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How to Select a Good Web Designer

by Jim Gratiot, Direct Response Copywriter

It is ridiculously easy to find a web designer to create a web site for your business. Just look in your local phone book or online and you'll find dozens of them.

Some of them are even reasonably priced.

The hard part is finding a web designer who knows anything at all about marketing.

Because while it's fine to load your web site up with fancy bells and whistles - it is smart, laser-focused marketing that will get your customers to buy your product or service.

Always keep in mind that your web site is a place to serve the needs of your customers and your business - not a place for your web designer to show the world how clever they are.

Let them do that on their own web site.

When hiring a web designer to set up your business web site, keep the following things in mind:

1. Don't hire a web designer who is abnormally obsessed with color or graphics. Using color to steer customers to a particular part of your site is brilliant - using color just for the sake of using color is ridiculous. Same with graphics.

2. Don't hire a web designer who insists on using strategic keyword placement - at the expense of common sense.

For example, I recently did a strategy session with a photographer who had the following introduction (not exact, but close) on her web site:

"Folsom photographer Janie Thomas is available in Folsom to take pictures of Folsom residents... and is available to travel within Folsom and the outlying areas of Folsom. For quality photography in Folsom, call Janie Thomas."

In this case, it doesn't matter if Janie gets every single person who lives in Folsom to visit her site - because every single one of them who reads this introduction is going to think she's insane.

3. Don't hire a web designer who insists on using "tech-y" looking technologies such as Flash Intros, Pop-Up Menus, or Streaming Video - unless the use of these technologies will result in more sales on your web site.

4. Don't hire a web designer who says they'll write the copy on your site - unless they are also trained as a copywriter. Copywriters know some really clever ways to increase your web site sales - so leave the writing to them.

So before you select your web designer, talk to a marketing expert and figure out exactly how you want your web site to look.

Then work with a copywriter to make your web copy top-rate.

If you're lucky, this will be the same person.

Only after you've finalized the plans for your web site should you look for a web designer who can skillfully put these plans into place - without changing it to serve his or her own purpose.

If your web designer interrupts and tells you to do any of the four things mentioned above, run for the hills... then go find a web designer who knows what they're talking about.

Saturday, Jan 13th, 2007