Today, a business without a Web site is like a person without an identity. A Web site is the online identity of a company and a well designed Web site will not only allow the business to connect with the customers, but also it will successfully persuade a customer to choose that business over its rivals.

A well designed Web site can also help a small business compete successfully with bigger rivals and expand its reach to a wider audience of suppliers and customers that otherwise would not have been possible. However, a poorly designed Web site can also keep customers at bay. Worse still, it can kill a business, especially if search engines find it difficult to crawl.

This brings to mind an important question - how do we determine what is a well designed Web site? A well-designed Web site is one which not only makes a visitor leave the Web site with positive impressions, but also will make him come back for more. How does one do that? Different Web design firms will adopt different techniques but generally all Web design firms will follow the same golden principles of Web designing - present the client's business with a good balance of graphics and content in an easy-to-read format (visually appealing), use short paragraphs, feature clear navigation menus, make the contact information visible and easily accessible, optimize the Web site so that it can open well in different browsers, use software that are not detrimental to search engine rankings, and, most importantly, make sure that the Web site is an extension of the client's brand.

Choosing the right Web design firm can be an arduous task especially if you're making a Web site for the first time. Before creating a Web site, you should first establish your goals - ask yourself Who is my target market? Who are my competitors? What do my target market want from the Web site? What do I want from the Web site? - and then determine your budget.

In this regard, IBTimes Tech & Trend has sieved through tons of Web design firms and have presented here the top Web design firms for 2012.

These Web design firms boast of impressive portfolio, know and understand search engine optimization issues and techniques well, provide helpful customer support, and, most importantly, offer premium quality service without charging you an arm and a leg.

They are:

1. Intellix Media

2. Cuker

3. n3o Digital

4. Search Marketing Group

5. Tangence, and

6. Wired World Media

Start the slideshow to check them out.