Just getting here?
Are you looking to find a web design company?
A web firm, often a marketing firm, is one option. Another is to hire a great freelance web designer!
Web design is a bit of a misnomer: To create a website, you need a web developer.
What's the difference? See my answer to "Why is it so hard to find a front end developer?" on Quora!
Building a website takes skill - and not just one.
To build a website (or any viewer-facing web application), you'll need:
- A talented graphic designer
- A UI engineer
- A front end developer
- A back end developer (or equivelency)
- A UX engineer
- Quality assurance and usability experts (a.k.a., testers)
- A marketer for search engine optimization and making sure your site gets seen.
- A reliable, scalable infrastructure to host your site or application.
What does this all mean for someone wanting to build a website for a small business or limited project?
Developing a website isn't cheap - not for a good website, anyway.
A site that performs, looks great, is discovered by search engines (and more importantly, your target audience): these are not done easily.
It takes years of intense training to become a web developer.
Web designers will get you in trouble, especially mid-level and junior-level designers.
Although a mid-level developer can sometimes create a website worth having, a senior level is required for any sort of major data interactivity or advanced functionality.
We're not even going to discuss network safety and application security here - but it is a factor if you will be handling sensitive data like customer credit card information or medical records!
So how do I find a reliable web developer, or at least someone that will build my website the way I want it?
You have a few options here.
- Spend a lot of time researching
- Spend even more time trying to do it all yourselfl
- Go with a free solution that you will come to hate (especially once you reach the limit of free web site builder software).
- Hire a professional (recommended)
- Hire a team of professionals (you'll pay more and may be getting pawned off to a low/mid level designer/developer).
- Hire an "in demand" marketing agency (you'll pay a LOT more, but the quality will be good.)
It's often faster than a single developer (or small company), but only worth it if your budget is greater than $50,000 (many will not even accept you as a new client for less than 10k-30k).
That's really all of your options (save one):
Hire a web consultant - a seasoned developer familiar with front and back end site and applications!
Hiring a consultant is a smart choice.
You may be concerned, with questions like "how much does a consultant even cost" and "why would I need someone to tell me stuff I could just look up myself?".
The cost of not knowing what you're getting into will cost far, far more than my consulting services.
There is so much involved in web development that building a website is almost a monumental task.
If you need complex data manipulation to serve the end users (think Facebook and other applications where there is an immediate, constant stream), you definitely need someone in your corner to make sure you're hiring the right developers for the job.
I have an entire spreadsheet full of technologies that I've had to use at one point or another (many I use every day of the week!).
That's just for software, or the actual application logic that makes things like interactivity and dynamically generated content possible (think data aggregation such as RSS feeds - or your Twitter feed!).
Forget designers. Forget expensive marketing firms. Go with someone that has been working with the web since the Internet as we know it began.
A previous student of design (that still gets plenty of practice), a marketing aficionado, a bilingual gringo with about 10 programming languages to boot - over 5 years experience in programming (going on 6!), over 12 years in graphic design (including 3D and animation), AND even a musician with a flair for the quantum world: