When you have decided that it might be best to hire professional for designing your website, you must keep certain things in mind. First of all is that not all web design professionals are exactly professional. Some of them might be having even lesser knowledge about web-deisgn than you.

Qualifications are Meaningless- Web design professionals would generally not have any qualifications as this is still a nascent industry. You can guarantee that most people with web design qualifications did them at a community college to try and get rich during the dot-com boom. What you should pay attention to when searching for web designers is which of their skills they think are important. If they can competently explain what XHTML and CSS are and why they're good for your website, then they're a better candidate. Let them explain how they will proceed with your website and how that would be useful to you.

The Portfolio- Looking at the earlier work of any designer would give you a lot of idea about the knowledge and the expertise of the web designer. Good designers will have an assorted portfolio, with plenty of attractive sites that they've built for all sorts of customers, and they'll be able to explain to you why they built each site the way they did. You can contact some of their other clients (website owners) and get their feedback on the web designer.

However, you shouldn’t just shun off of a new web designer as he might still not have enough diversity in his portfolio. You must let them know that you’d like to see something before they you can commit your website to them. A good designer will gladly create a sample for your website (a small one page sample) and will tell you how he/she intends to proceed.

Work-You should make sure that the external web designers build your website for all of your users. They should keep in mind that this website is not just for a few people. For this, you must tell them the kind of target audience you want for your website. Amateur web designers have a propensity to come up with designs that they think would impress others but in their zeal they ignore the majority of the people who would be visiting the website. They should design a website suitable for as many browsers as possible.

Price- You should try and judge for yourself the proper price for designing of your website. Many a times, you’ll find that the designers themselves are not sure of the price to be charged. The best thing in such a scenario is to find an independent and an experienced professional who will tell you the correct price for designing your website. But you must also be prepared to tell exactly what you are looking for in your website and so the designer can charge you appropriately. And don’t forget to negotiate.