Dodgy web developers and the top tips to avoid them

In the past 15 years we’ve seen our fair share of bad web developers.

Unfortunately, like anything, bad service providers are out there, and if you’re looking for a web developer you can never be 100% sure anyone is going to perfectly fit the bill.

This article is designed to help you navigate the potential minefield of choosing a quality web developer and avoid the dodgy ones.


Anyone can make a website, we typically find web developers show their true colours when there is a difficult problem or challenge they can’t overcome or if they make a mistake.

Ask to see some of their work, ask them your own questions about those projects – even though you yourself may not be an expert web developer, you can ask quantifiable questions or something you can better relate to such as:

-How long did it take to make (in weeks or months)

-What sorts of problems did you experience, or what was the hardest part of the project?

-What value did the client gain from the project?

-What was a recent challenging project you undertook and why?

-Why did you get into this business?

-What are the typical reasons customers come to you?

You can use your own gut to decide whether their answers and genuine and if so, whether they are a suitable match for your requirements.

Rapport & gut feeling

It’s generally important you have good rapport with a trusted provider, the same applies to web development.

Likewise, if you get a gut feeling about someone which is contrary to what they’re saying, it might be good to give it a miss.

While it’s nice to have good intentions to work with people you know, this may not translate well to quality professional outcomes for your new website. It is one thing to be friendly with someone and another to trust them with your project.

Quoted timeframes

With any quoted timeframes for a website, you should consider doubling the estimate. If you’re dealing with a one person operation you may like to triple the estimate. Ask them if they have any plans in the short term to go on holidays or will be away.

What may surprise you is if your web developer ups and leaves in the middle of a project, not to be seen for several weeks or even longer. A contractor will often have a more attractive price, but they may also be less available than a more established business.

Offshoring vs Freelancer vs Professional local firm

With so many choices of providers it can be difficult to choose who to go with and what sort of web developer provider to select.

An offshore provider may have a cheaper upfront hourly rate, but a higher overall cost (we have seen projects take 10x the hours).

A freelancer might have a more balanced rate which reflects the locality, but take into consideration their experience, reliability, project timeframes and skill level.

A professional local web development firm may be highly responsive and get the job done quickly, but often the price will reflect that.

Considering the overall cost can be difficult with some providers without the benefit of hindsight.

Technical capability

There are many web developers with varying technical capabilities.

It is also important to understand therefore that different tasks may require someone with a different skill set.

For example a social media specialist who can make a WordPress website for you, may not be able to move it for you if you need to change your web hosting.

Conversely someone who specialises in membership websites, may not be able to reliably custom integrate your website with a 3rd party tool.

Likewise, someone who is great at creating brand new websites, may not be able to fix an older website.
To summarise: Do your homework on your new prospective provider and shop around to find someone reliable.

If you’re not sure what to do about your situation or website problem, feel free to contact us.