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Will the site be maintainable by somebody other than the person that wrote the initial code?

This is an often overlooked feature. You need to plan for future site updates or enhancements, and you will definitely need to ensure that you have total control of your site.

There are four things you need to ensure.

  1. The site you have had built should be supplied to you in a format that will allow any person competent with HTML (HyperText Mark-up Language) code to make alterations. You'll need site HTML code that conforms to the W3C Recommendations, and source code that will not require any custom software to edit or alter. If it can't be worked on in a simple text editor like Windows Notepad, you'll be in trouble if you need to make changes and can't (or don't want to) deal with your previous HTML coder or you new coder can't get a copy of the specialized site building software that was initially used.

  2. Any custom graphics that have been designed for your site should be supplied in an editable format. Now editing these files will most certainly require specialist software. Most serious graphics designers will use PhotoShop, or a graphics editor that will read PhotoShop PSD files.

  3. You should ensure that you control the access to the hosting site that serves your web site. Make sure you get all the details, like the location, account name, and password, and ensure it is in your company's name. Without this information, you don't have access to the site to change details. Conversely, whoever has these details has full control over the content of your site. The access codes to the hosting site are equivalent to the keys to a car.

  4. If your coder organizes a domain name for you, you should ensure that ownership details for the domain name are in your company's name. Domain names are only rented for a period (usually one or two years), and whoever has the ownership of the domain can move it to where ever they would like. It would be a rather embarrasing situation if your you were prevented from re-registering your domain name when the initial period had expired, or lost control of the name and were held to ransom (yes, it has happened, and the often the company domain name is then used on a porn site). Control of the domain name is far more important than control of your hosting site. In a pinch you can always move your domain to a new hosting site. Control of a domain name is like having the registration of a car in your name. Someone else might have the only set of keys, but you can always legally tow the car where ever you'd like and have the locks changed.
Even if you follow these points, have a well designed site, and have control of the domain and the access codes to your hosting site, don't expect a staff member without a reasonable level of HTML experience will be able to maintain your site without some level of training. Without a suitable skill set, it is very easy to destroy the integrity and operability of your site.

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