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1. Does the design firm understand your organization’s objectives and goals regarding a Web presence?

2. Do they perform the actual Web design in-house or do they farm portions out?

3. Do they perform related services in-house as well, such as graphic design for the pages (i.e., buttons, maps, textures, etc.) and marketing, or do they contract this out?

4. Are they willing to give you a firm estimate before proceeding with the design process?

5. How often can you update your page and what is the cost of making changes?

6. If there are technical questions, is there someone at the design firm who can answer them?

7. Does the firm design pages from scratch, or do all their sites have the same look?

8. Is the design firm willing to make your page accessible to all browser software, even if it means the page won’t have all the bells and whistles available on the latest version of Internet Explorer? Are they capable of doing the bells and whistles too?

9. Will they assign all the creative rights over to you? Some design firms are cagy about this and if you don’t ask for it up front, you may find that you don’t own the design of your site.

10.  Can they provide references for you to contact?

11.  What experience have they had with ecommerce? Can they show you sites they’ve designed that have online shopping capabilities?

12.  Will the design firm assign account representatives specifically to you or will you have to wade your way through layers of people to get an answer to a simple question?

13. Finally, do they understand your business and/or industry?

14. In terms of clients, where do you fall? You don’t want to be the smallest account they have since they’ll tend to cater to the larger client’s needs first. Somewhere in the middle is good. Get too near the top and you may find that they can’t provide you with the level of expertise you need.