How to Choose a Dedicated Magento Developer | Best Practices

A dedicated Magento developer (or agency partner) can help optimize your eCommerce business by:

  • Offering the best possible solutions from a technical and financial standpoint based on your business goals. A dedicated developer or agency takes the time to understand how your business works, evaluates your goals, and then proposes tailored solutions to help you achieve them.

  • Continuously keeping your site updated and secure. Due to the inter dependencies in the Magento platform, installing new releases can lead to conflicts with existing code. An experienced Magento developer can help you avoid that while keeping your site updated with the latest features, security updates, and bug fixes. 

  • Tackling custom development projects. Magento is a highly customizable eCommerce platform, so working with skilled developers and designers lets you take full advantage of that. For example, they can help you create high-converting landing pages; build critical integrations with ERP software, PIM systems, payment gateways, and other solutions; develop custom Magento extensions (and much more).

  • Speeding up your website. While fast by default, Magento sites can become sluggish as you add modules and extensions. An experienced developer dives into your code base and finds ways to boost your site speed, resulting in a better UX and more conversions.

While there are many ways to find dedicated Magento web developers and agencies, choosing the right one can be a grueling task. You need developers with the right technical credentials and experience, and you need them to understand your business to help you make the right decisions based on your unique goals. 

In this article, we’ll discuss best practices and common mistakes made during the process of hiring Magento developers.

We’ll also show you how IronPlane — a team of dedicated Magento and Adobe Commerce developers — helps businesses achieve their eCommerce goals and walk you through three of our projects. 

IronPlane is an eCommerce development agency with around 30 specialized Magento developers and 10+ years of experience in Magento projects. To see how we can help you achieve your business goals, contact us for a free consultation.

Best Practices for Choosing a Dedicated Magento Developer (& Mistakes to Avoid)

Working with the right Magento developer or agency partner can take a lot off your plate. You can confidently offload many technical tasks to them and focus more of your efforts on growing your business.

But, as you might guess, choosing the wrong developer or agency has the opposite effect. You spend time in unnecessary meetings, end up with solutions that don’t fit your needs (or aren’t delivered on time), and experience recurring issues. The tips below will help you avoid that.

Clarify What You Need in Advance

Before you hire dedicated Magento developers or an agency, you must assess your:

  • Goals: Increasing conversion rates on important landing pages, hitting specific revenue milestones, etc.
  • Challenges: Slow load times, lack of integrations, etc. 
  • Requirements: Project deadlines, budgets, etc. 

Think about your problems and goals from both a business and technical perspective and how a dedicated developer can help with them. Clarifying these things will help you understand what’s valuable to you in a developer or agency partner (and conversely, what’s not important or relevant). 

As you compare options, remember: Each developer or agency you evaluate should make an effort to understand your goals and help you crystalize how to get there. If a potential partner is simply offering a list of best practices and blanket recommendations without tailoring them to your circumstances, it’s best to look elsewhere.

Evaluate Past Projects, Credentials, Communication, and Transparency (Not Just Price)

One of the biggest mistakes we see organizations make is choosing a Magento developer or agency solely based on the lowest price.

This often ends up backfiring — cutting costs typically leads to cutting corners. As a result, the cost of redesigns, bug fixes, and lost revenue can far exceed the initial attractive price tag.

And while cost-effectiveness can never be overlooked, there are four other crucial factors to consider:

  1. Past projects. Look for case studies and customer reviews to evaluate each developer or agency’s expertise. 

  2. Credentials. Adobe offers different certifications, depending on the skill levels and expertise demonstrated in Magento or Adobe Commerce. Look for the Adobe Certified Professional, Adobe Certified Expert, and Adobe Certified Architect certifications.

  3. Communication skills. Good communication can be the difference between a low-stress project that gets done on time and a hectic one that takes weeks longer than expected. To assess availability and responsiveness, it’s a good idea to have multiple conversations with the developer or agency before hiring them.

  4. Transparency. Any good developer or agency should track their work and keep you in the loop. The same goes for billing — you should always be clear on what you’re paying for. Be sure to ask about how billing and status updates work in your early interactions with each potential partner. A good developer or agency will have no problem being clear with you on both accounts.

Be Prepared to Invest and Build a Long-Term Relationship

Magento isn’t a platform that lets you do things halfway. In order to take full advantage of its capabilities and avoid technical issues, you need high-quality code written by developers who understand the ins and outs of the platform.

As a result, it’s best to look at your dedicated developer or agency as a long-term partner.

A dedicated partner will make the effort to understand your business, evaluate your technical challenges, and see their solutions through. They won’t treat the work as a one-time project. 

