By Joshua Lucas
Issue # 10
Wednesday, May 13, 1998
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I have been lucky in my experience with the Web. Within the last
couple of years I have lived in both Los Angeles and Boston--two of
the most "wired" places around. I sometimes forget that the rest of
the country does not always have the same luxury as I do when it
comes to having companies around that can do web site design.
Because of this, I wanted to offer some possibilities for those who
will be forced to work with a company that is not right around the
Dealing with a company via e-mail or the phone might not be your
choice but it does not mean that the site being designed will not be
successful. If after researching your local area, you can't find any
companies which you would feel comfortable with in designing your
web site, then it is time to begin to look for someone else who can
do the job, no matter where they are located.
Initially, to find someone, use the same steps we talked about last
week, except this time expand your search to include other parts of
the country. Places which might be considered hot spots would
include most of the larger cities in the United States and Canada.
Just as you checked out the clients of the local companies, look at
the ones from these as well. It is even more important that you feel
confident in the reputation and history of the design company if you
are going to deal with them without much face-to-face contact.
Besides searching via a search engine, look again at your
competition and see where their site was designed. This might give
you some clues as to more companies that would be able to do the
After finding someone and making contact, pay close attention to
discussions at the beginning. A company should go out of its way to
make you feel comfortable in dealing with the out-of-town
Listen to their ideas on how they can make this work for you. If you
feel at ease and like what you hear, don't let the distance hold you back! A successful
relationship can definitely be a win-win situation because it gives you practical experience in dealing in with a business relationship on the Internet before your reputation is on the line. A good firm will help you "get used" to working with e-mail, and working "virtually", all of which is a crucial part of a successful web business.
"Lucas, Joshua Lucas". . .writes for a living. By day he writes software, and by night he weaves words. Josh has coded in Java, C, C++, and Perl for some of the hippest and most recognizable companies in the US, including The Gap, Starbucks, Nike, and Nordstroms. Josh's rich experience, coupled with his diligent daily research, places him as close to the "cutting edge" as you can get without falling off. He and his wife recently moved from Los Angeles, CA to Boston, MA.
If you have decided you need to work with someone
who isn't local, what steps have you taken to prepare for this
communication? Can you set out certain times to contact them throughout the week
or will it need to be flexible? Try to answer these questions before
your first meeting.
And don't forget to keep sending me topics you'd like to learn more about!
As the discussion becomes more and more technical, keep a copy
of all communication between you and the design company. This is
not to show distrust but to make sure that there are not any
miscommunications and that all of the work expected to be done is
done. Keep track of phone calls as well. It might not be a bad idea
to have a log of when the call took place and the overall purpose of
the call. Don't be afraid to ask for status e-mails or calls. It would be
best to decide on those before the job starts so as to avoid any
suspicions as to your looking over their shoulder.
These suggestions should help you as you deal with a "virtual"
relationship with a design company. The key is to stay in close
communication without "smothering" the designers. . .which will also cost both sides more in lost wages, anyway.
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