Key points in choosing the right person for the job

Time to find someone to create your new website or take over the management of an existing one. Everywhere you look individuals and organisations are offering all sorts of deals and it becomes quite a challenge just to decide who to use. The following basic pointers might help to make the choice a little simpler.

  • Before you even begin on your quest, it is vitally important that you distinguish between a web designer and a web developer. Designers create websites that look great and do nothing. Developers focus on how well your site achieves its objectives. Be sure to choose someone who is first and foremost a website developer AND marketer if you want a site that is actually going to enhance your profits. - Preferably one with a bit of design savvy as well so that the end result gives you the best of all worlds.

  • Do they have their own website that meets all the criteria of a well developed website? This doesn't just mean design aspects, but includes marketing aspects as well. A good website is developed to do well with both people and search engines from day 1.

  • Do they have other examples of their work? Do these meet the requirements of a well developed site? Do they show sufficient originality to ensure that you will not simply end up with something that comes off a design "conveyer belt"? ... unless of course that is what you want.

  • Have they been upfront with you about all the costs and implications of establishing and maintaining a sound web presence ?

  • When discussing your needs and their ideas, are they speaking in plain language and taking the time to make sure you understand? Do they answer all your questions?

  • Is their pricing reasonable and realistic? Too expensive can indicate a rip-off and too cheap could indicate that either they are out of touch with their own industry or, a far greater concern, you'll be getting what you pay for.

  • Is what they are trying to give you in line with what you need? - Too often web developers present a package that has a list of additional features that sound impressive, but are in essense nonsensical for what you want to achieve. Normally this is a dead giveaway that you are actually dealing with a web designer and not a developer, no matter what they may be calling themselves.

    For example: does your site really need a guestbook? - For a business site it can look quite tacky. It also doesn't create too much of an impression when a site has an empty guestbook or one filled with spam or unwanted comments.

    Another example is a shopping cart. Unless you are doing ecommerce on your site, it can be confusing or simply look plain ridiculous.

    Stay away from anything that does not specifically support and enhance your site's main offering and purpose and don't allow yourself to get talked into paying for bells and whistles that can undermine you as a serious entity.

  • Do they offer support beyond the pure design or development of your site? They should be able to explain the whole process of having a website, from domain registration through to hosting and, if neccessary, at least help to point you in the right direction. If you are happy to tackle each step on your own, that may be enough, but if you need a hand-held solution, be sure that the person you choose has a good understanding of how it all works and is happy to assist you every step of the way.

  • Finally, and most important. be sure that your web developer has a solid understanding of how the internet works. I don't just mean the basics, I mean a true understanding of what makes one site successful and the next a disaster. From the first bit of coding that gets done on your site, these factors need to be foremost in their mind. If not, you will most likely just end up with a white elephant.

    Once again, this is a key difference between a designer and a developer.



If you're not sure of all the web terminology and jargon, why not have a quick read through our basic web glossary before you get going.

Copyright © 1997 Durban Website Designer All rights reserved.
Reliable, affordable and cost effective website design and hosting: Durban - KZN - South Africa - 031 572-4604