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How to Choose a Web Designer
by Sally Strackbein

Suppose you want to check out the web designer your friend recommended to you. How do you tell if they know what they are doing? Use this check list of tips to help you rate a web designer.

  1. View the web designer's website.
    A web designer should have a website showing their portfolio of client websites. If they don't -- worry.
  2. Go to your favorite search engine and search for the web designer's name / company name.
    Unless it's a common name, their name should be high on the search results page. If they cannot get high search ranking for their own name, they probably won't get good results for you and your key phrases.
  3. Next, look at their clients' websites.
    On the web designer's website, you should be able to click on links to client sites so you can see what they really look like.
  4. Pick at least 3 of their clients' sites.
    Use the following checklist items to analyze each of them.
  5. Does contact information appear on every page?
    People print website pages that interest them and may want to contact you later. If a website visitor prints part of your website for later reference, how can they contact you unless your contact information is actually on the page they printed from your website?.
  6. Did the website load fast?
    Give the website a demerit if it took a long time to load or if you had to wait for an animated introduction.
  7. Does the title bar on each page describe the page?
    Many web designers neglect the page title on the top left of the browser window. The title is what identifies a page when you bookmark it or save it to favorites. Some search engines use the title also. You should not see "Home" or "untitled" or "".
  8. Pretend you are a website visitor looking for information.
    Can you find what a potential client might be looking for? Do the buttons make sense? Is the information on the site useful?
  9. Did you hear music or noise of any kind?
    Audio or video should be presented only at the request of the visitor. Website visitors may be using computers in an office cubicle or in some sort of public area were unwelcome sounds would be intrusive.
  10. Is the website's appearance acceptable?
    Remember that a business website is not a work of art. It is a marketing piece. Many effective websites are plain and have virtually no graphics. Good websites contain good information.  They do not have to be beautiful, but they should not be down right ugly, either.
  11. Is the text tiny?
    Text should be readable. The font size should be at least 12 point or normal size. People rarely read the "fine print." If your eyes tire or have to work too hard to read the website, then that website will repel readers rather than entice and hold them.
  12. Is the background light with dark type?
    Dark type on a light background is easier on the eyes. People also like to print the information on your site. Light type on a dark background may print poorly or not at all.
  13. Does the website look good in Netscape?
    Make sure the site is viewable on all major browsers. Many sites look great with Internet Explorer but not with Netscape, Apple Macintosh computers or AOL. Many web designers design websites that are viewable only when using Microsoft Internet Explorer.  Why have a website that only some people can use?

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copyright (c) Sally Strackbein.

Permission is granted to reprint this article in your newsletter or magazine with the byline:

 Sally Strackbein is a speaker and author.
To find out more about her programs and services,
 or call 703-262-0361.


Ray and Sally Strackbein
PO Box 710540
Herndon, VA  20171

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Because of the advice you gave me during our strategy session, my web site is now #1 on Google and Yahoo.
   --Ronald Kessler, New York Times bestselling author

If you have a website, or are considering a website, or think you don't even need a website, you had better read this manual. This is the independent professional's doorway to greater visibility, greater impact and greater sales.
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