Unfortunately, it’s very common in this industry to come across people who feel like they have been lied to by a web designer. It’s an unsettling feeling, especially considering the amount of money a website can cost you up front, and how much more it can cost in sales if it’s done wrong.
But how do you know if you’re being duped or not?
I mean, if you’re hiring a web designer, it’s likely because you don’t know how to build your site yourself. Sure, you could go with one of the many DIY platforms to handle it yourself. But if you want the site to do its job and not just look good, you’re going to want a professional.
Web Design Is A Flooded Industry
Without putting any of my peers down, the web design industry is flooded with people who learned a little bit of HTML and CSS and how to tweak a few predesigned settings, then decided to use those tricks to call themselves freelancers. That’s not the issue, though. From there, they focus on making their code do “cool stuff” instead of learning how a website needs to work. They learn about cosmetics instead of conversion.
Many never learn how to make that pretty website do its job.
Unfortunately, if they told their clients that, they’d never make any money. Instead, they tell untruths, misrepresent themselves, oversell their abilities, and outright lie. Subsequently, many of their customers are left with websites that aren’t what was promised, don’t get the job done, and in some cases, are completely unusable.
Not All Web Designers Are Bad
I don’t want to create fear, and I certainly don’t want to disparage the industry. Most web designers are doing a great job for their clients. Those dishonest ones I mentioned before make up the minority for sure. Unfortunately, they also seem to get their hands on a very large number of clients.
Know Before You Hire
If the risk of hiring a shitty web developer is so high, then how do you reduce it when you go to build your own site? Here is a list of questions you’re going to want to ask them. Their answers will give you the whole truth.
How Will My Site Rank On Google?
Any designer who is worth the price will answer this honestly. The truth is, Google rankings cannot be guaranteed. There is no way in hell. Period. End of story.
Every day, every one of your competitors will change things up on their site, and it will affect their rankings. Tons of factors outside of your control will affect your score. Things change daily.
A good designer will offer you the tools to keep making improvements on the things that Google uses to rank you. She will tell you how to constantly make changes the benefit. However, she will never guarantee the results.
How Fast Should I see Results?
Sorry to disappoint you, but that web designer that promised you fast results is blowing smoke up your ass. Websites take time and work to deliver results. They’re not the fast-paced miracle solution for your business.
Web sites are a tool, and the speed at which you get results is going to depend highly on how much and how well you use that tool. In the best case, you will not see results from your site for 6-8 months. In the worst case, it could take years.
A good web designer will remind you that patience is key.
Who Will Own The Work?
Immediately fire a web designer who says you can’t have copies of the finished product, graphic design editables, code, and site copy. If you bought them, they need to be yours at the end.
Some web designers will try to keep the copyrights for themselves. Legally they have every right to. However, it’s really a cheap ploy to make sure you have to start from scratch if you move to a new site developer. By capturing the creatives for themselves, you have to start from scratch.
A good web designer is going to turn over all the copyrights to the creatives because it’s the right thing to do. If she’s not going to put you – the client – before her pocket book, she’s likely trying to take advantage of you.
Will I Be Able To Take Care Of The Site Myself?
Any web designer who does a good job for her clients shouldn’t be afraid to lose them. Plain and simple. So, as a result, she should be willing to teach you exactly how to use and update the site.
Questionable web designers will hoard that knowledge, hoping to rope you in to a maintenance plan that costs a fortune, or forcing you to pay their high hourly rates unnecessarily.
There is seriously enough out there about running a website that requires a skilled professional. Regular updates shouldn’t be held captive. Your web designer should teach you how to handle the basics and offer to take care of them if you don’t want to (at a fee, of course).
Will It Get Me Traffic?
This is a trick question. Of course the site will get you traffic! Any website used properly will get you traffic. But that’s not the purpose of a site, is it?
Bad web designers love to sell you on how much traffic you’ll get. But traffic is easy to get. A couple of dollars a day on Google AdWords will guarantee you an influx of traffic.
How well will that traffic convert? That’s the question your designer should be focused on. And their answer should be like this section, if they know their shit.
Honesty Defines A Good Web Designer
Most dishonest web designers haven’t figured out that you don’t have to promise the world. When push comes to shove, the one website metric that counts is conversion. If your designer can understand how to produce that, you’ve hired the right one.