How to Hire a Drupal Development Company
From business leaders, CEOs, marketing managers, and communications specialists, everyone knows how important a user-friendly and fully functional website is to the success of a modern business. But getting to the point where that ideal website is up and running is another matter entirely. While there are a number of perfectly acceptable web development options, Drupal is by far the biggest name in the game, and perhaps the most effective way to ensure the best possible user interface and user experience throughout the site or purchase funnel.
If you’re looking to hire Drupal developers to help you build the best possible site for your business, keep reading as we dive into just what Drupal development is, the hiring options available to you, and the benefits of hiring a Drupal development company for your organizations.
What is Drupal Development?
Beginning with the basics, Drupal is open-source (and free!) content management system software that is backed by millions of users worldwide. Thousands of the most popular websites and digital applications are built on Drupal, from government websites to big-name brands, e-commerce sites, and news organizations.
Drupal development, then, is the task of using this open-source platform to build, customize, and maintain sites and apps. Drupal’s user interface accommodates a seemingly endless array of content types, and custom modules add even more user-facing functionality and customizability. Best of all, Drupal is scalable, making it a perfect choice for businesses of any size.
What Tasks Warrant a Drupal Developer?
The list of possible tasks that a Drupal developer can perform during a development process is a long one, and usually depends upon the needs of your company. However, an experienced and expert Drupal developer will be well-versed in website development, theming, module use and customization, and several foundational development technologies that are a part of the Drupal experience such as PHP and SQL.
Great developers can not only create websites and manage backend functions from scratch, but can also step into a role with an existing platform and provide valuable updates, upgrades, and custom features that fit your company and customer needs. This will include developing brand new modules from scratch in order to provide the exact functionality you want for your site or app.
Additionally, theming is going to be an important part of the process. Skill in design and HTML will be a part of any good developer’s skill set and will allow for the kind of customization and functionality that ensure a proper user experience.
Another key skill will be the ability to make data, displays, and information infrastructure function seamlessly across the site. But this may be negotiable depending on what exactly you need for your site or app.
If you are looking for a brand-new site, or a completely revamped and updated site, then a Drupal developer with both front-end and back-end knowledge will be key to success.
What Other Tools Should Drupal Developers Be Knowledgeable Of?
As mentioned above, a talented Drupal developer will also have a good working knowledge of HTML, PHP, MySQL, CSS, jQuery, and perhaps some other web design-specific tools such as Photoshop.
If your team or company is small, you may also look for a dedicated Drupal developer who has the experience that complements your IT staff or marketing team (such as data management experience, social media experience, and so on). Generally, though, your best bet is to focus your search on a Drupal developer who has extensive experience with site and application development. That will help to ensure the best results for your business.
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Should I Hire an Agency, a Freelancer, or Handle Drupal Development In-House?
Now we come to one of the big questions—which way to go? There are experienced Drupal freelancers, web development and design agencies that specialize in Drupal development, and of course qualified candidates that you can bring in-house full-time. Each option has its positives, of course, but there are important considerations to take into account as well.
Positives and Negatives of In-House Drupal Development
As with any in-house team, from IT to marketing to sales and so on, bringing full-time Drupal expertise into your organization ensures that you have a direct connection with the person (or people) who are ensuring that the site and app function properly. It also makes sure that the developer is very familiar with the company and brand, the customers, and the different initiatives that your business is undertaking. This allows them to develop not only a site or app but also customized Drupal modules that provide just the right functionality and user experience.
On the other hand, creating a position or an in-house team is always an expensive prospect. Between salary, benefits, hiring, and onboarding costs, the price tag associated with hiring an in-house Drupal developer (or team) is often quite high—higher, even, than what many web development firms might charge. One estimate has put the average in-house Drupal developer salary at approximately $93,000 per year. Bearing in mind that figure doesn’t include other costs as mentioned before, the prospect of hiring one or multiple in-house Drupal developers can be a bit too costly for small or even mid-sized companies.
Positives and Negatives of Freelance Drupal Developers
Freelance Drupal developers are another option, and many organizations make use of skilled freelance Drupal developers for specific project needs, site development, or site revamp. Among the positive benefits of working with a freelance Drupal developer is the fact that you will have a direct line of communication with your developer, and only one person to contact when it comes to project needs, timelines, and more. Freelance web developers and Drupal experts may also be open to shifting demands and changes as your business needs are adjusted. And you may be able to ramp up or down on the hours as required by the initiative or project. Compared to an in-house Drupal developer, the cost of hiring a freelance Drupal expert is significantly lower. Average hourly rates for freelance developers can be found in a range between $60 and $80 per hour. Hiring a freelancer also means a lower price tag overall, since you will likely have specific needs or a fixed-term project, so the total number of hours needed will be manageable. Some of the negatives associated with hiring a freelance Drupal developer can include limited time or availability for your project (depending on other clients and workload), sudden shifts in the amount of time they can dedicate to your site, and of course varying levels of experience and expertise with certain areas of development.
