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* Toll free telephone support * 24 hour customer service * Better Business Bureau affiliation * Human e-mail address contacts * Google PageRank of 2 or above * Presentation of a hard-copy quote/design contract
Does design firm have experience in working with similar types of businesses? Even if a designer doesn’t have a web site in their portfolio related to your industry, firm you select should have a strong working knowledge of how to develop an effective site for your business type. Product and service web sites are not same. Your designer should have a plan of action for developing a site that reaches maximum number of prospective customers in your target market.
A few good questions to ask about a firm’s design experience include:
* Does firm offer a number of diverse, finished web sites available for review? * Will firm conduct research regarding my competition? * Will my web site highlight features, benefits and value of my product or service? * Has firm outlined a plan of action for creating an effective site, start to finish?
Design experience need not always relate to type of web sites firm has previously developed. If you have a specific look in mind, ask firm if achieving a similar design is possible. The ultimate goal is to know you’re going to get a tangible benefit out of your site through effective, affordable web design.
Many web design firms offer design, but do not provide other required services such as hosting and domain name registration. Ideally, your web design company should be a full-service firm, offering at least basic hosting, domain registration and search engine optimization services tailored to your needs. Research each firm to determine other key lines of business, so that any future expansion of your site will be seamless as your business grows.
An effective website should take 30-60 days to go live, from start of production. Unless you’re offering hundreds of individual products or services on your web site, entire development process, start to finish, should take no longer than 60 days. Turnaround time should include:
* Upload of your web site to hosting provider * Configuration of any scripts or forms on your site * Domain propagation (accessing your web site and e-mail via yoursite.com)
Hiring cheapest, fastest, or most elaborate web design firm does not always equate to hiring right web design firm. A limited amount of front-end research can save time and money in long term, and maximize sales revenue from your web presence.
Jim D. Ray is a seasoned web developer and president of Web Presence, a national web design firm serving the small business market sector. To learn more, or for a free quote for your own web site, visit the Web Presence at http://www.web-presence.net.