With that in mind, we're featuring a short blog series in which we'll be spotlighting a few of the most important qualities to look for in a web design or Internet marketing firm.

What Does a Good Web Design Firm Look Like?
Part 1: Capable

There's something quaint about a staff of two when it comes to some businesses -- like flower shops and candy stores. But when it comes to the strategic design and implementation of your business online, a skeleton crew may not be able to deliver what you need.

There's no magic number here, but consider the size of your Web developer's active, full-time staff, and ask yourself if that team looks prepared to give you the kind of service and attention your brand deserves. Remember that even in technical fields where software and programs can accomplish a lot, it still takes real people (in sufficient numbers) to make your site and online marketing plan work for you.

Ask for a tour of your developer's offices, meet the people, introduce yourself to the receptionist, and ask which members of the team will be working on your project specifically. Web firms that intend to win new business and stick around for a long time will welcome you into their office and put you in touch with everyone working on your site.

Full-time, On-site
Part of having a staff that's sizable enough to make great things happen on deadline, is the element of availability. As outsourcing and freelancing become more commonplace in the 21st century, some web design firms have jumped on board, hoping to save money.

While outsourcing may save your web designer a few bucks, it may cost you a few small headaches along the way. Look for firms that keep a full-time staff on-site. Having enough people on your project won't be much consolation if you can't reach the right person when you need to.

As with every industry, web designers come in all varieties. Take these recommendations to heart and decide for yourself what's most important to you as you begin your next online endeavor. If you have questions or concerns, let someone know. At August Ash, we're always happy to offer a few free answers and help businesses get pointed in the right direction.