From the February 2004 issue of Entrepreneur

Q: I'd like to build a Web site for my business, but I'm barely computer-literate. How do I find a competent Web designer?

Name withheld

A: To find a talented Web designer, get recommendations from people whose judgment you respect. Review examples of the designers' work, particularly active Web sites they've designed. Always check their references.

If your contacts lead nowhere, try talent Web sites like Elance (www.elance.com) and Guru (www.guru.com), which let you get bids from designers. However, since you're not getting a personal referral here, you're taking a greater chance of having an unsatisfactory experience.

No matter how you find your designer, make sure to have a written contract that specifies:

  • The work to be done:
  • Include a description of the graphics and text content.
  • Timing:
  • When is work to begin? Specify the progress points, such as when you'll approve the template for the site, the first version and so on. Also include a completion date.
  • Payments:
  • Specify due dates for the deposit, the progress payments and the final payment, which shouldn't be due until your site is completed.
  • Other terms:
  • Specify terms, such as who owns the site design, confidentiality, handling of disagreements and so on.

Also, consider if you'll be able to update and make changes to your site once it's done. Having the designer do it will drain your finances and could mean delays.


Authors and career coaches Paul and Sarah Edwards have written 15 books, including Working From Home and Finding Your Perfect Work. Send them your start-up business questions at www.workingfromhome.comor in care of Entrepreneur.