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What to Look For in a Website Design Company

Sep 16, 2008
Building a website is like building a model house. You need many professionals wearing different hats.

When building a model house, you need an architect to design the house; a General Contractor to hire and oversee a company to pour the foundation; a framer to construct a frame; a roofer and many other contractors. After the house is constructed, you need an interior designer to select the furnishings and a landscaper to make it look pretty outside.

Building your company's website is no different. You need the equivalent skills of an architect and interior designer to come up with a rough design so that the "framer" as a good idea of how to design the site structure.

Someone has to write the software which forms the backbone of your website and decide which "off-the-shelf" software modules can be used to provide most of the many functions needed on your website. You may need the skills of a programmer to write custom software modules. Additionally, a graphic designer will be needed to create custom graphics and to license stock graphics.

Obviously, search engine optimization of your website will be a primary concern and on-site search engine optimization must be coordinated between a search engine optimization expert and all of the people involved with building your website.

To illustrate this point, let's look at one seemingly simple item, not often thought about and common to every website, the menu at the top of the page. The menu on your website consists of a combination of software and graphics. The menus on most websites are complex enough that there are companies that specialize in selling only menus as a prebuilt module.

Sometimes, the website builder can find a menu with the right graphic look for your website design. Sometimes, a graphic designer must be hired to create custom menu buttons for your prebuilt menu. A website designer will have to consider which type of the many types of menus is required (type of structure needed for the website and the programming language desired). Another important issue is whether the structural linking of the menu is good for search engine optimization or not and if not, what will be done to address the deficiency.

To assure a successful and pleasant experience when building your website, you should do three things.

1) Know what you want. Look on search engines for your competition and even companies that are not competitors, but have website designs that both look and function in a manner that you like. When looking at websites, you will probably like some aspects and features of one website and others from other websites. Take notes of what you like on each website and copy and paste the URL of the website, so you can send this to your website design company. For instance, you may like the menu on one website, the shopping cart on another website, colors, and various other design schemes.

2) Hire one website design company to do everything. To avoid problems, it's a good idea to hire one company to be the GC in charge of building your website. Look for one company with all of the hats under one roof. The advantage is a) each of the professionals can easily interact with each other; and b) when you have problems, it's much easier for you because you will communicate with one company. When you use different professionals independently, you will end up in the middle trying to communicate issues you don't understand to two or three different professionals and each of them are blaming problems on someone else; and

3) Before hiring a website design company, look at other websites they designed to make sure that you like their designs and that they can build a website with the level of sophistication and complexity and you need.
About the Author
Philip L. Franckel, Esq. built a network of legal websites for lawyers including Law Firm Website Design, Lawyer Directory and Accident Lawyers
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