My Web Developer Disappeared Mid-Project

You work extra hard to keep your company’s marketing efforts organized and running smoothly.
You don’t like relying on others to accomplish your marketing goals, but sometimes you have to.


Like when you need a web developer to build CMS integration, form functionality, an ecommerce process or any other website projects that improve your visitors’ experience on your site and help you drive business. Your internal team isn’t always available for these web projects, and sometimes you need to seek outside resources with the additional skills required for a particular project.

Freelance web developers are great for that. Except, as you’ve discovered, when they’re not. Sometimes your freelance web developer flakes. Your developer misses a meeting, you haven’t heard from him by the update deadline and he isn’t responding to your emails or voicemails.

Oh, and your boss is asking how that project’s coming along.

Sound familiar?

Don’t panic.

We see this a lot, and we’re here to offer some guidance.

Step 1:
Document Your Attempts to Reach Your Freelance Web Developer

Keep a record of those missed meetings and deadlines, save the emails you’ve sent and take note of messages left on your developer’s voicemail.

Save this information together where you can easily access it as proof of project abandonment if needed later.

Step 2:
Consult Operations and Your Legal Department

Your web developer most likely signed a contract with your company regarding work expectations. Maybe you or someone at your company signed a contract drawn up by the developer. Your company will need to follow the procedure outlined in the contract for severing the relationship due to incomplete work and figuring out what is owed to whom when terminating the relationship.

This is where that attempts-to-contact documentation you saved will come in handy. Once you’re free from contractual obligations, you can take the next steps to complete your web development project.

Step 3:
Determine the Right Fit For Your Web Project

Not all web development services are equal. The best fit depends on the type of web project you need finished.

Here are the options:

  • In-House
  • It’s been a while since the project started. If your internal web development team has the skills, are they now available to finish the project? If so, is that the best use of their time?
  • Consider what’s left to complete on the project and consult your team for time estimates.
  • If you can now take it in-house – wow, we’re impressed! If in-house still isn’t an option, read on for more.
  • Web Development Agency
  • Agencies rock at large development projects that they handle from start to finish with lots of discovery, branding and messaging. Seek an agency if you need large-scale solutions development.
  • For example, go to an agency if you have A, B and C applications that do X, Y and Z, but you want them to do L. The agency would investigate what you hope to achieve with L, if it’s possible to use what you already have, and, if not, then what is the best alternative solution to achieve the functionality – and then determine what it would cost to do it.
  • Yeah, I’m confused, too. Let’s move on.
  • Another Freelance Web Developer
  • Don’t let a bad experience with one freelance developer ruin all freelance developers for you. A lot of freelancers are talented and dependable.
  • Go with a freelance developer if you have time to manage the project, know exactly what you need and want, and have enough of a technical background to explain what you want and how it should be done. Do a bit of homework reaching out to colleagues for reliable developers with experience in the type of project that you need finished. Look at examples of their development work and try to see some of that work in action.
  • Website Support Company
  • Bias alert! This is us.
  • Take your web project to a website support company for small ongoing projects, support, maintenance and troubleshooting. Website support companies help you manage and coordinate your initiatives with an understanding of the technical aspects of the project. They provide advice and recommendations to coordinate your project with future initiatives.
  • Our expertise at WhatArmy is WordPress and Shopify. (Thanks for asking!) We also specialize in SquareSpace, HTML/CSS, PHP, MYSQL, JavaScript, and a multitude of other things.
  • There are other website support companies that focus on software development and additional web platforms. If you go this route, check with your network and online to find a company that specializes in the technology your project requires.
  • That Neighbor Kid Who Has His Own Website
  • Sorry, but if you didn’t find the right fit in the other options listed above, you’re left with that kid down the street who built his own website. Or, maybe it’s just a blog. Whatever, that kid’s going places!

Step Four:
Rejoice In Saving the Day

Congratulations on keeping your cool in a harrowing situation, resolving (or dissolving) a harmful business relationship and saving your web project.

You’re a hero. Here’s to you, Fearless Marketing Leader! Now, go forth and share that update with The Boss That Be and get back to the work you love – driving the marketing machine that brings in business.

We are recognized as a top Shopify Company on DesignRush

Time to call in the ‘A’ Team?

Still have a couple lingering questions? Talk to someone on our team and they will answer your questions and point you in the right direction