How to select a good web designer/developer
Good web designs are very subjective and even the designs perceived as great by one person will not be viewed as so by another. Before starting your search the first thing to establish is what budget you have. This determines whether you should be looking at a design agency or a freelance web designer. So what do you need to look for? Do you look for someone with amazing creative talents, a history of excellent websites or simply rely on recommendations from others. Without doubt a web designer's portfolio is of utmost importance, you are not going to contact someone if you are not keen on their previous creations. When looking at their sites check they don't all look the same, check the pages load quickly and above all check they are easy to navigate through and that you never feel lost in the site.
When you approach a designer we suggest you ask the following questions: 1) If a logo is required ask them how they approach the branding process and how can they build on your current branding 2) Ask them how many design concepts they create 3) When coding sites check they validate all pages on the W3C validator? This ensures the pages are free from errors and any respectable coder will automatically ensure this is automatically carried out on all sites. A good test is to look at their recent client list and check those sites using the W3C validator http://validator.org/). 4) You need to decide what audience you are targeting and hence what browsers you want supported.
If you want a site that works in all version 4 browsers and above on PC and Mac then it will cost more than a site is developed for Internet Explorer 5 and upwards on the PC. When you have decided what browsers and operating systems you would like supported check the developer has access to all the relevant browsers and platforms you require (i. do they have a Macintosh if you require this) 5) If your site requires e-commerce ask the designer if they have experience in this area and get them to show you examples. 6) Do you require a content management system (CMS)? Content Management Systems help you manage the text on your pages without knowing any HTML. Many developers can offer this service so if you require one ask them for recommendations, as a CMS they have worked on before will be a lot more cost effective than using one they have not. 7) If you want your designer to market your site on search engines then experience in this area is vital. Many companies offer tools which promise to submit to 1000's of search engines but most people agree these do not work as well as links submitted by hand. Find out what projects they have marketed on search engines, go to Google and if you have the Google toolbar installed find out the Page Rank of the site (a Page Rank of 4 and upwards is generallt regarded as acceptable, anything less than a 3 could do with further optimisation and site submission). Do bear in mind it takes time to get listed on search engines, and even longer for the Google Page Rank to be updated.
(this process can take over three months) 8) Work out if you require affiliate marketing e. banner ads or other forms of online advertising. If you want to go down this route you need to make sure they have experience in this area or use a separate company for this work. So where do you start the search for a designer? Google searches, Kelly Search (http://www.kellysearch.com) and the UKWDA (http://www.ukwda.org) are all good places to start but even better is finding a site you like the look of and enquiring who developed it. This article was written by www.
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