Learning Hub | Planning a Website Design Project

Reasons Why Your Web Designer Went MIA

October 28, 2015 | Jon Teodoro

We’ve heard horror stories of all kinds from our clients who have had bad experiences with web design “companies”. Their stories usually resemble one of the following:

“I asked my web designer to make some changes for me two weeks ago and he’s still not done yet.”

“My web designer said that he was going to do (insert complexity functionality here) and it’s broken/not working.”

“I need to make changes or updates to my website but my web designer has all of the credentials and I can’t get ahold of him.”

If we had a dollar for every time we heard one of these statements, we wouldn’t have to build websites anymore. We’d be lying on a beach somewhere away from this cold Michigan weather.

But instead,  we’re scratching our heads and wondering, “What the hell is going on with web designers nowadays?”

Here is our input on what’s causing these recurring problems:

Reason #1: You and Your Web Designer Aren’t On The Same Page

As a matter of fact, you two probably aren’t even reading the same book.

If you tell a web designer to build you a website, that’s exactly what you’ll get: collection of pages with text and photos that lives somewhere on the internet. But if what you really want is more customers to come through your doors, then having a website is only one piece of the puzzle. Instead, you need a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.

If your web designer isn’t spending a generous amount of time with you up front to learn about your business then you should approach that relationship with caution. How do you expect someone who knows very little about your brand, your customers, and your company mission, to accurately project your business’ image online? If your website didn’t turn out the way that you imagined, it’s probably because he designed it the way he imagined it.

If you’re like most business owners, you already have a vision of how you want your website to be presented. Executing your vision requires a great amount of communication and feedback, and if you get the vibe that your web designer isn’t out for your best interests or isn’t actively sharing ideas with you early in the design process, you should continue shopping around.

Reason #2: Your Web Designer Isn’t Actually A Web Designer

Sometimes, your “web designer” is actually your nephew, or your cousin’s brother’s sister. You might have even found him on Craigslist. Regardless, if you didn’t hire a professional company that has experience working with businesses, then there’s a chance that your web designer isn’t actually a Web Designer.

It doesn’t take much to learn how to build a basic website nowadays, especially with all of the educational resources, easy-to-use content management systems, and pre-made themes available on the market. From the perspective of someone that needs an extra income stream, pursuing a part-time web design business could be a great way to put some extra money in their pocket.

Keep in mind, however, that with many part-time web designers, building websites is not their career or passion. It’s an extra stream of income. Being proficient at web design and development requires years of time, tinkering, and learning, and not everyone is ready for that. Therefore, when the expectations of full-time businesses meet the skills gap of part-time web designers, crap hits the fan.

Many part-time web designers don’t know what they’re getting into when they open themselves up to starting a service-based business. They only look at the short-term implications and fail to see past the long-term expectations. When businesses make the decision to delegate their web design responsibilities out to a professional, they look at that person or group of people to be their “go-to” resource when something goes wrong or needs to be updated. These expectations should always be met, or at least addressed.

However, if your web designer considers this their “side hustle” and if something goes wrong, chances are it’s going to be very hard to get ahold of them. Even if you do get a response, do you think that your business is going to take precedence of their day job? Probably not.

Reason #3: Poor Communication and/or Lack of Business Process

Once a website is built, its a living thing. It needs to be maintained and updated on a regular basis. This is especially true if you had your website built on an open-source content management system like Drupal, WordPress, or Joomla.

If your web designer is not helping you keep up to date with these software iterations, you’re exposing your business to some big problems later down the road. Not updating your website’s core software can lead to malware infections, website errors (caused by software incompatibility), and security leaks. Yikes.

Although this is an important aspect to communicate to business owners like yourself, many web designers don’t educate their clients on this topic. That’s why many business owners don’t realize that building a website comes with a host of other long term responsibilities. It’s also why SMBs are so surprised when their websites get hacked.

When starting any kind of relationship with a web designer, make sure you ask the right questions and always do business with a contract. Check their reviews online, view their portfolio, and ask for references when possible.

If you’re in the process of finding a web designer, keep these three points in mind. It could save you some headaches and thousands of dollars later on down the road.