by Teri Tucker
So, you've decided that your company needs a web site. Now what? Since we are ultimately talking about your "online business image", unless you yourself have web design experience, finding that perfect web designer to create your company site is a very important next step. If you've never had a web site created before, you will find that there is quite a lot to consider if you want your site to be successful, and you may have to do a bit of homework to find the right person for you.
Regardless of the type of site you want, to be successful, your site will need to do, at least, these 3 things:
- Look professional
- Function properly
- Get good positioning on the search engines
In achieving this goal, there's good news and bad news.
The bad news is that there are all kinds of designers out there, offering all kinds of services, and prices are pretty much across the board. The good news is that there are some simple points you can follow to help make this process easier.
So, how do you go about finding a designer?
Since there are so many different companies offering web design, you might start by making a list of what your specific needs are. Every site is unique so it's a good idea to know what you need before you start calling around or sending in estimate forms. Some things you might need to know are:
- Will you be selling a product online?
- Does your site require a database?
- Do you also need web hosting? or a domain name?
- Do you want to have your clients contact you through a form?
- How many pages do you think the site will be?
- Are there any pages or features specific to your business that you would like to have on your site?
Also, write down a couple of URLs of sites that you like. Or maybe you've seen a specific feature on another site that you would like to incorporate into your own site. Having a rough idea of the kind of site you're looking for will help you find the right designer for your project.
One of the best ways I've found to find the right designer is to get a referral from someone you know personally who has already had their site designed and they are happy with the site, and their experience with the designer. So let your friends and family know that you are shopping around for someone to help you create your online business image. People who have had a good experience with their web design company will be more than happy to pass the information along.
If you do get a referral from someone, go and look at the designer's site and see what else they've done. If you're interested, you can fill out a free quote form on their site, or email the designer with the specs of your project.
There are a number of online sites that will help you match your project with a number of designers who will then bid on your project. The one thing to be aware of is that these sites have all types of designers listed with their service from those with years of experience, to those who just bought themselves the latest version of Front Page and have now labeled themselves "web designer".
Although these job sites do make it harder for less experienced people to be listed as a serious prospect, when they ask for your project description, you can include on there that "only serious professionals need apply". You can sometimes eliminate the amount of riff-raff that will send in proposals for your project.
The biggest problem people have with using these job sites is that potential clients are usually overwhelmed with the number of quotes they receive for their project. Be aware that you may have to rifle through a lot of proposals that are not what you are looking for.
These sites usually offer a Designer's Profile and some kind of a rating system, which can help you learn a bit about a potential designer. Reading the reviews listed from previous clients can also help shed some light on your choice of designers.
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