A website has gone from being a gimmicky luxury to an absolute necessity for businesses in virtually every field. If you’re a business owner who’s ready to move into the online marketplace, getting your website built is the first step you have to take. Sadly, there’s not a store where you can pick websites off a shelf and charge them to your credit card (except for the places where you can do this – see below). To build a good site, you’ll need a web designer. This article can teach you just what such a creature is, and what he or she can contribute to your company.
In the most broad and basic sense, “web design” encompasses virtually every aspect of creating, operating, and maintaining a website. Someone who can rightfully call themselves a professional web designer has a thorough understanding of the programming languages that are used to generate modern web content and a good grasp of the current state-of-the-art in websites. Of course, a web designer can also be anybody who successfully gets a website up and running; your niece, Janette might call herself a web designer because she’s operated a Twilight fan page for several months.
While you could kick a few bucks Janette’s way in exchange for something that could technically be called a website, as a business owner, it really behooves you to get the job done a little more professionally. If your company is big enough to have an IT specialist on its staff, check with them first; they might know enough about web design to produce a usable site. If your outfit is really lean and mean, though, you’ll probably need to hire an outside consultant for web design work.
Web designers are, literally, everywhere. You could hire a company that’s based just down the street, or contract with a freelancer who’s on the other side of the globe. Good web designers operate in all kinds of price ranges, too. It’s difficult to say exactly how much you should pay for a good website. At the low end of the spectrum, (though still a rung or two above Janette) there are high-volume design firms that will plug your company’s information into a basic template and get it online for a minimal cost. While these sites do not tend to be memorable, they get the job done, and they’re also usually very low-maintenance. In contrast to these bargain-basement outfits, some web designers will charge you astronomical prices for sites that they promise will redefine the way you do business and break new online ground. Some of these artistes may even be able to deliver on their promises.
In the end, the most important thing for you is to find a web designer that you can work with effectively. Strong communications skills and rapid response times are excellent. You should hold your web designer to the same sort of professional standard you would employ with any other outside consultant, such as an accountant. One of the best ways to locate such a designer is through referrals. If you have business associates with good-looking websites, ask them who their designer is. You can also get unbiased feedback about a potential web designer by looking at client reviews posted on the Internet.
You should not have to pay an arm and a leg to secure a decent, functional, memorable website for your business. Investing a little effort in the selection of your web designer can save you a lot of trouble further down the road. It’s worth taking your time with the choice if it means the difference between working with a reliable professional and dealing with a charlatan, an artiste, or your niece.