Does Your Website Designer Wear Horns Or A Halo?

September 30, 2014

Does Your Website Designer Wear Horns Or A Halo?I’ve had 3 new clients come to me in the past month with web designer horror stories.  Big money involved, very frustrated and angry clients at the finish line.  What to do?

Before you start

Not all designers are created equal and price does not necessarily relate to quality.  As you send your brief out for quotes, do the following:

  1. Ask your connections for referrals.  Word of mouth referrals can save you heartbreak.  Not always, but it does lower the risk.
  2. Google both the company and the key staff.  By doing this you will see if they have any bad feedback … or if past clients are happy ones.
  3. Where does their website appear in search rankings?  If they don’t rank well, will you?
  4. Go over their website with a fine tooth comb.  What you don’t want to see are broken links, typos, images without descriptions or functions that don’t work.
  5. Ask for 10 recent sites they’ve built.  Phone these clients and ask how they dealt with changes, whether the site went over budget, what their support is like and if they met deadlines.
  6. Look at these sites and treat them to the same critique as you did in point 3 above.
  7. Spend time writing out your brief so it covers all contingencies for the launch of your new site.
  8. Important: ask the designer why you should chose them?

Once you’ve chosen

Set your parameters before the designer starts on your site and before any payment changes hands.

  1. Decide what the milestones will be and set deadlines around these.  
  2. Agree on payment terms.  Paying on completed milestones is a good idea.  Do not pay more than 25% up front (and many designers won’t ask for payment until the site is live).
  3. Talk to your designer about how the website will change with future growth, business change and new technology.  You do not want a complete rebuild every few years.
  4. I would ask the designer to sign their agreement of the brief you have supplied.
  5. Establish up front how much access you will have to the site once it is built.  Will you be able to make changes or have another designer work on the site or will access be limited.  I have seen many cases where clients are held hostage by companies charging a small fortune to make changes to sites in the future.

That said

That said, there are some fabulous designers out there who deliver amazing work.  A great designer is a magician, turning your ideas into an online reality and a live website built on time, on budget is an exciting point in your business.

Minimise the risks up front and remember, money does not always transfer to quality.  I’ve seen sites built for $25k that have been scrapped, vise versa I’ve seen some cheap sites that look just that – cheap.  Do your homework and you’ll be smiling at the end of your journey.

Your thoughts?


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