What to Look for In a Web Site Developer

By: Thomas Young

There are over one billion registered Web sites on the Internet. The Internet explosion has touched just about everyone and it is amazing how many people have ideas for Web sites. In the near future, business and personal Internet addresses will be as common as telephone numbers.

In order to develop a professional Web site that gets results, it is absolutely essential to find the right developer. One option is to learn how to develop your own site. This may work for some people, however your time is best spent on your business. Hire a top-notch developer to design and market your site. Here are a few pointers to look for when selecting a Web site design and marketing firm.

Find an Established Business

The firm should be an established business specializing in Web page development and e-marketing. This is important because many people create Web sites as a hobby or as an adjunct to an already established business. An established, professional Web site and Internet marketing firm will give you a fair price and provide high quality work. Review their portfolio of sites and check references.

Communication Skills

The number one area of concern for Web site clients is responsiveness and communication. Look for a company that has a good history of communicating expectations clearly and responding to your needs in a timely manner. Most Web design firms are extremely busy, and it is easy to focus on the next, new client rather than taking care of long-term clients. Service after the sale is critical, because your site must be dynamic, changing and improved over time to remain fresh and continue to draw visitors.

Web Design Skills

Look for a firm that has artistic ability and keeps up-to-date on the look and feel of sites. Developing an effective site is in many ways a creative process. The most talented developers provide amazing results in this area as their creative and technical skills merge. A developer with both technical and creative skills is a must.

Technical Skills

Obviously, technical skills are very important especially in the areas of database programming, hosting and server communications. The Internet is the largest database in the universe and Web sites that find ways to harness and develop their own databases of information have a strong possibility of achieving stellar results. When selecting a Web site developer ask about programming ability and database design services. Also, inquire about hosting. Do they host at their location? How do they bill for hosting? What is the dependability and reliability of their hosting services?

E-Marketing Skills

The best Web site in the world will work only if it attracts visitors. Your site developers should have extensive Internet marketing experience and skills. This includes proper use of the search engines and traditional promotions to draw visitors into your site. No one will visit your site, unless you are properly set up with the search engines and promote your Web site address.

Web Site Development Fees

Developing a Web site is a service and fees can range from next to nothing to millions of dollars. Web sites are usually bid by the project. The developer will review the number of hours needed to complete the project and come up with a fee. A down payment is usually required and an on-going maintenance program should be discussed. Hourly costs can range from $40 an hour up. For the most part, you get what you pay for. Sites that were inexpensive generally look cheap. This is not a message you want to communicate to your visitors and potential clients. Your developer should understand your expected return on investment from your site.

Choose wisely when searching for a Web site developer. Consider marketing, creative and technical skills and look for a company that will be responsive and understanding of your needs. They will become a partner with you in what may prove to be your biggest marketing venture, a presence on the Internet.

Tom Young, MBA is president of Intuitive Websites, a sales training and marketing consulting firm helping companies increase revenues. He can be reached at 719-481-4040, or email at  [email protected].