Disclaimer: We’re Shopify developers, but in this article, we are attempting to be as agnostic as possible. It’s more than possible to create a beautiful, working website without a professional developer. This post is to help you decide when to hire a developer and when to work on your website yourself.
You’ve done it.
You’ve signed up for Shopify, picked a theme, and started selling your products.
But something isn’t right. Maybe the theme you picked doesn’t have the specific features you’re looking for, or a new app you’ve installed from the Shopify App store has started making your website act wonky, thus hurting customer satisfaction, conversion rates, and your bottom line.
Whatever it is, you may be wondering whether you should hire a Shopify developer. Is it the right time to hire someone, or can you do it yourself? When IS the right time?
We’ve spent more than 13 years delivering development services to small businesses like yours, and we’ve seen our fair share of instances where business owners hired a developer when they might not have needed to, as well as times where the DIY approach just wasn’t the best idea.
We know that no two brands are the same, though, so with this post, we’ll attempt to help you figure out the right approach for YOUR business.
Which brings us to the first question…
When do you need a Shopify Developer
The quick of it is that it’s worth it to hire a Shopify developer when you don’t have the time, energy, or knowledge to complete whatever task you’re looking to get done.
Shopify developers can work with you to complete a variety of tasks. Some of which include:
- Coding changes to your website to make it function more how you want it to
- Optimizing website pages and navigation for performance and functionality
- Ensuring ADA compliance across your site
- Technical support
- Developing a website and user interface that’s unique to your brand
There’s so much more that a Shopify developer can help you do, but first, you’ll need to decide whether one is actually NECESSARY for what you’re looking for.
To that end, we’ve created a workflow of questions to ask yourself whenever you discover a new bug or task that needs to be worked on within your website.
Let’s break it down.
First, ask yourself whether the fix, feature, or customization you’re looking for is included in your Shopify theme. If it is, you may be able to do it yourself without needing to hire a developer.
Does it have to do with optimizing your product pages? If so, here are 7 quick tweaks you can do to make them rock. We’ve found that even implementing one of these changes can have a big impact on your bottom line.
Next, does this project require hard coding skills? If yes, do you know how to code or have the time to learn how and implement the changes you’re looking for? If the project includes any of these small tasks, you can easily do it yourself.
And finally, if you’ve concluded that this project ISN’T a feature, fix, or customization you can complete yourself with the time and knowledge you do have, what’s your budget for hiring someone to do it for you?
If you’re a newer store, budget is going to be especially important to keep in mind if you’re looking to get help with your Shopify website design.
So how much does it cost to hire someone to work on your website?
Many developers charge upward of $500 per project, with the cost to build an entire website often around $1,000 - $3,000 when you’re working with a professional.
Here at TaskHusky, our clients pay an average of $89 to $250 per task and enjoy 14 days of free, unlimited revisions. There’s also no size limit for your project – it can be as large or small as you want, so long as it’s only one project at a time. If you have multiple projects you’d like completed, though, we add them to a queue and only move onto the next task after the one before it’s been completed and approved by you.
Regardless of whether you choose to work with us or another developer, you’ll want to make sure you’re asking the right questions.
We wrote a post about the top questions to ask your Shopify developer, but here are some more to keep in mind when you’re looking to hire a developer for your Shopify website.
Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Shopify Developer
It’s the sign of a confident developer when they offer revisions as part of their contract with you. When a contractor doesn’t offer revisions, it can demonstrate a lack of confidence in their skills, and it can also serve to disincentivize them to get it right the first time. After all, you’ll be paying for any additional revisions, which means more work on their docket and more paper in their pocket.
That’s why at TaskHusky, we offer a generous 14-day review period for you to request unlimited revisions. That way, you can be assured of satisfaction with whatever project we’re working on for you.
We’ve all been there. Something breaks at the worst possible moment, or you realize a feature you thought was helping drive revenue is actually flushing it down the drain. Before you start working with a Shopify developer, ask them about their experience with situations like this. Do they have a set policy in place for helping clients when everything’s on fire? Can you trust them to hop on things quickly and give you an accurate timeline of when to expect a fix?
Tools like Rewind Backups can help with this on your end (and make any developer’s life easier) by ensuring regular backups are made of your site. That way, if something breaks, or God forbid, gets deleted, you’ll have a way to restore it without significant downtime.
