Designing a Great Web Site

Website Design
When it comes to designing a website there are 2 options. The first is to have a professional web designer design the website and the second is to design it yourself (or have one of your staff design it).

Both options have their advantages and disadvantages so you should evaluate both alternatives. The decision could be an easy one – you could have no experience with design, colour schemes, layouts or knowledge about what is aesthetically pleasing to the eye so you choose a web designer, or you could have a bit of experience in design and decide to do it yourself.

Choosing a Web Designer
The best way to tell if a web designer is any good is to look at their work. If you are evaluating a web design company they will have a portfolio of work that you can assess. Most designers have a distinct style so make sure that you choose someone (who along with having a good portfolio) that you find appealing. There are basic design principles that apply to all website design so have a look around at different websites and compare what you like and don’t like about them.

Web designers tend to charge by the hour so you should decide beforehand what you want to achieve, any ideas you have on colour schemes and what you expect from the web designer. At the first meeting have a clear agenda and specify exactly what your needs are.

A good way to determine whether the web developer is professional is to measure how fast they respond to your requests for quotes, information or help. If they are vague or slow to respond then move on. There are plenty of web designers and web development companies that will be more than happy to give you prompt attention.

Ensure that at your first meeting there is a firm quote given that will give you an idea as to what you will be paying. You should also be clear on what it will cost if the web designer takes longer than expected or if there is any changes later one (e.g. if you decide that you wish to have an online form that the customers can contact you on).

Having a web designer can be an expensive exercise if you do not keep tabs on the work performed and stick as much as possible to a schedule. A good web designer will design up a few different prototypes so that you can choose an option yourself. They need to be flexible to your requests but remember, they are the experts in design – not you so take their advice as well.

Also discuss issues such as web hosting, ongoing maintenance of the website, whether you can update it yourself when you want to change your content and basic website promotion. Web developers will know about search engine optimisation and be able to help you promote the website via search engines and other web entities.