1. Big Red Flag. No website? If the person you are planning to hire doesn’t have a site of his or her own, this is a big red flag. How will they know what works or doesn’t work if they haven’t tested it on their own site? If they are a professional in business they will have a website. Their website is a true reflection of them – study it carefully looking for anything that may indicate “this company looks great!” to “I have some doubts in working with this company”.
2. Listen to me. Can you hear me now? Are they really listening to what you want/need? OR immediately writing out a prescription like a bad doctor based upon what they think you need. If it is the latter – run-Forest-run.
3. Experience. How many years of experience does this person have? How will this benefit you?
4. Resources. How many resources does this person utilize? If they work only with one program or have one resource and derive all information/facts from that one source – probably not in your best interest to hire someone with such limited resources.
5. Speak to me. Do they speak your language? If they are speaking in technical terms you don’t understand ask them for the plain English version. If you still don’t understand and they aren’t patient with explanations – keep looking.
6. Questions. Are they asking you the right questions? What is the goal of your website? Who is your target audience? How we will reach that audience online and offline?
7. Follow Through. How long does it take the person to return your phone calls or emails? This is a strong indication of what it will be like to work with this person. A good businessperson will respond in 24 hours or less.
8. Get it in Writing. Will you have a written agreement outlining the scope of work and pricing details? It’s important to get it in writing so both parties are clear on the expectations, time frame and other details.
9. Stories. Ask them to tell you success stories of working with different clients/companies. Who is their favorite client and why? Have they had any situations where clients have been unhappy? How did they handle those situations?
10. References. Call at least two or three people that they have worked with or are currently working with. Check the Clients, Portfolio or FAQ pages at their website. Ask three important questions:
a. Can you tell me what type of experience you’ve had working with _?
b. Have there been any surprises while working with _?
c. As an XYZ company is there anything in particular you’d recommend I be mindful of before hiring a web professional?
Finding a good web professional can be a tedious process. Ask lots of questions. Go with your gut. Your own personal feeling about working with the person is going to matter more than anything else. Also remember that web professionals will be interviewing you at the same time to see if you’re a good fit for them. It’s a good idea to talk with at least three businesses to see who best fits your needs, timeframe and budget.
Anita Larson, The Web Muse & Co. , http://www.thewebmuse.com Creating websites to attract your ideal clients.