Why You Should Hire a Drupal Development Company
All of that brings us to the third option—hiring a Drupal development company or web development firm for your needs.
The first reason to select a Drupal development company for your project is that you will get the benefit of extensive expertise across a wide range of development projects, all in one hire. Most web development and Drupal development firms employ developers, designers, and programmers with a range of experience in all of the major digital tools, languages, and software you could possibly need. In addition, their team will have SEO, infrastructure, and database experience, as well as other skill sets that will benefit your company and ensure outstanding results.
Another great benefit of working with a Drupal development firm is access to the latest tools and experience with up-to-date technology. From development to testing and beyond, you’re guaranteed to get the best available resources for your project when working with the team at a Drupal development company.
And not to be overlooked, working with a web design and development firm (specifically with Drupal expertise) gives you a more solid footing when it comes to schedule and timing. The contract you sign will include deadlines, and the developers will know those deadlines from the outset, which in turn means you won’t have to worry about missing an important launch or a critical update.
Hiring a Drupal Development Company
Now we move on to the actual process of hiring your Drupal development partners. And there are two big questions to cover here: 1) how much will it cost to hire a Drupal development company? and 2) how do we select a reputable Drupal development provider?
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Drupal Development Company?
First up let’s cover the costs. Just like with the numbers we discussed above for freelance or in-house Drupal developers, the actual price tag can vary dramatically depending on the scope and scale of your site, your needs, and the skill and experience a developer brings to the table. As a general rule, however, hiring a dedicated Drupal development firm to help you manage and complete your web or app project will range from a couple of thousand dollars to as much as $100,000 for the entire project.
A better idea of pricing comes from some more specific examples, such as a company website. Assuming that it will take a total of roughly 200 hours of development time, you can safely estimate the contract to fall within the range of $20,000-$40,000. App development costs are in roughly the same range, with estimates from $10,000-$30,000, again depending on size, scope, and amount of time to complete the project.
How to Find a Reputable Drupal Development Provider
While the standard tips apply to hiring a Drupal development firm as to any other outsourced needs for your company, there are also a few specialized measures or credentials that can help you narrow your search.
First, with Drupal especially, looking at or asking about specific technical expertise is key. You can even ask them to review some of your existing code (if your site is already up), thereby getting a direct idea of what they can offer and what they will advise you on.
You can also see if the Drupal development provider or members of their team have profiles on GitHub. The open-source nature of Drupal means that most developers are also very active in the Drupal community, and reviewing their GitHub profile will give you some insight into their contributions, their code examples, and their expertise.
Credentials and certifications are also a great place to look for more information about prospective Drupal development partners. Ensuring that their team of developers not only knows the latest version of Drupal but also has extensive experience with previous versions will help you know for certain that they are ready to tackle your project.
Finally, as with any contractor or external partner, you can look at previous clients, reviews, testimonials, and case studies on their official website, as well as on third-party websites like UpCity. These will demonstrate the breadth of their experience, and allow you to see firsthand how their work has translated into digital sites, apps, and other tools.
Additional Aspects to Consider Before Hiring a Drupal Development Company
Before diving right into hiring a Drupal development company, make sure that you consider a couple more important items.
First, are your leadership team and your various departments aligned on the project? Do you all agree on what needs to be updated or changed? Are you all on the same page with features, functions, SEO, and goals? Getting buy-in before you sign on the dotted line makes sure that the project flows more smoothly.
You’ll also want to make sure that your partner is familiar with any third-party tools or integrations that your site/app currently uses and that they have experience with the full suite of tasks needed for your project. Much of this information will come from your initial planning and should be incorporated into your early discussions with any Drupal development company you plan to partner with.
What to Expect After Hiring a Drupal Development Company
Once the contract is in place and your Drupal web development team is ready to begin work, you can expect a few things.
One is having a responsive and experienced partner who brings a great number of ideas and strategies to your project. You can also expect a great Drupal development firm to help you identify areas where you can adjust, upgrade, and even change your plan and project scope in order to get the best results for your business.
If you’ve gone through the advice and information we outlined above, you should also be working with a Drupal company that understands all facets of the process, including security, add-ons, integrations—anything pertinent to your specific web development project.
Get Ready to Launch Your Business to a New Level
Working with expert Drupal developers is a tremendous opportunity for your business, and will allow your company to expand and grow while retaining and gaining loyal clients. The possibilities are limited only by time and budget—both of which will be maximized by partnering with a Drupal development company. The process is simple, and the results will speak for themselves.