Hiring a website designer seems like it should be as simple as a quick Google search, right?
Wrong. Don’t make the mistake of paying and publishing without a plan. Unfortunately, people pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for work they have only seen once or twice. They publish a website to their customers and competitors — and they find themselves disappointed and disgruntled.
If you find the first website designer to appear in a Google search, you may start with a simple solution but end up with complex website problems. The worst-case scenario? A costly, unfinished design. Unfortunately, this is the experience of many of my clients. We connect after a not-so-great first experience with a different website designer.
There are many mistakes people make when hiring a web designer, but one of the most common consequences is money wasted. One wrong move can destroy your budget. Many business owners invest in website design, and it can be a huge hit financially when the project doesn’t go as planned. Another big problem is never having full access to the final project because a relationship turned for the worse.
I would love to be your first and only call for your website design. To avoid running into the worst of the website designers, take note of the five mistakes people most commonly make when hiring a professional.
Mistake #1: Handing over domain registration duties
Your domain is a big deal. It is your business’s identity, so protect it.
Allowing someone to register your domain name seems helpful — until it becomes a hassle. Please don’t allow someone to take over the “technical” parts of your website design. Instead, partner with them. You should know every detail about your design, including the domain name and renewal costs. Your domain is one of the biggest ways to show off your brand, so make sure you can easily access it.
One of the best ways to make sure you stay in the know is to use an email account that you will always check. It should be more than your college email address or the one you use to collect coupons and other online deals. Associate your email account with your brand and make sure to check the messages regularly to follow renewal steps and make changes if you need to update payment information. If someone takes your domain name, it can take money or even months to get it back.
Mistake #2: Relinquishing control of website updates
Control in the wrong hands could cost you.
If you have no idea how to make updates on your website, you are in trouble. From small spelling changes to quick website announcements, a well-informed business owner should have basic training on how to make website updates. You should have your own login credentials for a content management system such as WordPress or Squarespace, and you should be able to access the website without issue. I advise strongly against having one person with login credentials (unless it is the owner).
It is absolutely acceptable to invite others into the updating process, including a skilled website designer. However, you should be the main person running the show on your website. Most designers charge a fee for changes, so choose wisely. Set boundaries early by clearly stating you have full access to your website, and that the credentials will remain the same. I have heard unfortunate stories of clients never receiving the final design project because it lives on another platform or is in a password-protected place.
Mistake #3: Assuming all CMS options are the same
CMS options aren’t cookie-cutter choices.
How many content management system (CMS) options are in the website design world? From WordPress to Squarespace to Ecwid, there are quite a few options to consider. If you haven’t done your research, you may assume they all serve the same purpose. Trust me — using the wrong content management system will be obvious to your target audience. It may also cost you time and money.
Remember, website needs differ between clients. I recommend you do your own research to confidently suggest which system works best for your needs. As a professional website designer, I’m only focused on providing the best outcome. Therefore, I have experience with different CMS options and can walk you through other suggestions. It’s my job to help you present a website that meets your goals. While on this mission, I’m saving you time — and money.
Run quickly if a website designer only works with one CMS. They may only suggest this option because of their lack of experience and give you a less-than-optimal website design. Professionals have experience across many platforms. I prefer WordPress over all others…but let’s chat about your needs.
Mistake #4: Not counting the costs of a cheap website
Saving money sometimes costs somewhere else.
As a website professional, I understand the costs of website design. To the business owner on a budget, it may seem a bit jarring when you look at estimates. Beware of cheaper prices, though. If you choose to work with someone offering low prices, understand the services you have signed up for during this business agreement. Although you may be saving money on your budget, there are other ways the wrong decision can cost your business.
If you are considering a low-cost website designer, I want you to understand the risks before you sign an agreement. Overall, I want you to understand that many of the things you assume should be handled will be skipped or not included. Remember, you get what you pay for — even in the website design business.
One of the most important things to remember about your website is your involvement is an investment. You don’t create an investment and walk away. In fact, there is regular maintenance. If you take the easy way out in the beginning, your maintenance schedule may quickly become a menace. You may also find yourself starting over from scratch after realizing your website no longer meets your needs.
Mistake #5: Paying without participating
Engage early for best results.
Designers have great skills, but they can’t do it alone. Website design is a team effort. Designers may not know the detailed needs of your customers, but you do. As a client, website designers require engagement throughout the process. The end result is a final product that pleases everyone. When everyone is happy, it won’t take long to see a return on your investment.
Before you reach out to a website designer for a consultation, do your homework. Answer questions ahead of time to give the designer the best information to create a plan for success. Also, beware of designers who do not ask questions about your business. They cannot design a website without a thorough understanding of your brand.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What problem should my website solve? (increased traffic, ease of purchase, etc.)
- Who will be using my website? (describe your ideal customer)
- How will I connect my customers to my website? (social media, ads, etc.)
- What makes my product or service different from competitors?
- What does success look like when leaving my website? (subscribe, purchase, etc.)
From discussing your brand’s mission, vision, and values to detailing goals, all of these details matter. Avoid finding someone to solely focus on the technical parts of your website. You want them to understand your business model, too.
Stay engaged during the process. Connecting with each step allows you to make adjustments along the way and catch problems before they cost you financially.
I’ve shared five mistakes people make, but you shouldn’t have the same experience. Let’s connect today to learn more about your business and what it looks like to have a website that serves your needs. My goal is to see your business grow, so I believe in giving you the tools you need to feel empowered as a business owner.
Our first step will be a 30-minute consultation to discuss your website needs. We’ll then go from there and create something special. While working together, you can expect a complimentary set of mock-ups for a website design. I’ll use the consultation conversation to guide my work. Once you give me the OK for the mock-ups, we’ll continue with the fun of bringing your vision to reality.
Are you ready to get started? Let’s connect today and schedule a time to talk about your new website design.