Your architect wouldn’t build plans that required him (and only him) to update things later, right?

Could you imagine if you were building a house and the architect wanted to build a bathroom that so customized that they had to hand make everything in it, there were no replacement parts available and if you ever wanted to change anything, you had to go through them?

It should be the same with web development. They should be using standards (like WordPress) that are well known, supported and maintained. Ideally, they shouldn’t do anything that would require you to go back to them (and only them) for fixes or updates. In other words, you should be independent from your website designer and/or developer.

Auto-correct wanted to change my word “hostage” to “hosting.” It could be a similar post, “Don’t be taken hostage by your hosting company.”

Here are some good questions to ask your WordPress (or any software) developer when interviewing them:

  1. Standards: do they adhere to standards that other developers use? In other words, are they building things to “code” (in home-building architect speak)?
  2. Off the shelf: do they want to custom build things or use products off the shelf. If they custom build, ask why.
  3. Support: let’s say they want to custom build some things. Are they going to support their work? For how long? What if a WP upgrade breaks things? Will they fix it? For free?
  4. Philosophy: just ask them. Do they want to be a dependent (on them) client or are they OK with setting you free? They might not understand the question, try to help them understand.

You (and your site) will hopefully be around in a few years. Will your developer? Assume they won’t be. Are you covered? Are you free to move about the cabin? Or are you a hostage to your website developer?

This is an excerpt from our upcoming book, “37 Mistakes to Avoid as a Web Developer.”