Plus, forming a long-term partnership ensures your site will be continuously improved and updated (e.g., by upgrading to the latest version or testing new Magento extensions).

As a specialized Magento and Adobe Commerce agency, we’ve seen the results of underinvesting in both code quality and relationships. In fact, many organizations come to us after years of limited developer resources, poor coding practices, or working with multiple agencies without a long-term approach.

Often, this results in problems piling up and becoming increasingly complicated to resolve. This is such a common occurrence that we offer a separate Magento Rescue service for these cases.

How IronPlane Helps Customers Achieve Their Magento Goals (With Examples)

IronPlane is an eCommerce development agency, specializing in Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce

Our team of expert Magento developers (who are all certified Adobe Commerce Developers), project managers, and UX experts, help businesses achieve their goals with:

1. eCommerce audits and code reviews: These are essential assessments of your site’s code quality, including your core files, theme structure, security, site speed, and more.

2. Custom Magento website design and development: We build everything from entire sites, modules, and extensions, to catalogs, sales tools, and custom integrations. You can read more here: IronPlane Custom Magento Development Services

3. Magento upgrades: Upgrades ensure you get the latest security patches and updates released by Adobe without breaking your site in the process.

4. Ongoing Magento support and optimization: This helps you achieve your performance, reliability, security, and conversion goals.

Outside of these core eCommerce solutions, we offer extra services such as UX and conversion rate audits, Magento-optimized hosting, site security, and performance monitoring.

We also look at each client as a long-term partner; the majority of our clients remain with us for years after their initial project is complete.

In the next sections, we’ll walk you through our exact methodology and work process.

The IronPlane Process

Most of our projects can be broken down into three steps.

Step 1: Initial call to discuss the challenges with your Magento or Adobe Commerce site (like slow site speed, low conversions, security, and so on). 

Our goal is to help you make the best technical and financial decisions for your website projects. That’s why we provide a free consultation before you sign on with us to ensure our services are the right choice for your needs. 

Step 2: Business discovery and code audit.

The next step is to perform a site audit and talk about your goals for your online business and how you want your Magento site to support them. 

The discovery element is one the most important parts of a successful partnership because it helps us understand the greater goals that your website must help you achieve, operational processes and business rules, and design preferences. This foundation ensures your business priorities drive the technology, not the other way around. 

We provide three different site audit options:

  1. Code Audit, which investigates your site’s backend and frontend code. 

  2. Performance Audit, which hones in on the user experience and delves deep into site speed, accessibility, site security, and SEO. 

  3. Comprehensive Site Audit (our most recommended option), which combines the previous two options and adds in the Business Discovery element. This extensive analysis goes over your business goals while reviewing analytics and key performance indicators (KPIs).

IronPlane Services: Choose the best fit for your business needs
Click here to learn more about what each audit entails.

Step 3: Project planning and deployment.

After discussing your business goals and analyzing your site, we start planning the work by clarifying and prioritizing the projects that we need to complete. This ensures that all project requirements are clearly described and easy to follow.

Once this strategic planning is done, we kick off the project. 

During our work together, you’ll be assigned to a dedicated Solutions Specialist who acts as a strategic partner between you and our dev team.

And while every client is different, there are a few principles we maintain throughout our work:

  1. Flexible development process: Our development team can work independently or collaborate with your in-house dev team. It’s up to you.

  2. Transparency: We track all of our activities and make it easy for you to see what we work on, how much time we spend on each task, and how much we charge.

  3. Creativity: Over our 10+ years in the Magento eCommerce world, we’ve worked with both B2B and B2C brands and have experience in various industries. As a result, we’ve gathered a wide arsenal of ideas and best practices, which we tailor to your specific business needs.

Now, let’s see three real-life examples of our process and methodology in action.

1. Tacony: Bringing in a Trusted Partner for Magento Maintenance and Optimization

Tacony Corporation homepage

The Tacony Corporation offers a wide range of sewing and floor care products to customers in over 100 countries. 

They have both B2B and B2C sites that offer products to retail partners, as well as end users. They contacted us because they had a few key issues with these sites:

  • They were behind on their Magento updates and had trouble making even small adjustments to their site. 
  • Their sites didn’t look how they wanted them to and didn’t produce the required operational efficiencies, as one Magento instance was serving three different B2C brands — all with shared themes, extensions, code, and integrations. 
  • Each of their sites used different inventory management systems, payment processors, and enterprise resource planning systems (ERP). Due to this complexity, Tacony’s existing agency couldn’t manage the design and technical aspects of their sites.

