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Building Web Sites That Work
How to Pick Your Web Contractor

By T. Amur

In the vast expanses of the Internet landscape successful web sites result from thoughtful analysis and planning, creativity, and competence in multiple disciplines.

However, this job is not as easy as it looks. Despite the hype to the contrary, building effective web sites still remains a tricky business. For several reasons: the technology that makes the Internet function evolves rapidly. Keeping up with it is time consuming and expensive. Secondly, the web site creation requires talents, skills, and knowledge that span over several key disciplines. So, you need the right professional who has a firm grasp of the technology, can provide a perspective from the viewpoint of several disciplines, understands your business, and is capable of leading you through the complexities to create a site that works and makes sense for your business.

Successful web sites result from thoughtful analysis and planning. Most often your web site will be the first thing to introduce your customers and clients to your company. We now know from experience this first encounter is firmly engraved in your web visitors’ minds, and forms the basis of what they think of you and your business. If your site projects your professional qualities effectively, your site will become your powerful ally. So, you’ll be well rewarded for going the extra mile in getting the best talent on your side to give you the best site you can possibly get.

If, on the other hand, your web site looks like just another site, well then, all bets are off and your clients and customers will perceive you accordingly—just another company.

What lies at the heart of the successful sites is a core set of qualities and multi–disciplined expertise the web contractor brings to the table. For example, if your contractor understands your business, he would appreciate the sensitivities your marketplace to create the appropriate visual and narrative elements. These elements would use the particular language of your marketplace and appeal to its culture. Very important.

Remember, in the end the narrative is what persuades and sells. So, your web contractor’s qualifications as an author should also concern you. Your web’s narrative content is the deciding factor that will make or break your site. Can your contractor articulate on your professional qualities effectively? Can the contractor craft professional narrative content that would persuade your clients to bring more business to you, and tell others to do the same? Review your contractor’s published works.

Your web site’s graphics systems go hand in hand with the narrative material. Without an attractive and relevant graphics suit at your site, you won’t have much of a site. Period. Also, your contractor must be able to weld together the narratives and the graphics effectively. This introduces extreme challenges and requires unusual skills and talent. You should examine your contractors corresponding qualifications before you make your selection.

When it comes down to it, how well your site interacts with your visitors makes a big difference in perceptions. Does your web contractor have the credentials to create your site’s most important aspect—the user interface? This is one skill that does not translate well from the skills required to create printed media.Your web contractor must have a track record designing user interface as a part of production-quality software system.

Creating web sites involves considerable software programming and hardware knowledge. Is your contractor up to the task and has the required experience to pick the right server company for your site? This will have a direct impact on your site costs.

Reputable server companies only offer specialized computers as servers for hosting sites and provide no content. Conversely, reputable content providers provide only content, and select the one server company from among different classes of companies that can handle your site most efficiently and at optimal costs to you.

Finally, your Internet presence should mean more than a mere web site. Can your contractor position you to leverage everything that the Internet offers to make the most of your Internet investments. What extensible critical capabilities do you have in your web contractor that will help you accomplish this.

Let’s be realistic. The Internet offers unprecedented golden opportunities, but everything hinges on you. Nevertheless, to mine this new gold you must follow one old principle since the times of the dusty trails of the ancient Silk Road: get the best help and the toughest picks and shovels, and start digging...

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