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Tips for Choosing a Website Consultant

It's important to make sure your website is a reflection of your practice.  Of course, that was assuming you have a website, which is not always the case.  So whether you are looking to update your site or launch a new one, here are a few suggestions about how to select your web designer.

Before you actually speak to a website consultant, you should have a basic idea of what you want on your website.  To do this, you’ll want to think about:

  • What websites do you like and why?  You may find you like elements of a website like how the social media streams are incorporated into the home page or maybe it is colors.  You will want to be able to answer what you like and don’t like to help shape the direction of your website design.
  • Will you need someone to write copy?  If you have an existing website, how much of the copy will transfer to the new site?  Will you want someone to review or expand on what is out there?  Writing can be time consuming, and you’ll need to decide whether you have the time to do it.
  • Do you want the ability to make changes yourself?  If so, how much do you want the ability to change – images, copy, page layout?  Some website consultants will create a site that they maintain, which means anytime that you have a change you will have to go through them to make it.  An increasing number offer content management systems.  This is a proprietary solution that permits you to make changes to your site from your computer.  Some systems only allow you to change copy, but others provide varying levels of access to changing images and page layout.

The answers to these questions will help make your preliminary conversations with potential vendors more productive.

From here, hiring a website vendor isn’t much different than hiring any other business resource.

  • Ask friends, family and peers for recommendations.
  • Call three or four firms with a request for proposal.
  • Make sure you understand the fee structure.  Will you be billed by project fee or hourly?  Make sure you understand what the hourly fee is.
  • Get an estimate of when they will be able to start your project.  It may be that it will be a week or two before they have the resources to start.
  • Make sure you like who you will be working with.  Like is a strong word for a professional relationship, but you want to make sure you are working with someone who will listen to you, as well as be an advocate for you.

That’s it. You should be ready to hire your website consultant and begin the process of creating or enhancing your online presence.

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