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How To Choose A Web Designer That Won't Rip You Off

Choosing a web designer for your business is a minefield. The industry is unregulated, is fragmented, has a wide variety of pricing and is plagued by "cowboys". So how do you choose? Prices vary tremendously, so first you need to shortlist companies that are clearly reliable and reputable. So how do you do this? Check how long they have been established as Web designers as the industry is known for it’s “here today, gone tomorrow” operations. A company that has been around for a few years is much likely to be a safer bet than the one man start up that is offering discount prices. Who would you trust more - the car dealership there has been established 10 years or the new one that has just sprouted up last week? While their website may tell you how long they have been established, this may not necessarily be the correct information.

Of course, limited companies will file records at Companies House which you can check to see how long they had been established. However, a far easier and quicker option is to check how long their website domain name has been registered . You can do this by going to www.domaintools.com and typing in their Web address into the Whois lookup search box.

This gives you information on the registrant, their address and the date the domain was first registered. While this is not entirely foolproof, it does give a good an indication and you should be wary of any company where a domain name is only a year or two old. Look at their track record. They should have a good portfolio of the sites they have built available to see via their website, as well as customer testimonials. Their portfolio is a good indication of their design skill -- if you like the websites in their portfolio, then they are likely to satisfy you on the design side. Check the company works from an office. Web design is an industry with a multitude of different operators -- from freelance work at home designers to large new media agencies. If the company works from an office, it is more likely to be still here next year than the guy who just does it from home. Does the company have online marketing expertise? Look for a company that it is experienced in marketing websites online as they can give you lot of free information to help market your website. Not all designers know about online marketing.

While the above tips are not exhaustive, I hope they go some way to helping you choose a good web designer.


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