get another to develop the next feature.
Never, never, ever, get the entire project developed at once.
Why do I need a Developer?
If you're into lifestyle design, why on earth would you need a developer? Custom plugins, sales pages, subscription platforms, your own web app, the list goes on. Talking to a number of pro bloggers, lifestyle designers and nomads, I've come to realise just how much they rely on developers. And im sure you will to sometime in the future.
Do you use a developer?
Photo by: adulau