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    1. Pierre79 is offline

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      #1

      Finding a reliable, affordable web designer

      I know NOTHING about web design, and my current page shows it! I need some serious help finding a reliable, affordable web site designer. What can the forum-folk do for me on this?
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    2. SmartBen is offline

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      #2
      This is a fairly relative topic, but I’ll do my best to give you a basic list of general tactics. Mostly, you want to hit that sweet spot between quality and price, and it really depends on your needs.

      ● One of the best ways to find a reliable designer is to check out the “credits” of sites whose look and navigation you like. Typically, the web designer will have a bit of text at the bottom of the site’s front page with a link to their design site. Check out other sites the designer’s worked on. Should be able to get a good number of designers with which to start your hunt. Checking out a designer’s live sites vs portfolio templates can be helpful.

      ● Do a general search in Google (or whatever) for “web designer”, and check out the first few listings on the first page. I wouldn’t go below the top listings. A web designer whose site is on the second page of Google results should raise red flags as to his/her ability with manipulating site rankings.

      ● Once you’ve narrowed it down to a handful of options, be sure to check out what the service packages offered by each designer include. You don’t want to be caught off guard when the designer’s package doesn’t include something like SEO services, when you expected them. Likewise, make certain the price quotes are for full projects, rather than per-page (which gets really expensive, really quick).

      ● Make sure the site remains your intellectual property. You want to own your site, so you can update or modify down the road, without having to pay the original designer.

      ● Make certain that your site’s domain name/Internet address (ie, example.com) is registered to you, otherwise you’ll have to get a different domain name if you decide to change designers in the future.

      ● Be sure the designer builds an easy-to-use, WYSIWIG (what you see is what you get) editor for your website. If you don’t get this control panel access to your site, you’ll be stuck with paying the designer to update your site for you.

      ● Understand that you can essentially get services like “search engine placement” for free by registering with Google, etc directly. Don’t let the designer charge you for this service when you can easily do it yourself.

      ● As in any contract business, read the fine print! Understand what you’re paying for, and understand what the restrictions on your rights to the site are. Don’t get caught off-guard.
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    3. Thank you for this post:

      gixer06 (17 Mar 2011)

    4. Lilac_won is offline

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      #3
      There are a few things you need to demand as far as the skill level of your chosen designer. These points should be the metric by which you gauge the designers as you narrow them down to your final choice. Run away unless your designer--

      Knows how to code HTML by hand. HTML is the basic computer language for creating pretty much everything on the Internet. If the designer is relying on a website-creation program like FrontPage, there will be a substantial amount of unnecessary code in the guts of your site, which will bog things down, especially as the hits start pouring in.

      Understands how to integrate cascading style sheets (CSS) into the design of the site. CSS allows one page of code to control the color, font, and general formatting of the entire site, which also reduces code bloat, and by extension streamlines the loading of your page.

      Understands and is up to date on current search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. SEO is just what it sounds like, the combination science and art of increasing search engine page rankings for your site. Good SEO makes it more likely that your site will end up on the first search engine results page (SERP) for searches with your site’s keywords (shoes, for a site about shoes, likewise vinyl records for a record store, etc.)

      Is adept at graphic design. Good graphic design can create a solid brand for your business, and keep users coming back. More users means more conversions (visitors to the site who end up generating sales).

      Is a capable professional in online marketing. The designer absolutely has to know how to not only submit your site to search engines, but also supplier listings, et al. If he really is a professional designer, he should have experience in this.

    5. Thank you for this post:

      gixer06 (17 Mar 2011)

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