said 1 year, 4 months ago:
Hi Jenifer! I’m a web developer and I’ve done some work in vertical markets (automotive, auto parts, travel, etc.). I’ll answer with some of my thoughts:
#1 Do you think it’s better to use a developer that specializes in sites for particular industries or any field? I’ll probably go both ways on this one. Sometimes an outsider doesn’t understand specific requirements of your industry. For instance the auto dealership industry have their own XML format for submitting individual auto listings that account for items like the VIN number. If the dealer ever works with Cars.com or Autotrader, they’ll need to be able to provide these tags in an RSS feed.
If your industry has unique data or needs, someone who’s familiar with your industry might be best.
That being said, I understand your question. Developers locked into an industry have a tendency to look only within the vertical segment and don’t really create anything new. A little research might point you to somebody being creative.
#2 Do you all charge monthly fees beyond the initial setup? It depends. For instance I have a product that I sell both as a single license and as a recurring monthly fee. Let’s say I sell the one-time license for $2500, but only charge $49 per month for ongoing use (with a $200 set-up fee). The advantage to the end user for the monthly package is less up-front fees and on-going updates without charge.
#3 My site is with bigcommerce and I really don’t want to start from scratch. Two variables here: How much customization does bigcommerce allow and how much needs to be done. I’m sure you can find someone to do the work, but be careful. In my business $500 isn’t a LOT of money and usually the people who take these jobs aren’t really well versed in SEO. I guess you get what you pay for.
Good luck and let me know if I can help!