This is a very fluid business. As a designer, I have always been involved in creating traditional media, print advertising, brochures, etc, and there is a predictable stability about print materials.
The Web is still very new. It seems like it has been here for some time, but it is still an infant, and creating a site that can work on different platforms—Mac and PC—and different browsers, can be difficult. Every time you do anything, it changes the look and performance of your site. It would be advisable to consider hiring someone who has worked with a variety of sites because it is more difficult than it should be. There are a lot of little things that can catch you and could potentially crash your site. This is especially true if you are conducting e-business and e-commerce. I think that it is important to work with someone who has done the deal and knows what is involved.
At the very bottom of each site is the content that users spend time trying to find. Two things will determine if your users continue their experience or dump out and go elsewhere.
First, and perhaps most important, is a logical organization of the content. Second, is a well designed interface that encourages the user to continue his quest. I have found that the best solutions employ a continuity of design. Once people get to the site, they should get a good sense of what you or the company is about. They should know what they are in for if they use the sevices offered, what kind of information is available, expediting a decision to determine if your service or organization can fit their needs. An attractive, well organized interface is vital to keeping viewers interested.
The Web is an excellent way to connect you or your organization with the public. But to bring people to the site, it is critical to promote it, and I've found that traditional media often works best for doing that. Some of the sites I have designed have used postcards, direct mail, and done some print advertising to promote their new service. An extensive program of submission to the major Search Engines further extends your ability to promote the site to those who have not received the information with traditional means.
Having said that, if you wish to check out my qualifications and view websites I have completed please click the various links on this page.