Is your site going to display consistently over different platforms?
Sites can look great on one browser type like Explorer, but when viewed on Safari or Navigator it can look completely different. There are certain techniques a professional web designer utilizes in order for the site to look the same on any type of browser configuration.

Browsers are not the only variable, as users use many different display resolutions on their computers. On a wide screen display versus a ten year old VGA display, a site can look and function radically different. Many designers want to "fill the screen," however whose screen are they filling? In order to have your site viewed by the maximum number of users, a professional web designer needs to make your site look great on a brand new cinema display as well as on a ten year old VGA monitor.

Can iPhone and PDA users navigate your website?
With the advent of portable browsers, many businesses have had to retool their sites to become "handheld friendly." Most recently, the iPhone has presented designers with a completely new set of navigation challenges. Links can no longer be lists, as users navigate with their fingers and cannot help but select more than one link at a time. Scrolling has now been replaced with targeted selections which means designers must create natural targets on their sites.

A professional, well thought out web site, must take into consideration this rapidly expanding user base. Designers must now think not only of desktop or laptop monitors, but must consider these handheld devices when building their navigation systems.

Will your site load and quickly display content for all users?
There are a great many beautiful sites on the web that a majority of users will never view. For most users, they will simply quit when asked to "download new software in order to view this site" and move on to another site. Flash sites look fantastic, moving more like a television show than a web site, yet few users have the latest software to view these sites - not to mention that they do not load on many handheld devices at all.

For businesses, the aim is to allow as many users to visit their site as possible, and they must keep in mind that everyone does not have the latest and greatest software on their computer. Simple and elegant design can give your future customers the feel of these "fantastic" sites without the hassle of long loading times and the need for additional or upgraded software.

Is it easy to navigate and find everything you offer on your site?
This human factors issue is one of the most important aspects of a well designed web site. Elegantly designed navigation gives visitors a sense of comfort rather than the frustration a complex navigation system can supply. Simplicity in navigation is the key to even the most complex sites.

A well designed navigation system in most cases will go completely unnoticed by the visitor. It will simply give them a sense of comfort and natural awareness of where they are and where they are going while they move through the site. On a well designed site, there should never be the need to use the "BACK" button, or "SITE MAP" to find a page.

Will your site show up on Google and other search engines?
While you may have the best site in the world, it makes no difference if visitors cannot find it. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is how professional designers bring traffic to your site. SEO is half science and half art, making it one of the most challenging aspects of web design. There is only one way anyone can guarantee a first page listing, and that is to buy a sponsored listing. The problem here is that most people completely ignore any listing which is highlighted or put in a sidebar because they are rarely helpful and often completely off topic.

Be very wary of anyone promising high rankings all the time. A professional designer can utilize many different types of SEO solutions and tricks of the trade that can get your ranking higher and more accurately returned, however they cannot guarantee top page results all the time.

Is your site fully expandable?
As your web presence grows, new functionality may be needed to meet the needs of your customers. There may come a time where you would like to automate an online ordering system, supply daily news or specials, or any number of additional features.

A well designed web site can grow with your business without having to undergo a full redesign. The beauty of a fully expandable site is that it will continue to look and work the same, even as new functionality is added.

How will you know if people are visiting your site?
Traffic reporting is an essential tool for evaluating the effectiveness of your site. Counters are readily available to most amateurs and professionals alike, however there are more effective reporting solutions.

Most reporting and/or counters show "hits" - which are basically page turns. If you were to visit a site and click through five pages, a counter or a hit report would register five visitors. "Unique Visitor" reporting includes these hits, and also breaks them down into unique visitors, so you would know that you had one visitor who looked at five pages.