This question is HUGE. Shopify is its own beast. And don’t get us started on Shopify Plus. They’re the best eCommerce platforms out there, but that also means there’s a lot of knowledge required to work within their interface correctly. All of our developers at TaskHusky are experts in Shopify and Shopify Plus so we can ensure optimal quality of all the projects we work on with you.
Shopify vets their partner and expert programs pretty extensively, so don’t just take a developer’s word that they’re an expert. Look for the official “Shopify Expert” icon on their website to ensure you’re getting a quality developer.
Another big question. eCommerce is different on practically every level from other websites, and it really cements the meaning behind the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none”. When a developer eats, sleeps, breathes eCommerce, they inevitably start thinking about things like conversion rate, cart abandonment, page design, and funnel development differently. They gain a truly solid understanding of what it takes to engage with customers from the second they click through to a website, and they can use the knowledge gained from working on other store websites to positively impact the next client, and the next one, all the way down to your store.
It’s different from when someone is splitting their time between, say, Shopify development and social media management. They might require a similar understanding of metrics, but fundamentally, the two are different.
When looking to hire a Shopify Web Designer, look for a Shopify Master, not a jack of all trades.
This isn’t the same as working with a developer who offers revisions. It’s a matter of connotation. When a developer can enthusiastically answer “yes” to this question, it means they’re passionate about making sure any work they do is done CORRECTLY, and that you’re happy with the results. And if it’s not, or you’re unhappy, they’ll do what it takes to meet your expectations.
If you’d prefer not to ask this question during your consultation with a Shopify developer, you can look at their reviews instead. If they don’t display any sort of social proof on their website (e.g. reviews, logos from past clients, etc.), then this can mean one of two things. Either they’re just starting out and likely aren’t the Shopify Master you’re looking for, or they haven’t had many satisfied customers in the past.
Either way, it’s not the best indicator of a developer you want to work with.
This question is a big one, especially if you’ve never worked with a developer in the past. Let’s imagine you’ve hired someone to make some pretty significant changes to your website. They notify you over the weekend that work’s been completed, just in time to meet the deadline they quoted you.
When you login to the site on Monday to start working, everything seems fine, but then Tuesday and Wednesday roll around and you start to notice some issues crop up. You notify the developer, only to be told you just had 24 to 48 hours to request any changes.
That’s simply not sustainable. And honestly, pretty frustrating.
We’ve seen it too many times.
That’s why we recommend asking this question AND paying special attention to any contracts you sign. Look for a Shopify developer who allows for a minimum of 5 days (a week is better) for you to give your final approval and request changes or revisions. That way, you have plenty of time to measure the impact on your business.
When a developer offers support and maintenance services after a project’s been completed (this is different from the revisions we mentioned above), it’s a huge green flag that they aren’t some fly-by-night developer that’ll take your hard-earned cash for a one-off project and leave you to figure it out for yourself. If something changes months down the line and you need to hire someone to go in and update your website code, you’ll likely want to work with the same person or team. If they DON’T offer that, consider it a yellow to orange flag, as it displays uncertainty of where the developer’s business might be months and years from now.
This is especially important if you’re looking to work with someone on a major project like a full overhaul of your website or product pages. You want to make sure the developer can fulfill in the areas you need them to before you’re thousands of dollars in the hole.
You’ve already signed up for Shopify and picked a quality theme that automatically optimizes your site for mobile (you did pick a quality one, right?). What can happen, though, is you add an app or make some tweaks to your site that throw the entire mobile experience out of wack, and your entire business suffers as a result.
You’d be surprised how many times we’ve been called in to fix the mobile side of a website that got upset by another developer’s changes.
A great developer will know how to make those updates for both desktop AND mobile and will be well-versed in ensuring your mobile UX remains in tip-top shape, regardless of the code changes you make. And if something does happen that pushes your mobile site out of alignment, they’ll know how to fix it as part of the deal.
At the end of the day, deciding whether to hire a Shopify developer or take the time to make site changes yourself takes a lot of prep.
If we had to boil the process down to two sentences, though, it would be this:
If you have the time, energy, and inclination to complete a task using the tips we shared above, then you go Glen Coco.
And if at any point you aren’t comfortable working with code, don’t have time to learn, and have space in your budget, then it’s worth it to hire a Shopify expert to help you with your store.
We here at TaskHusky are at your disposal for any and all of your Shopify development needs! Tell us about your project by filling out this form here, and we’ll give you a free quote, risk-free.
Thanks for reading!