How to hire the best Website designer/developer: Part I

You may have heard it said that there’s a low barrier-of-entry to gaining entrance into Internet-related businesses such as Website design and development, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Social Marketing? It’s fair to say that’s quite true!

All that’s necessary to start and operate an Internet services business is access to a computer and some software–a modest investment to hang a shingle!

The economy (such as it is, as well as a number of other factors) have driven displaced workers and new-to-the-workforce populations to “design and marketing” positions, making this a time for buyers to beware. In this environment, it can be easy to fall into a relationship that isn’t a good fit for your organization and could cost you lots of wasted time and money.

All things considered, wouldn’t it be prudent for your business to take the time to learn what questions to ask a potential vendor… especially when partnering incorrectly could be such a costly nightmare?

If you are re-thinking your Website/SEO/Social Media position, here are some things to consider as you search for a professional provider:

Do your homework

Architecture

Prior to contacting potential vendors and asking for quotes, have a good idea of how many pages your site will consist of and approximately what sort of content and functionality you’d like (specific to each page). I suggest searching for similar sites online and taking note of those features you really like. Why reinvent the wheel? A good site is a good site. Why not visit various sites and harvest ideas that can then be applied to yours successfully?

Research the competition

Take the time to conduct research online using Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Making note of those keyword phrases you use (these will come in handy later on for Search Engine Optimization), search the Internet for your business specifically or for businesses like yours. A (quick) hour or so later, you’ll have a very good idea who your competition is online – usually quite different from your bricks and mortar operation, by the way.

Production values

It’s always a good idea to be able to show a potential vendor several examples of what you think is an excellent or well-done site from a graphics and usability standpoint. It’s important that both you and the vendor have a clear, shared vision of what your site should look like. In this case, the familiar adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words” rings true! Presenting 3–5 sites (or parts of sites) that you really like communicates volumes.

Cost savings

Most importantly, having your act together when interviewing candidates could translate to savings for your organization. After all, a quote consists primarily of an estimate of how much time (time equals money) the vendor thinks it’ll take to perform the work. If you’re easy to work with–professional and prepared–the vendor will almost certainly calculate that efficiency into the quote.

Your Internet presence is an exceptionally important marketing tool and crucial to your business success. Vetting potential designer/developers will increase the odds you’ll select a vendor who will listen well to what you want and have the experience and skill sets to create it…on deadline and within budget!

1 comment

  1. As a home business owner your website should provide an enlightening experience for your visitors. The goal is to attract them and giving them good reason to come back. While this might look difficult to some, it's not. By following some simple website design guidelines you can accomplish this and allow your site to generate more new traffic and repeat visitors for you.

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