When shopping for a web designer, there are several things you can do to help find the
best value for your money. Between talking to the design team and viewing their portfolio of
completed projects, one can usually get a good feel for the level of talent and professionalism
inherent in the design firm’s work. Talking to current and former clients can also be beneficial,
as can obtaining referrals from those you know. One thing that many prospective site owners fail to do,
however, is look at the firm’s own web site. Since designing sites for others is their business,
their site should be a reflection of their understanding of successful web design principles and practices.
When checking a web design firm’s own site, look at the esthetic properties of the site first.
The colors and design format used are meant to serve a purpose, just as they should for your site.
While color schemes can be matter of personal taste, most people can agree on whether or not they find
a site to be inviting and warm. Is there a level of consistency from one page to the next that allows
you to feel that each page is part of a greater whole?
Next, take a look at the site’s navigation. Is information easy to find? Are other pages on the site
clearly marked or do you have to search through a complicated menu to find what you are looking for?
An easily navigable site will help you keep the traffic that lands on one of your pages while a
complicated site is a surefire invitation for traffic to go elsewhere.
Take a look at the site’s content. Is it easy to understand and offers plenty of relevant information?
Is the content centered or hidden away as part of a side bar? Is there so much content on the page
that readers must scroll in order to read it? This is especially important to those selling products
or services on the web as most people who visit your site will want to know what you offer and other
pertinent details without having to read a novel on each page.
Check the site for properly described page titles, a clearly marked sitemap and other basic web site
necessities. Without proper tags and a sitemap, a new site may have problems being indexed by
By looking at what a firm does for itself, you will have a better understanding of what they are
capable of doing for you. If the site they use to present themselves is not up to par for your
expectations, keep looking.