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Mary's Question #3:
Are there any warning signs to look for with a web/graphic designers that I shouldn't do business with?

__ The references part should cover this. And you should CALL those references -- don't accept email addresses, demand names and phone numbers. Questions to ask are:

  1. Over extended -- too much work for other clients
  2. Late. All web work is always late. Understand that. But is the chronic lateness within your tolerance levels.
  3. Do they pay their bills? (The last thing you need is a deadbeat.)
  4. Do they return calls? If they don't they're gone.
  5. Chronic over-charges? (Understand, there will be overcharges -- it's unavoidable because of the changing nature of the field. However, the reference will know if all of them were justified, or if they were empty changes or additions just to pad the invoicing.
  6. Have they grown with the project? (You need help, will they provide it, or will they just be the service mechanic? You want a performer, not a stage hand. This is the difference between a professional designer, web master and an ISP -- and in speaking with references you'll get a very clear feeling is the reference feels their web presence was enhanced BECAUSE of the individual. That's what you're looking for.)

Mary's Question #4:
What qualifications do I ask for if any?

Read answer #1

Mary's Question #5:
Is it good to find a local web/graphic designer or does it matter when doing business?

Yes, absolutely yes. (I'm sorry, folks, this sort of contradicts many beliefs, even my own preaching, that the web is a 'global' business and remote help is as good as local help.) You'll find that eye to eye business is much better than email and telephone calls. And, you'll also be able to discover the individual's history of business in the local area... a task that's all but impossible in a remote locations. Also note you'll discover the person's real "character"... sitting across the table from a person is worth a thousand emails -- if the prospective is not amiable to visiting you in your office then that's an indication that you're not perceived as important enough to spend time with. Bad karma. Also, in the event of litigation, you'll want them where you can get to them if necessary. If you cannot find someone local, then shop next door. It's not out of the question to drive 40, 50 even 100 miles to service a good account. I've done it many, many times. Go 'out of state' only as a last resort.

Mary's Question #6:
Can you recommend a web designer?
Thank you, Mary.

___ No. They're all different, and they all have special capabilities that will either apply to your situation or don't.
___ Yes. I can recommend a web designer after learning your situation, and then researching what's available in your neighborhood. (I do charge for such services.)

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