A bold statement – I know
Truth is, there are a lot of terrible web designers out there. Just like there are “terribles” in any other industry. Terrible car mechanic that rips you off, terrible lawyer that you never hear from when you have questions, terrible contractors.
In every industry, you have the group that is just plain terrible at what they do. We have all met them, and we try to avoid them at all costs, right?
Well, there are terrible web designers. Lot’s of them actually. More than I would like to admit.
See, the problem with having a terrible web designer is that you are losing money every day of every month. Yes- losing money.
In this post – 19 Reasons Your Web Designer Sucks I go over exactly what you need to look out for and how to avoid a terrible Web Designer.
1. The price is under $500 bucks
If your website is costing you less than a $500 bucks, then chances are your web designer is terrible and your website will be terrible too. We all wish we could spend $500 dollars and make millions, but if it were that easy everyone would do it.
Stop being cheap, because, you get what you pay for. You could easily buy a car for $500 bucks but again, you get what you pay for. If you still think your website should be under $500 bucks, eventually you will come crawling back to the web designer that was too expensive. Only now you’ll have to pay for a good web designer + the costs of your really cheap web designer.
2.The “Headset Hottie”
A Headset Hottie is a joke amongst digital marketers. It’s a stock photo of an attractive female with a headset on, ready to take your call. This photo can usually be found on your contact page, in a sidebar, or sometimes even in the header. Terrible web designers have been adding images like this to websites for years. A Headset Hottie won’t increase sales or phone calls. It will only make your website look cheap and silly.
3. No weekly call
Momentum is the energy and excitement that every new website project starts off with. It’s critical to maintain momentum throughout the course of a web design project. The second your web designer loses regular contact is the second you lose the project’s momentum. Your web designer should be in contact with you weekly if not daily, and if they are not, demand it and agree on a meeting time and day each week until the project is complete.
4. You found ‘em on Craigslist
I advertised for business on Craigslist about 6 or 7 years ago. From my experience, I learned that Craigslist is where cheap people can find other cheap people. Of course, every rule has it’s exceptions and I do occasionally post on Craigslist’s job board to see what’s out there but very rarely do I get the quality I’m looking for.
So, if you found your web designer on Craigslist you’re probably also breaking rule #1, by being cheap.
5. No copywriting solution
Creating content for your new website is the biggest challenge every client faces. It’s also the #1 cause for delays (in my 12 years of experience). A good web designer will be prepared with a solution and warn you about this at the kickoff meeting.
Possible copywriting solutions:
- Client creates all content (be careful this takes time and dedication)
- Client offers an internal resource (a copywriter on their staff)
- Client hires a freelance copywriter
- Web designer offers an internal solution (a copy writer on their staff)
- Web designer offers a freelance copywriter
6. Your web designer’s #1 goal is creativity
Creativity should not be the #1 goal for your website. In a survey by HubSpot, 76% of users said that the most important factor in the design of a website is that “The website makes it easy for me to find what I want.” Only 10% of users said, “beautiful appearance” was the most important thing to them. Organization of content was their number #1 concern for websites, not creativity. The more organized your content is the longer users will stay. The longer users stay, the more likely they will buy. So, make sure your web designer’s priorities are correct.
7. Your web designer is related to you
“Never hire anyone you can’t fire.” You should know better than to hire a relative to work for you in the first place, let alone build your website. However, if you do decide to hire a family member to build your website, they will probably give you an “unbelievable” discount. If they’re a pro, that’s great news; however, the bad news is that the project eventually won’t be worth their time, and you will eventually end up on the back burner.
8. Your web designer is YOU!
Peep author at conversionxl.com says, “If you designed your website yourself and you’re not a designer, it sucks”. It takes years of experience to perfect what we do. You can’t learn this trade in a few hours.
Peep, I couldn’t agree more!
9. You built it using a web design tool
Anyone can learn how to use a cheap web design tool in an hour or so but you can’t learn what a good web designer has learned with years of experience. In other words, learning how to use a website builder won’t teach you how to design a website that will get targeted traffic, conversions, and sales.
In addition, just because you learned how to use Photoshop doesn’t mean you’re a good web designer. I’ve received so many resumes with people who know the Adobe Suite like the back of their hand, but their work sucks. Again, it takes years of experience to not be a terrible web designer.
10. No project management software
Project management software keeps everything organized and in one central location for everyone to easily find. It assigns tasks, keeps timelines, organizes assets and holds everyone accountable for their responsibilities. I couldn’t imagine a web designer not using project management
11. They don’t ask enough questions
Your web designer should ask you lots of questions, especially before they start working on your project. They should ask everything about your 3C’s (Company, Competitors, and Clients). Questions should start during the initial sales meetings and kickoff meeting or call, and then continue throughout the strategy phase of your project. No questions is a RED FLAG and the sign of a terrible web designer.
10 sample questions:
- What are your primary and secondary goals for your website?
- Who is your target audience?
- Describe your typical client.
- Who are your online and offline competitors?
- Are you doing any marketing offline?
- Where is your target audience (local, national, global)?
- Do you have brand guidelines?
- Do you have a content writer available?
- What kind of assets will you provide? (photo, videos, images, brochures)
- Can we access your current site analytics?
12. They have too many clients
This happens a LOT. Web Designers often take on too much work. I myself have been guilty of this in the past. This was well before I had a team to handle progressive workflow.
What usually ends up happening is once the first concept of the website is published they quickly move to the next project and you’re put on the back burner because they will “get back to your website when they have time”.
Eventually you’re stuck on their back burner and nothing is getting done in a timely manner. You’ll be left more frustrated than when you signed up!
13. No scope of work
A wise man in project management for 20+ years once told me that 80% of the problems that occur during a project occur because of a poor scope of work. A good scope of work details all work to be performed and delivered. It is critical that both parties agree to the scope of work before the project is executed.
14. No architecture strategy
Let’s say your family decides to build a dream house. Well, before you start actually building this house, you’re probably going to hire an architect to blueprint the house and all the rooms. Web design is very similar to building a house. Before designing any pages, your web design team should map out and wireframe (blueprint) each page of your website and get your approval before designing and developing.
15. No conversion strategy
Has your web designer helped you define what your primary and secondary conversions are? A conversion can be a phone call, email sign up, contact form, e-commerce purchase or a button being clicked. Your web designer should help you define what your conversions are.
Primary conversions are actual sales made on the site or inquiries for sales discussions through a contact form. Secondary conversions are typically forms that capture emails. Your web designer should ask how you want to be contacted and how clients typically prefer contacting you. After all, this is why you built your website.
16. The handshaking image
This is a big red flag. If you see this on your site take it down. I’m speaking of course about the infamous hand shake. This is usually a simple picture of two men shaking hands. It’s cheesy, a waste of space and draws wasteful attention.
17. No SEO strategy
Let’s say you wanted to open a new store that requires lots of foot traffic. Would you let your real estate agent sell you a very nice storefront without knowing or telling you anything about the neighborhood? Me either. In other words, if your web designer doesn’t do SEO, they are terrible.
18. No CMS
I can’t think of any good reasons why your web developer wouldn’t build your website on a CMS (content management system). Not using a CMS is not going to save you money. In fact, it could be more expensive because a good CMS like WordPress is built on a framework that has prebuilt functionality saving you time and money.
19. They’re in a different country
I’ve been developing professional websites for about 12 years and I promise that you will need experience to work with web designers and developers in other countries. Yes, they speak english and yes they are cheaper but if you don’t understand how to properly vet designers and developers in other countries you will most likely find a terrible web designer who doesn’t do any of the 19 items above, giving you a very frustrating and infuriating experience.