Almost anyone who can use a word processor like Microsft Word is able to design a web page. A Range of Providers Web design is a service offered by a variety of providers ranging from interactive studios, ebusiness consultants, systems integrators, web hosting companies, advertising agencies and professional marketing firms, to students and self taught home-based freelancers. Most of the providers will be able to put together a collection of web pages into a website and host it. Depending on their specific skillset, your site is likely to be quite image oriented if the provider is a graphic artist, media-rich if the site is produced by a multimedia studio or overly dry if it is designed by non-creative engineer. Choose Carefully There are numerous providers offering web design solutions but choose carefully. The majority of them will be able to develop a site only to the level which they have a know-how, and not to what is actually required. What you need is an architect to design your house and get it built, not a carpenter to build it entirely using wood, nor a mason to construct a concrete home. In the world of web solutions, web designers normally focus on the creative elements of a site, they may not provide the necessary macro web strategy, or the business plan for the site. Depending on the provider you choose, they may or may not have an experienced Web Consultant / Strategist to advise you on the strategic planning for your website and online presence. Business Perspective Try and find a provider who is able to work with you from a business perspective and avoid getting too involved in design, creative and technical issues. They should be able to:
- understand the objectives of your website
- design a scalable solution together with a plan for maintaining the site
- develop the site with their in-house team or by outsourcing it to other web vendors
- publish the site according to the plans and deliver results based on KPIs outlined at the beginning of the project
- Cost/Benefit: Do not get too concerned about price, focus on what they can do for you and measure the benefits against the costs.
- Experience: Do not believe everything you hear, focus on what they have done before and ask for clear examples of how their solutions have helped clients succeed.
- Past Projects: Assess the quality of their clients and the solutions provided, together with the costs associated for each project. This will tell you a lot.
- RFP: Request for proposals from a range of providers to get a better idea of the options available to you.
- Talk to other website owners to learn about the positive and negative experiences in getting a website developed, published and operationally successful.