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It is no longer good enough to just have a website to set yourself apart from your competitors. A professional design is more important than ever, but how do you choose a designer? By making the following five observations, you can choose the designer who's right for you.
  1. Proven Portfolio Any competent web design agency should have a portfolio of exemplary web sites to demonstrate what they're capable of doing. It should be freely available on their website, but if not, ask.
  2. Standards Compliance Does your website work on all major browsers? Do you know? A competent web developer is versed on the inconsistencies of various browsers and operating systems, and is able to compensate for them appropriately. Ask your agency about their "Cross-browser compatibility testing."
  3. What You See is What You Get What is the agency's website like? Often an agency's website is a strong indication of the sites they design. If you don't like their website's style, you probably won't like their proposals.
  4. Listening skills. Web design is a service industry. The client should tell the agency what they want, not the other way around. If you're web designer is pushing you to use a particular design that you're not comfortable with, it may be because it's easier for them. A good web design agency will listen to their client's needs.
  5. Price indicates skill. While you could accept the lowest bid from a student on summer break, you will likely get what you pay for. If you're serious about your business, it would be best to take advantage of an experienced web design agency.
The average website takes 4-7 weeks to complete. Afterward, your new website will need continued maintenance throughout its lifetime. For these reasons, your relationship with your web designer should be a partnership.