How to hire the best Internet partner: Part II

Last month, I wrote about work you should do to prepare to speak with potential Internet partners such as Web designers, programmers, search engine optimization specialists, social media specialists, and Internet marketing consultants. In this second installment of the series, let’s talk about the various types of Internet partners and what you can expect from them.

As this blog speaks to a micro to small business audience, it’s fair to assume big agency fees are difficult (if not impossible) to swing these days. If so, then the Internet partners you’ll interview are likely going to be small, one-person-shop types–which is great—though limits the range of expertise you’re likely to get!

Website Designer

One of a Website designer’s jobs is to learn what design aesthetic you really like. This helps determine production values moving forward. Further, some of what a Website designer does is:

  • Help determine page layout(s);
  • Site colors (including navigation and link colors);
  • Font families/types (not unimportant);
  • Usually develops the site’s navigation (the architecture and its design treatment);
  • Is responsible for tracking down assets or all the photos, logos, video, graphics, etc. comprising your site; and finally (arguably most importantly)
  • Your Internet partner is usually tasked with “Project Manager” status! They are responsible for driving (or not) the progress your site makes during the development process.

Website Programmer

The Website programmer takes design specifications from the designer and implements (i.e., creates the code that supports all functionality). There are many types of programming languages, database languages being more complicated. All things considered though, you should be relieved to learn that the programming necessary for most Websites is actually not rocket science! For the most part, you can expect to find a rich pool of talent to choose from in programmers.

Internet Marketing Consultant

Social media and search engine optimization specialists fall into the Internet marketing consultants category. They’re here to help you develop and implement an online marketing strategy once you have a Website in place.

In searching for an Internet partner, you may be in a situation where you need to choose from one of the above to help in creating a comprehensive online brand for your business or organization. Just be aware that each have their strengths and weaknesses. For instance, in most cases, it’s unwise to look to your programmer for solid design advice or to look to your designer for the best direction on coding platforms and marketing strategies!

Every now and again you may find the rare professional that can bring it all to the table with expertise in all three of the critical areas needed to shape a successful online brand  (design, programming, and marketing) but otherwise, you’ll need to go to an agency to receive blanket treatment.

A final word on project management, just like the construction industry, though you may have a great blueprint for the project and a fabulous staff on hand to do the work, if you do not have a project manager on task to make sure deadlines are met and to keep costs in line with the budget… chances are the whole thing could get away from you.


Silvana Gravini is a website designer and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialist located in Northampton, MA. For more information, visit

1 comment

  1. Django KE says:

    I really love these tips. These are things one need to take care of if you are an internet investor.

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