A good web designer has the ability to create visually pleasing web designs and has basic coding skills in HTML , XML , CSS , PHP to implement the design using the web tools available.
If you have to build a brick and mortar store and you have to hire a contractor to do the job from the ground up, you will obviously ask for references from your colleagues or people you know. No one will trust a construction contractor they had not checked out. So its vital you do the same with the agency or web designer who will design your web site. Know about the quality of the design works, check out his portfolio, how well the designer maintained schedules and how easy he was to work with.
If you have to build an ecommerce site, you need to research shopping carts. An ecommerce shopping cart is the heart of an online retail business and it is the CMS, order processing, reporting tool that you will have after the web developer has completed the project. Compare shopping carts based on their feature. Once you have made some good selections, look for web designers that specialise in the specific shopping cart you want. Generally avoid any website designer or web developer that tells you they can have your store up and running in an hour. That may cost you a lot in the long run.
The website designer or developer should be an expert that can translate your goals into a feature-rich, customer pleasing online shopping experience. If a web designer has nothing to add or does not ask for questions about your business and future goals, may be he is not really interested in the work. A good website designer or developer should add value to what you tell him to do. Hire someone that can do transform your business objectives into a successful web design, not someone that simply does what you say.
Before the contract is signed with the web designer, get a statement of work with him. A statement of work normally details the designer’s understanding of your web project, lists the exact services he will be providing, list the estimated time table and provide a specific price. If a web designer or developer cannot describe the project in a statement of work, it’s better you don’t hire him.
Select a web designer with lots of experience rather than someone without experience. While a designer with a master’s degree in art knows his stuff, don’t ignore the self taught professional in web design. Don’t only judge a designer by his academic credentials else you will be missing out a great web designer.