Your Website: Getting Started

If you want a Website, how do you go about getting one? You don’t have the time to learn Web design and you don’t trust your cousin, who says he can do it. So, who can you hire to build your site? Not everyone knows where to start.

Here are a few guidelines to help you get started.

Referrals
Ask friends and other business owners who they recommend. Many web developers create sites and then become diffucult to reach for updates. Look for a developer who responds to questions and is good at follow up. Just because someone is a good web developer doesn’t mean they are good at helping customers. Look for websites similar to what you want and contact the owners to learn thier recommendations.

Your web designer does not have to be in your local area. If you don’t mind working via email and talking on the phone, you may be quite happy with your choice. If you can meet in person, onsite visits can be important, especially if there are problems.

Special language or technology
Find out what technology is needed for your website. Large data-driven websites may need ASP.net (Windows) technology. More popular are Open Source applications like WorPress, which are built in PHP. Get a Web Developer who specializes in the technology you need.

Freelance vs. the Big Web Design Firm
Freelancers often work very closely with their clients to get the job done, and such close collaboration between fewer people (or in some cases, just one person), means that consistency is easy to achieve. Working alone or in a small group can also generate more motivation and dedication to completing projects in which clients can be guaranteed satisfaction. In this type of arrangement, the professional freelancer you meet on the Web will be the Web specialist for your project, and can be held personally accountable. In contrast, a larger company may not have much personal interest in your project.

Freelancers may also represent better value for money. With a freelancer, there are rarely any hidden fees, nor many complex contractual details to overcome before the project can begin. Freelancers may also be more readily available to go onsite if required.

Depending on the size and complexity of your site, a big agency may be the right choice. A larger company may be in a position to deliver bigger projects more quickly than can an individual freelancer. If your project requires a large database or shopping cart application, it’s a good idea to seek out designers who already specialize in that area.

It’s Worth the Work
This process may seem like a lot of work, but when you’re spending thousands of dollars, over many years, on your online presence. Going your homework will save you from getting locked into a designer who is not right for your project.