Father Sez

From and to parents - parental advice to our children on personal financial management and life.
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How should I choose my web designer?

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

So far I have not done anything on monetizing or commercializing my blog. The main reasons being that my traffic figures would not exactly make any advertiser drool, and secondly I am still not comfortable with the technical skills that go along with placing ads etc.  

But getting involved with this blog has however, opened my mind wide open, on online businesses in general.  

Now my wife and I have decided to set up an online shop. Selling a product that we think has a market. Some of the market research work is going on at the moment. But this is not the reason for this post. 

We want a web site done. We know how the end product should look like. We know what features we want on the site.  What we are not that sure about is whether this knowledge is sufficient to commission a web designer?   

                                                     

To be able to commission a web designer, I have to be able to give clear and mutually agreeable specifications. How on earth do I do this, when I can’t recognize CSS even if it fell on my head? What if I miss a key requirement and realize only, say, 6 months later? And how do I test the web site to make sure it meets my requirements, when the content is going to be built up over time.  

What about modifications that may have to be made later? Do I have to go back to the same person or can I do it with someone closer to home. 

It may be a little easier when it comes to things that we can see, like say, a garden retaining wall. Even then, we are warned to define clearly what the contractor is expected to be doing for us, making sure it covers all the things we want completed. We should spell out any preparation work, protection of surrounding areas, clean up, etc.  

I have listed the requirements as I understand them on Elance, and so far some bids have come. I have time to “evaluate” them before I make a decision.  

Some great guidance has been obtained from the Web, here and here. 

I am thinking of just listing all my concerns, plus the suggestions that I got from the Web and asking the short listed bidders to address them. Then just go with my instinct.  

Is this how it is supposed to be? Is there a better way? I would appreciate some pointers.

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