Issued by - Custom Web Development Firm in L.A.
how to choose the right web developer

No one can deny having a respectable and dynamic web presence is crucial to success online or offline.

So you want a website for your business? Or maybe it’s time for an upgrade. After all, that site designed in 1998 could use a facelift. But you’re not a designer or a developer, so how do you go about finding one? Sure, there’s the guy in IT who tinkers around with his own website in his spare time, or your cousin who knows how to modify his Myspace profile with pretty pictures. You, however, need a pro. Problem is, there’s thousands to choose from and not all of them are as good or as competent as they claim they are. Some are cheap; others, very expensive. And should you hire a freelancer or contract with a web design agency?

The first thing to figure is nailing down what you really need. Take a minute to ask yourself the following questions:

• Will my website sell products directly to customers or will it be used to generate leads?

• How big will it be; do I need to put a lot of information on the site or can it be brief and to the point?

• Will your content require routine updates and do you want to make those changes yourself?

• Will you need a shopping cart?

• Do you want visitors to be able to create their own accounts, login and sign out?

• Will you need a database?

• In what time frame do you want the site to be completed?

• What is your budget?

The Hunt begins

Once you have really nailed down what you need, you can begin your search for the best web designer and developer who can meet your requirements. By now, it’s likely that you’ve got a

short list of referrals and leads from others who have recommended certain developers and design firms.

Check out their websites and portfolios. The best rule of thumb is that if you don’t like their website or the work in their portfolio, you won’t like the design they do for you. That’s fine, cross them off the list; it’s a process of elimination at this point. Now that you’ve determined those with sites and portfolios that appeal to you, you can ask for referrals or simply contact the owners of the sites that they have developed and get feedback from them.

Custom Design vs. Templates

There are websites with thousands of templates that designers can download. For around $70, a web designer can purchase one of these ready-made templates and simply cut and paste your web content in it, replace the logo, set up an email address for you, and bingo! …you’re online. In other words, templates are a shake and bake solution if you want an acceptable (but not unique) website for less. There are pros and cons to using templates. Many have a sort of “canned” look. They seem generic and appear so polished that they impart a certain level of fakeness; nevertheless, they are inexpensive and save you a lot of money because your designer won’t have to create a website from scratch. Having said that, beware of a web designer who charges a premium and claims to design your website from the ground up, but really uses a template, thus saving themselves a lot of time and overcharging you for work hours not performed. Another disadvantage to using a template is that there will be other websites out there which use exactly the same template as your company. Therefore, your website will never be completely original or unique, though it is unlikely that you or your customers will ever see those other sites because the web is so big.

You need a custom-made website if you want a completely original and unique look and are willing to spend the money to hire a firm or freelancer to create a design and website from scratch. You also have very specific ideas about what you want, and