Questions to ask yourself and things to think about before you start shopping for a web designer:
- What is your site’s goal? Is it to sell a product or service, to share your knowledge of a subject, to create a community about a topic, etc.? Or, is it a combination of things?
- Who is your audience?
- Do you want your visitors to submit anything?
- Do you have a deadline?
- Is this a new design or a re-design?
- Have you looked at other sites to see what you like and what you don’t?
- Have you checked out your competition online?
- How often do you plan to update your site?
- Do you want to do the updates yourself?
- What sections of your site do you plan to update?
- How do you plan to market your site via traditional methods? For example: phone book ads.
- How do you plan to market your site via online methods? For example: paid search engines ads.
- What words or phrases would your visitors be using to find you in the search engines?
If there are aspects of your project that haven’t been completely decided upon, discuss this with your designer prior to starting your project. They may help you come up with solutions as well as possibly being able to design your site to allow certain sections of it to grow or change in the future. These discussions with your designer before starting will help you in the long run.
And remember, just because you have big plans doesn’t mean your site needs to start out big. If you are unsure of the path your ideas will take, then start out small and add to your site as necessary. This will keep your startup costs lower and you can decide on different aspects of your site as things go along. Again, share your thoughts with your designer before starting your project and, if they are good, they will work with you to achieve your goals.