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How to Get What You Want When You Hire A Designer To Make Your Website

I’m sure you’ve heard all the horror stories. One of your friends hired a website designer to design a website for them and was not happy with the results to say the least. But more than that they have horrific tales to tell.  Long story short, the website designer took their money and delivered an unusable website if a website at all.

Being a web designer myself I’ve heard lots of stories from my clients who have been burned by their website designer or so they say. Yes, there are unscrupulous website designers out there, but in many cases the problem between the website designer and the client is not due to unhonesty but due to a lack of communication between the client and the website designer.

Let me give you my take on this. Here’s an example of a website design horror story in the making. A client asks for a quote on a website. The professional website designer asks questions to see what the clients needs are and how they want the website to function. The designer follows up with the client in writing on what the project will entail.

The client is on board with the cost and the project scope so they send in their deposit. The designer begins work on the clients website and then the client decides they want to add some additional programming features that they neglected to tell the designer about. Or maybe the client didn’t explain how a particular part of the website should function. The website designer has specifically let the client know that if they change the scope of the project they might incur additional fees and delays in completion time based on what the changes are.  That would seem to be only fair. Unfortunately, some clients don’t see it this way. Now the designer is on their way to becoming the Star in a website design horror story.

Being a website designer these situations are inevitable and we have to deal with them. Most web design clients aren’t versed in website design or they do the website themselves. They dont know whats involved in changes to their sites design or functioning. They think everything is easy. In website development it rarely is. The simplest change could result in added hours of programming or redoing the customers website over.

If you are a customer looking to get what you want out of a website, here are some simple tips that will help you avoid being on the other end of a website design horror story:

- Tell your web designer exactly how you want your site to function. I.e. if you want 1,000 pictures to be on your website and each picture clickable to a larger image let the designer know. Provide an example if you can.

-  Be very detailed with your future website needs so that the web designer will know if any programming, flash programming, logo design, or graphics design work is required and can quote you an accurate price quote. Remember no detail is too small. This ensures you get what you want.

- Dont ask for a website mimicking a celebrity website for $200. Surprisingly, this happens a lot.  A potential client might ask for a celebrity website like Madonna, Carrie Underwood, Jay Z, etc. and claim their budget is $200. That’s not realistic and you know that’s not going to happen. None of those celebrities paid any where near $200 for their website and neither will you if you want one like them. If you have a small budget you have only two options: 1) do it yourself or 2) use a web template.

Dont hide information from your web designer thinking you’ll leave it out and tell them later on to get a cheaper quote. Your designer will probably not like this and might not do the additional work. Any changes in design, function or layout most likely will incur additional fees.

Dont ask for a website that you know is very complex and expect to get it for dirt-cheap. For example dont ask for a website like Amazon.com for around $500 bucks. You might be able to pull it off with an offshore website design firm, but remember you get what you pay for. The price might be cheap but it will cost you more in the long run to fix the programming errors, missing functions, broken links and language errors. If you believe in your idea for a website you should pay the money on the front end to get it done right. Dont look for a bargain, look for the website designer you think will get the job done right on the front end for the least expensive price.

Communicate a lot with your web designer, be it phone or email to make sure you are both on the same page.

Check out the designers website. Always check the designers portfolio and review the websites that they have designed. They should have many links to external websites that they have designed. Check the website for spelling errors, check their Google Page rank (the higher the number the better) and Google their name to see what comes up. If you see excessive bad press, thats a red flag to not use the design firm. true, you can’t really believe everything you read online, but too many negative comments about a web design firm is not a good sign. Not worth the risk.

To protect yourself, follow up all phone conversations with emails detailing what was discussed so that there is written record of the conversation. Your designer should be doing this too.

If a disagreement arises, always have an open mind and be willing to compromise. Its in your best interest to have the website finished or you may loose your time and money invested and have to start over from scratch with another website designer. Be calm and don’t shoot off angry emails or threaten the website designer…this could shut down the lines of communication and you’ll both loose.

Good luck with your website project and I hope you get what you want.



Content 2008 Hoover Web Design http://www.hooverwebdesign.com

July 13th, 2008 at 4:11 pm

One Response to “How to Get What You Want When You Hire A Designer To Make Your Website”

  1. Ovi Dogar Says:

    Hey Gina,

    I totally agree with you that in many cases the problem between the website designer and the client is not due to unhonesty but due to a lack of communication between them. Communication between the client and designer it is very important.

    By the way, your article is great! ;)

    Ovi Dogar