Whether you are a business owner, freelancer, or hobbyist, having a website can have great benefits in expanding your audience and marketability. Unless you also have web design experience, you have probably considered hiring someone to design your site. Here are a few things to consider before you make a choice.
1. Do you need a website? This seems like an obvious question, but some people struggle with it, not realizing the problem. For some, getting a blog with a free blogging service is enough and more convenient. Also, just because you have an offline slug collecting club does not mean that you need a website. Evaluate your intended audience and examine all the free options before getting a domain and hosting account.
2. Who will maintain the site? This is a big one. Make sure you know exactly what you are getting into when you hire someone to make a site for you. Will you be responsible for updating it? Do you want that responsibility? Is the designer installing a content management system for easy updating, or do they expect you to pay them every time it needs work? Web design does not mean website maintenance.
3. Who are the site and content owners? Typically, ownership of the site content always belongs to you, but make sure you read the fine print. As for the domain and site itself, make sure all of that is in your name and under your control.
4. Price. This one goes without saying. While the U.S. government will happily pay $18 million for a website, you should not.
Take all of these points into consideration and anything else you can think of before you sign on the dotted line. Do not assume that you need professional web design simply because the option is available.
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