The following is an excerpt from the March 2008 issue of The Artist’s Magazine, from an article titled “Top of the Web” by Lisa Hazen.
Tips to building a successful website (part 2) by Lisa Hazen
• Know whom you’re dealing with. Just because your next-door neighbor’s teenage nephew says he designs websites doesn’t mean that he should design yours. You want a site that can go the distance and age well. You also want a design that can be easily updated with new work or information. Look for a designer with experience and references. One of the best ways to find a designer is by asking friends and colleagues for references. If there’s a particular website you like, contact the site’s owner to ask for the name of the designer who built it. You can also contact your local artists’ guild for references.
• Ask the right questions. Once you find a designer, ask her to walk you through what the process involves, step by step. For instance, what is the time frame for each stage of the process, and at what points must you be available for review? What is your responsibility and what is hers? (Would you be charged extra if the images you provide are not Web-ready?) Is the charge hourly or a flat fee? What sort of contract is offered, and is there an option for a kill fee? (This is an agreement where the designers are paid a percentage of the contracted fee if you decide to dissolve the business relationship.) How easy will it be to add new content and images to your site once the site is complete?
• Tell the world. Do you have business cards? Print your Web address there. Friends with websites? Ask if you can trade links. Are you a member of an art forum like ArtistsNetwork.com? You get the drift. Don’t just launch your site and expect people to find you—use every means necessary to drive traffic to your site.