By Richard Lewis, Burlington Press www.burlingtonpress.com
What should you look for when shopping for a web designer? The first thing you should do is look at their website, carefully. Don’t just look at the design or how the pages of the site are arranged. Read what is on the site, look at the graphics and pictures and ask these questions:
- How does it look?
- Is it easy to find your way around it?
- Is the content informative, useful and well written?
- Is the website up to date?
- Is the website functional?
- Is it what you can imagine your website being?
How does it look? Of course you want a website to look attractive but its main purpose is to provide information quickly and thoroughly. The pretty part of the website is known in our business as eye candy. Cute, huh? This eye candy should not get in the way of the message in a well designed site . The design of your website is not the purpose of it, it is an attractive backdrop that works to accent and supplement the message you are providing the viewer.
Is it easy to find your way around it? If you are looking for a specific piece of information, how easy it is to find? Do you need to drill down on confusing navigation? If this company can’t present its own information in an easy and organized way, what are they going to do for you?
Is the content informative, useful and well written? This is self explanatory but it can also give you an important clue as to who you will be working with. Poor grammar and confusing technical language will let you know just how good these folks are about presenting a message. This can’t be said too much because a website allows your message to be presented 24/7 to the world. A well organized and well written website will allow a user easily enjoy, learn and be informed about what you have to offer.
Is the website up to date? If they are not maintaining the content, if they are advertising events that already happened, they are not updating their site and keeping it current. If they don’t have time for their website what makes you think they will have time for yours?
Is the website functional? Does it work? Do all the pages, images and graphics load? Again, if their website doesn’t work, yours won’t work any better.
Is it what you can imagine your website being? Not just the look and feel should be examined here, also look for the subtleties. Simplicity is the key to every website no matter how much information is on it. Previously it was stated that design is the backdrop to accent your message. Does it work on this site? If they are presenting a certain image, do the graphics relate that message? Are they interesting website graphics or just typical? More importantly do they give any indication of the personality of the organization?
There are a lot of web design and development companies out there. They range in all degrees of experience and professionalism. There are many ways to find the good ones, but a good look at how they present themselves on the web will give you a solid first impression. First impressions are very important in sales and your website is a vital first impression for your customers and prospects. Make sure the organization that builds your website makes a good first impression to you.