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Service options for website design (i)

Web Site Design Buyer's Guide

You may have to be proactive and manage your website design project to ensure the job is finished on time and within budget. Depending on the nature of the project, you may have to deal with a website design supplier; employees who are providing information, text and images; freelance writers; and freelance photographers who are producing stills and video.

Despite the management work involved, this mixed approach is a popular option. A further two ways of tackling the project are outsourcing as much as possible or doing it all yourself.

Outsourcing the work
Many website design suppliers will happily do everything for you. This may well be the best method if you're busy and the website is complex. But you should ensure the supplier you choose gives you a full breakdown of the costs. And ywou'd be wise to ask the website designers to keep you informed of progress and to notify you of any proposed changes. You must also give the supplier a clear idea of the content for the site and the overall style you want to convey.

Doing it yourself
If you want a simple website, or if you have appropriate expertise, there's no reason why you can't develop a website in-house. But take note of the following points.

  • Maintenance and expansion. Ensure you have staff to maintain and expand your website as necessary. If you don't, and you want to make significant changes, you could find you need to start from scratch with a website design company.
  • Graphic design. The design of your website must be professional, pleasing to the eye, and simple for visitors to navigate. Don't assume that someone on your staff who is familiar with design software will necessarily create a site as effective as those of your competitors'.
  • Text. Your text on the site must connect with your target readers. It must not bore or confuse them. And if you're selling products, every sentence must work towards a certain end: to persuade visitors to buy. If you're happy for you or your staff to write the text then fine, but a professional writer can improve your visitors' satisfaction with your website and increase your sales.
  • Website construction. If you have in-house IT employees, they'll be able to write the code for a straightforward website. You just need to decide if they have the time to devote to the job because website projects can easily become more complicated than first envisioned.
  • Hosting the website. Again, your IT staff can probably arrange this. Even so, check what the outsourcing companies can give you in the way of 24 hour website availability, security and data backup. And spend time shopping around so that you get all of this for a reasonable monthly or annual fee.
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