If you are thinking about creating a new Web site or significantly updating an existing site, you have probably considered hiring a professional Web developer to do the work for you. You could do the work yourself or hand the task to one of your employees. However, producing a good Web site requires specialized tools and techniques, and an aptitude for learning both. That aptitude is what you pay for when you hire a professional. Owning a copy of FrontPage doth not a good designer make, and the Web is littered with proof of that. Don't risk your company's professional image on an amateur Web site.
When looking for a professional, you need some way to evaluate his or her qualifications. That isn't easy to do if you don't know much about the subject yourself. To work around this problem, you need to figure out how you want your Web site to work. Examine other Web sites and note the features you see that you would like to incorporate into your own site. These notes give you a common reference point in discussions with a potential developer.
Most Web site development firms give you a free initial consultation to discuss your site. Here are some of the things you should look for before deciding to hire any firm:
* What services do they offer? You can frequently save money and aggravation if you have a single point of contact for all Web site issues. If the firm offers the design, programming, e-commerce, and hosting solutions you need, consider taking advantage of a package deal.
* Did you communicate well with them? You need to feel comfortable working with the firm. Successful communication is critical to completing a successful project. If they don't seem to understand what you want or don't leave you feeling confident that they can accomplish it, then talk to another firm before making a decision.
* Do you like what they have accomplished in the past? Graphic design is very subjective and personal. If you don't like the work their designers produced for others, you probably won't like what they produce for you.
* Will any of the work be subcontracted? Most firms don't call attention to the fact that they use subcontractors. Until something goes wrong, that is. Then you hear excuses about how the subcontractor failed to perform. Make sure the firm you hire takes ultimate responsibility for completing your project, regardless of how it is accomplished.
When you go into an initial consultation with a Web developer you are considering, you should be prepared to direct the conversation. The tips presented in this article will help you prepare yourself with the knowledge and questions you need to make sure the developer can give you what you need.