should you look for in a Website Designer?
Choosing a website designer
that you can work with is very important. Creating a website
can be a wonderful experience, or a headache, depending on
who you choose to work with.
One of the most important things you need to do is find
is a website designer that you get along with and who listens
to you. They should also offer a contract so that both of
you have a clear understanding of what will be done and what
everything will cost.
Talk with the designer. If they are in your area, meet them
face-to-face. However, it's not necessary that the designer
be in your city. I have clients all over the world. Even
though I live in Arizona, in the past month I've had clients
from New Jersey, Chino Valley (a hour and a half drive from
me), and I have some potential clients in Arkansas and New
Zealand. You need to feel at ease with the designer since
you will be dealing with them for weeks or months while your
site is created, and maybe longer if they are going to maintain
the site for you.
Ask what program they
use to create their websites. The most popular are GoLive
and Dreamweaver. I would suggest
avoiding anyone using FrontPage. A lot of people use it and
like it, especially since it costs less than $100. However,
little differently than other programs, which may lead to
problems. These problems include HTML errors
as well as adding extra code, which causes pages to load
slower. Some web hosts can't even put up sites made with
FrontPage. Website designers who use FrontPage often use
the templates that come with it, thus limiting the creativity
that could be used on your site. It's not uncommon for me
to look at a website and instantly know that it's been created
with FrontPage. If you're wondering, I use .
You want to be sure that the website designer asks a lot
of questions about what you want and need, instead of trying
to talk you into using what they offer. Your website should
meet your needs and expectations, not only in function but
also in design. I've seen websites designed using flash animation,
ASP databases and all kinds of bells and whistles when this
wasn't appropriate for that particular site. These also kept
many people with older browsers and slow Internet connections
from being able to see the website. These bells and whistles
also cost more than a simpler HTML site. The designer used
these things because that's what they liked to use, not because
it's what should have been used. Simple is always better
when it comes to . Content is king, not animation,
graphics or anything else.
When looking for a website designer, ask these questions.
* Are the web pages they design easy to use? They should
have a page on their site with links to the sites they
have created so you can check this out.
* Is the website, and its pages, organized in a logical manner?
* Do the pages, especially ones with graphics, load quickly?
A page should load in 20 seconds or less on a dial-up connection.
* Are the main points of a page (products and services offered)
easy to find, and do they stand out?
* Does the website entice visitors to take some kind of action
(buy or use something)?
* Contact people they have created sites for to see how they
were to work with. You can usually do this by e-mailing their
clients and asking these questions. "How well is the
site working for you? Did they meet deadlines? Does the website
work properly? Was the estimate accurate? Did they do any
follow-up to be sure everything was working properly? Are
they easy to get a hold of if anything needs to be fixed
* Ask if the site will be usable on browsers other than Internet
Explorer. Some other common browsers are Mozilla (I use this),
Opera and Netscape. Your site should also be usable on older
version of all these browsers.
Don't be intimidated, know what you want and shop around
until you find a designer that can do what you need.
You usually get what you pay for. The lowest price may not
be the best choice for you. I had someone call me today who
was happy to pay my $60 an hour rate because of the nightmare
they were having with their current designer who charged
$25 an hour.
Know what pages you want on your site and what you need
it to do for you. Are you going to sell a product or service?
Do you want it to be a portfolio for your artwork or photographs?
Think carefully about what you want and write it out so you
can give a copy to the designer.
If you have a deadline, let the designer know to be sure
they can meet that deadline.
It can be helpful to have a list of a few websites that
are similar to what you want yours to look like. This will
give you a clearer picture of what you want, and the designer
can see what you like.
You are going to spend time and money creating this site,
and you have a need that this site must meet, so be sure
you get what you expect. Feel free to ask all the questions
you want and to have everything clear in your mind. Then
you can make an informed decision, and soon you will be using
the Internet for the amazing tool that it is.