View Full Version : Choosing a web designer

17-12-2002, 10:37 AM
Hi Guys

I'm speaking to three different people at the moment about designing my e-comm site, and would really welcome your expert advice on how to choose which one to go with.

Elena, Natalie and any others of you whose businesses are e-comm, how did you choose who you went with? What questions did you ask?

Seem to be getting bogged down in not being brave enough to make a final decision, and need to get on with it!

Cheer guys


17-12-2002, 11:05 AM
The best thing to do is ask each company about a demo store they may have so you can test the store. You may also need to think about the actual hosting itself (platform, webspace, bandwidth, emails, server spec..etc)

The last thing you want is an ecommerce site which takes ages to load as your potential customers won't hang around. I'm not sure on the quotes you have received, but these days, you don't need to spend thousands on an ecommerce site. Just take a look at oscommerce www.oscommerce.com It's one of the better ones out there and it's free.

You can quite easily source hosting (approx £100 per year) and then load oscommerce onto your webspace, or get your hosting company to do this for you. (They will proberly charge extra for this, but you could be up and running for a few hundred pounds)

Design R Web Solutions

Andy Ward
17-12-2002, 01:53 PM
If it's going to be a dynamic site you could ask what measures they use to ensure that your products can be spidered properly by search engine crawlers.

Depending on what your server is there's a few ways of doing this, - ideally you should have an individual url with no question marks or strange characters in it for each product page.

This may sound unimportant, but if you want to promote the site effectively, it is pretty fundamental.

17-12-2002, 02:45 PM
As stupid as it may sound i didn't ask enough questions.

With regards to website i made lots of mistakes. I would recommend you ask for timescales, references (check them out).

Any hidden costs?

And make sure you can communicate with them and they understand your ideas, views and that they stick to them.

Get everything in writing especialy timescales.


18-12-2002, 09:38 AM
Thanks again everyone - so helpful. Website is most important bit and I don't seem to be getting anywhere cos I'm too worried about messing it up!


18-12-2002, 10:06 AM
I would reccomend that you ask for a client list and see if they object to you contacting the people on the list.

Checking a reference or two can tell you a whole lot more about a company than any glossy brochure.

I would also ask how long they have been established for. Web design firms have massive failure rate and it can be expensive to transfer the hosting and updates to another supplier.

Obviously I am going to reccomend my employer, A4 Internet. We have contracts with the government and some of the countries leading television production companies, to name a few.

We offer two diferent "flavours" of e-commerce so there should be something to suit you.

Feel free to pop across a brief description of what you want from your site and we will get in touch with details.


James Hirst
A4 Internet ltd
0845 108 0411

18-12-2002, 10:20 AM
The most important thing to consider when setting an eCommerce site is the volume. I have met people with businesses that do not justify the spend without significant reengineering of the existing business, but they have pushed ahead with an initiative anyway only to see if fail.

The first step would be do a feasibility study into how much revenue you can generate from a multichannel selling strategy. Once you are satisified that it is worth it you should look into finding someone who can do the job.

There are 2 extremes in setting up eCommerce initiatives. There are sites that have online catalogues containing over a million products which require complete integration into fulfilment systems, customer management, warehousing, etc. Then there is the smaller business that has been designed around selling through the internet. The solutions that varies suppliers push can vary wildly.

Ideally you would get a company in the middle to mediate the process. We do this for companies. We reduce risk for companies looking to implement technology. We have found too many companies trying to push expensive, unnecessary solutions to clients. Some companies prefer not to have a management and technology brokerage like us in the middle. It is entirely up to them. Usually they end up spending more moeny in redundant time, cost and effort than if we managed this process from start to finish.

A good supplier would produce some kind of "proof of concept" prototype to show you what the final solution will look like.

By the way always earmark extra budget for training any staff and ongoing maintenance of the system. When costing eCommerce initiatives it is a case of the proverbial 9/10th of the iceberg that you cannot see.

Hope this helps.

18-12-2002, 06:52 PM
I would recommend that you check out any website designer by asking to see any portfolios of previous work. I found my designers through a printing company when I was having my logo created and they have been soo helpful.

I initially tried to create my own website, but you could tell and it was very unprofessional and amateurish and I would definitely recommend that you get a site professionally designed as you really can tell the difference and at the end of the day, it's all about perception. If people think you are a large company, they will be more likely to use you.

Natalie Brown
NLB Travel

19-12-2002, 03:01 PM
Donít pay more than the deposit for the web site until you are completely satisfied with the development. E-commerce sites require an experienced web developer with knowledge of database driven sites as well as online credit card transactions.

If you are looking for a good Credit Card Merchant have a look at www.worldpay.com.

If you have any more questions please contact me on info@webprojectuk.com


30-01-2013, 04:26 AM
I would like to thank everyone on your pleasant pointers youíve shared on this post. It's hard to come by experienced people on choosing web designer, and it seems like you all know what you're talking about.

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