If you're like many business-owners or hobbyists wanting to establish a site on the web, you've no doubt searched in vain for a professional web design company that can create an affordable online presence for you. Too often you'll be swamped with results, only to find that everyone and their dog seems to have set up a web desigh shop and are clamoring for your patronage!

Unsure of what to do or where to turn? Here are some key points you'll want to keep in mind when selecting a true web professional:

- The web designer's own website should be a prime example of the work they are capable of doing. If the pages are dancing with dozens of animations, or flashing rainbow-colored text, it would be safe to assume that you can look elsewhere.

- Each web design business should have an online portfolio showing examples of past sites they have created. This will give you an idea of what you can expect for your own website.

- Their website should include a price list and ordering information, as well as several ways to contact them in case of any problems or questions.

- If you are interested in their services, you should be able to get a no-obligation quote from them on how much your website would cost.

- Find out if maintenance or revisions are included in the final cost. Some designers will provide a couple of minor changes at no cost, while others will give a per hour rate. Decide which payment procedure fits your needs and budget.

Finally, it is important to remember that the website should strike a balance between graphics and content. A site that loads fast while maintaining visual attractiveness will gain more visitor appeal and customer loyalty than a more download-intensive page.