So you have decided to get an online presence or just redesign your website here are a few tips that you should consider before hiring a web designer or a developer. It pays to do a bit of research before you trust someone to build your website.

They can provide the services- Check that the web designer or developer can provide the services you require. For example if you are after a Content Management System (CMS) make sure the web designer or developer can provide you with a CMS. If you are after a custom build solution make sure your web designer or developer has inhouse capability to deliver a custom solution.

They understand you and your business- The web designer or developer should atleast arrange for a face to face meeting to understand your requirement. They should take time to understand your project, your business and your users. This is a very critical step because if they don't understand your project needs or your users how can they build you a website that will cater to your users or your company needs.

They can meet your deadline- Always inform your web designer or developer about any deadlines or dates they need to meet. If you have a major Ad campaign that is going to launch on the 31st of this month, make sure the designer or developer can implement your site before the 31st. If you are on a tight deadline make sure you can supply the designer and developer with every resource they will need to complete the project on time. Be prepared to set aside some time each week to attend project and scope meetings with your designer or developer.

Budget- Make sure you have a budget in mind before you hire a designer or developer. A good business website is not cheap and easy to build. It takes more than just putting a few images and text on a page. Setting and deciding on a project budget will also help avoid those nasty suprises. If the scope of the project changes the project pricing will have to be adjusted accordingly.

You like the team/company- Communication is the key to any successful project. Make sure you like or can get along with the team or company you are about to hire. Make some time to go and meet the team members who are going to work on your website. Don't enagage a web designer or developer till you are 100% sure you want to work with them.

Web standards and Methodology- Check if the designer or developer has any industry accreditation, use the best practises and methodologies. Ask if they write standards-compliant HTML Code. They use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) layouts.

Copyright- Ask who will own the copyright to your website. Make sure you can take your site to another designer or developer in the future.

Long-term Relationship- Once your site is live you will need help marketing your site, promoting it on search engines, add new features, make changes, help you understand your site web statistics. The designer or developer should advise you in the future on how to grow your web presence as your business grows. They should keep you informed of new developments in web design so your web presence is a step ahead of your competitors.