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How To Choose a Web Designer

FIRST AND FOREMOST
Decide if you even NEED a custom web design. The typical website can start at just a few hundred dollars, but has no limit on expense. For a few hundred dollars, you can not expect to get much in the way of bells and whistles. In fact, unless you have found a "charity webmaster," you won't get much in the way of basics either -such as graphics, logos, attractive layout, functionality, etc.

If you do not need a custom design, you can look at using a template. There are many sources of templates, and sometimes web hosting companies will provide templates for use as part of their hosting plan. Typically, the cost ranges from FREE to $200 up-front (and/or sometimes a monthly fee). Often times, these templates are attractive, functional, and will work well for a basic site!

WHAT TO LOOK AND ASK FOR
If you do need custom graphics, logo work, advanced layout, detailed functionality, or some other bell or whistle; then you have a lot of which to be aware.

  • ALWAYS ask for references and check up on them!
  • Review their Portfolio - verify that THEY did the work. Either look on that page for a "service mark" or "design by:" tag OR call the web site owner and ask
  • Write up "likes" and "dislikes" on some of their examples. Can your "dislikes" be corrected?
  • Look for creativity - if all their sites look too similar, chances are your site will look similar to previous ones. In that case, you'd be better off using a template for less money! Do THIER sites look good?
  • Make sure that their sites are designed with speed in mind. They should load fast and completely. Images should not be distorted and should be good quality
  • If you get this far, MAKE SURE THEY LISTEN! Too many webmasters know how to design, but don't know how to "listen and learn" about your company. This means you'll get frustrated going back and forth with them --and sometimes they'll want more money for the extra time
  • Make sure that they will make a site that can be easily maintained by in-house staff, if desired. Do not rely 100% on expensive consultants that could be here today and gone tomorrow
  • Negotiate for turn over of ALL original graphics, pages, and templates
  • Try to get an idea of their response and make sure they COMPLETE their projects
  • Always have a contract, specify deliverables, deadlines, etc. If you don't understand part of the contract, ASK! Also, make certain that payment terms are agreed upon. Most webmasters typically will ask for pay -bi-weekly- on large, hourly projects because progress can be determined. Otherwise, they will probably ask for half payment up-front and the remainder on delivery of a site that their client is 100% satisfied with. This needs to be in writing
  • Typical rates usually range from around $30 to $100 per hour. The best deals come from good webmasters that want the experience. But, be careful, and try to find someone as a referral from someone you trust. Expect to pay $250-$750 for basic or template-based sites (plus the cost of the template) or around $3,000-$8,000 for a professional corporate site. Of course, large sites or e-commerce sites will be priced accordingly

 

Article By: Brandon Elliott

Brandon Elliott has a wide range of design experience using Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator, Bryce, 3d Studio Max, and other software to create aestetically pleasing web designs.

Visit Brandon's Design Portfolio at: http://www.imagion.com/web_design.htm

 

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