This project started with a thorough business discovery and code audit, which allowed our team to understand the functional requirements, hone in on problem areas, and uncover opportunities for improvement.

Then, we started work on a variety of website projects, including:

  • Leading the upgrade process of their existing Magento instance. 
  • Making improvements to their custom Epicor, Quivers, and Bazaarvoice integrations.
  • Redesigning three of their B2C sites for optimized performance, and more.

Here’s what Tacony’s Marketing Leader had to say about working with IronPlane:

“Most agencies use the same cookie-cutter approach for every company, and that wasn’t working for us. IronPlane continues to take the time to do their homework before they take the test. Their extensive code review, requirements gathering, and scoping sessions show me they understand our business and our goals.”

For more details on this project, check out the full Tacony Corporation case study.

2. Packaging Price: Improving Magento Integrations, Customer Engagement, and Site Architecture

Packaging Price homepage

Packaging Price is a leading online source for packaging and shipping supplies, selling everything from steel strapping to corrugated bins to stretch wrap. 

They already had a working Magento website when they contacted us, but struggled in some important areas. Specifically:

  • Every time they updated one part of their site, another part was negatively impacted due to their poorly configured APIs and complex site architecture.
  • The process of adding items, choosing shipping options, and checking out was confusing to customers.
  • The limited integration with Packaging Price’s fulfillment partner made it difficult to notify customers that an order was delayed or back-ordered. This was a pressing issue since their flexible fulfillment options — which let customers ship orders directly or pick them up at Packaging Price fulfillment centers — were one of their big competitive advantages.

To help solve Packaging Price’s problems, we started with our comprehensive discovery process. This involved analyzing their business model, fulfillment center process, and complicated integrations. After that, we did a code audit to identify areas for improvement.

Before the kick-off, our project manager created a detailed plan that let us work on the development tasks, without disrupting Packing Price’s day-to-day operations.

Here are the most important tasks we completed during this project:

  • Managing the site’s hosting with a Magento-optimized AWS architecture.
  • Retooling their fulfillment partner integrations, making it easy to notify customers when orders are delayed or back-ordered.
  • Improving the product discovery and purchase experience with a redesigned shopping cart and other custom functionalities.

The outcome of these activities is an easy-to-use eCommerce store with an improved checkout process and:  

  • A 17% increase in overall revenue.  
  • An 18% growth in average order value (AOV).  
  • A 14% decrease in the number of sessions to transactions; meaning, customers can find the products they need, add them to their cart, and check out much faster than before.

For more details on this project, check out the full Packaging Price case study.

3. Barbeques Galore: Streamlining the Ordering Process and Integrating a Magento 2 Site Across Selling Channels

Barbeques Galore homepage

Barbeques Galore is the largest specialty retailer of grills and outdoor living products in the U.S. They have physical locations and an online store (built on Magento 2) where they sell their own products and inventory from other retailers in the grilling industry.

They were already a leader in their space, but wanted to enhance their eCommerce site by:

  • Improving their ordering and fulfillment processes.
  • Integrating the site with Oracle ERP, as well as with selling channels like Amazon and Walmart.
  • Integrating their various affiliate programs.
  • Offering financing and alternate payment methods to help customers purchase more expensive products.

Based on our business discovery and code audit, we built a Magento 2 website on the Colibri foundation with added customizations. This overcame Barbeques Galore’s initial challenges and served as a scalable platform for future enhancements and integrations.

After that, we also:

  • Set up an Oracle ERP integration, as well as an M2E Pro integration that lets Barbeques Galore sell on Amazon and Walmart.
  • We built an affiliate integration that allows multiple programs to be run through their site simultaneously.
  • We worked on the custom catalog to point customers to more affordable purchasing methods including a financing program.

Here are the most important results from these improvements:

  • Revenue increased by 325.17%. 
  • Number of transactions increased by 101.97%.
  • AOV increased by 110.51% — by offering more upsell/cross-sell options as well as more flexible payment methods. 
  • Average page load times decreased by 24.56% thanks to the Colibri foundation’s performance capabilities and stronger server architecture. 

For more details on this project, check out the full Barbecues Galore case study.

Work with IronPlane as Your Dedicated Magento Partner

IronPlane brings together highly specialized, certified Magento developers, designers, and project managers to help companies achieve their business and technical goals.

Whether it’s front-end or back-end work, extension development, updates, migrations from Magento 1 to Magento 2, Magento theme development, or anything else in the Magento or Adobe Commerce world, our team can help you find and apply the right solutions for your online business.

To see how IronPlane can improve your Adobe Commerce or Magento store, set up a free consultation with our team.

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