How to hire the best Internet partner: Part IV

Last month, I wrote about what types of questions you might like to ask a Website designer when considering a partnership. Let’s continue that conversation in this installment. Truth is, there’s lot’s to ask so this subject is deserving of our continued attention.

We’ve covered questions like:

  1. Local or Remote? Or, does geography matter?
  2. Strategic Expertise… does the potential vendor have any to lend?
  3. Portfolio…what it can tell you about the designer.

In this installment, I offer a couple more questions to ask a potential Web designer:

4. Identify Skill Sets: Ask the vendor if they will be doing all the work (soup-to-nuts) or if there will be others (i.e. contract agents) contributing? It’s important for you to know who’s doing what on your project as it can affect the quality of the work as well as whether it meets time and budget expectations.

Very often, when pitching the work, you could get the impression your contact will be involved in the entire process only to find out later that the site has been handed off to a junior staff person or worse…to several of them!

Ask your potential design vendor if they are the actual person designing the site? Are they the actual person programming the site? Find out what their responsibility is once the sale is complete and the work begins.

By the way, it’s not necessarily a bad thing if you discover that there are other folks working on the project. Given the degree of (coding) difficulty, the scope (particularly if large) of the project and other factors, it’s perfectly okay for subcontractors to work on your site. If it is a team effort though, a stronger emphasis needs to be placed on who’s in charge… a solid project manager is then essential to keeping all hands on deck happy and successfully meeting deadlines and budget limits!

5. Process: Does your vendor have one? All site design/development projects are created through a process. Some processes are structured, articulated, and clearly spell out deliverables, mutual expectations, timelines, and the like in advance. Some do not…watch out for those!

There are so many assets inherent to Websites, such as:

  • Logos,
  • Image catalogs,
  • Videos,
  • Audio clips,
  • Content,
  • PDFs, and the list goes on…

The effort to coordinate that aspect of the project alone can be considerable. In the Internet industry, the project manager’s task is to complete the process (or process plan) on deadline and within budget. With so many variables that can (and do) go awry walking out a design/development process, it’s unwise to underestimate the contributions of a good project manager. Having one makes a great deal of difference so make sure your interviewing process uncovers the skill level of the vendor in this critical area.


Silvana Gravini is an online marketing strategist and graphic designer with over 15 years’ extensive experience in Website design and development, social media, and search engine optimization (SEO). For more information phone (413) 585-0985 or visit

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