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Web Design and Development

Questions you should ask before hiring a developer.
Have you designed any successful sites? Ask to see it and the sites statistics. References: Ask for a phone number, ask if the customer is satisfied.
How much will cost? Ask for an estimate. Do you provide maintenance? How much does it cost? Do you do database work? After your site becomes successful, sooner or later your company will need remote users to update, query, and maintain records via the Internet. If the designer cannot do custom internet database integration, does he work with someone who can?

What software will I have to purchase? Will you build and maintain the site for a monthly fee? In most cases this will be the best option for the company and designer. The designer guarantees "up to" certain number of hours per month working on the site (large company sites can take months to complete). This benefits both the company and the designer. The terms of the contract should be agreed upon and on paper. Don't be surprised if the designer stipulates he can't be fired if he achieves clearly defined goals and objects. Normally, the designer will put in more hours than guaranteed in first few months to complete the site and then maintain it “up to” the guaranteed hours. Make sure you settle on a price for any time in excess.

Will you include support to my staff? Most designers have a vast knowledge of computers, networking, and software applications. Will he include a certain number of hours each month to help employees with hardware and software issues? At the very least he can provide informed recommendations. What host should I use? There are many types of web hosting available. They range from free to thousands of dollars a month. Like it or not, most companies are using Microsoft applications one way or another, chances are you're using outlook to receive email. (I won't get into what's best, asp/dot net vs. php/cgi, debate), but your host should be able to support all current and future Microsoft applications.

Search Engine Optimization - It doesn't matter what the site looks like if no one sees it.

Hopefully, your designer has a good working relationship with internet providers and can recommend a good one for your needs. I'm sure there are designers out there that take a kick-back for referral, so check around to see if the price is comparable for the services offered.

Services? Look for a company that offers:

  • FrontPage Server Extensions

  • More than adequate bandwidth (you don't want to have to change horses in the middle of the stream) Email accounts (no limit on attachment size) with browser access

  • Secure Shopping Cart available

  • Asp

  • Asp.Net

  • Sql, Database compatibility

  • Streaming video/audio compatibility

  • VPN

  • CGI

  • PHP

  • Video Conferencing

  • Site Statistics - Webtrends or similar application

  • 24 - 7 Support