Its frequently the case that somebody you chat with knows someone else who undertakes website design. The phrase website designer can range from somebody in a school office undertaking admin duties who has been selected to tweak the school website to a fully trained and skilled professional website designer. This makes it very difficult when it comes to choosing a web design agency. If you choose the wrong agency, this could mean having a website that turns prospective customers off, rather than generating sales. Nonetheless, it is completely possible to find an agency, with some research, who will produce a relatively cheap website design. Due diligence needs to be undertaken when you choose a web agency, so that you can ascertain their level of professionalism and competency. A number of questions need to be asked. Web design agencies you contact will tell you they generate fantastic work, but you should ask for a client list, complete with web addresses. If an agency is highly regarded, they will have a gallery or some kind of portfolio of websites they have designed, so you should take the time to go to these sites and see how they appear. Notice how clearly the business message comes across and how the site ranks in search engine ratings. It is a good idea to phone the design agency’s past clients to determine their feelings about their overall experience, both during the design process and after it. You may well receive pessimistic feedback, but of course you should bear in mind that there are two sides to any story, so check with the design agency to hear their side of events. It is important to establish if the design agency you are thinking of using can see the job through to completion? Many design agencies will use contracted web designers to assist with overflow, so you should know about this up front. You need to know if the design firm you choose has the resources to continue with the job, even if a contracted designer departs. In the same way, if you choose a self-employed designer, you need to know what may happen if they become sick, or just unhelpful. Many web design firms will have a number of employees, so your concerns will be addressed. The cost of a bespoke website can vary a great deal. It is quite usual to pay from upwards of around £700 for a 20 page static website, depending upon the level of design and the functionality that is necessary. It also has to be borne in mind the level of work the website agency employed can produce, as well as the level of customer service they offer. An agency needs to be found that will give excellent after sales service, rather than taking your money and running for the hills. You will get what you pay for. There are many who have their websites crash after just a short time and then cannot contact the agency that designed it. You also need to determine if the agency you are thinking of employing builds websites that are search engine friendly. The benefits of search engine optimisation (SEO) cannot be overemphasised. There are many designers who will tell you they will build sites that are SEO friendly, but in reality only have a couple of meta tags that give almost no value at all. This is not SEO. First impressions usually do make a difference, so it is essential to ask any questions you may think are relevant. Do not be afraid to delve deep, because is you do, then the chances are that this will result in a website that you are content with and which attracts web traffic, resulting in potential customers being able to access data about your company twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It is possible to find affordable website design with a little persistence, but most importantly do not just select one from the first couple of pages of the search engine results. Carol Forrest is the Managing Director of Webs Galore Limited which is a professional website design miamiwebdesignguy agency specialising in the creation of cheap and affordable website design for small and medium sized companies.