6 Things You Should Never say to a Web Designer

Happy New Year everyone.  I’m starting my year with a tongue in cheek blog post (well kind of serious too)!  I was inspired to write it after a client sent me an email on New Year’s Day at 8pm saying that her email wasn’t working.  I was going to be out of the office the next day and having a working email is absolutely vital to a business, so I wanted to make sure that it was up and running again.  It’s unusual for an email not to work once it’s been set up, so it was a bit of a mystery.  To cut a long story short, I worked from 9-11pm on New Years Day sorting this out, trying to figure out what on earth was wrong.  It turns out that she had changed a setting on her domain’s email and that had caused all the problems.  It’s not a setting I’d normally check, as settings don’t change themselves, so it didn’t even cross my mind that this might be the problem.  If she’d told me she’d changed it, it would have been a 2 minute job and I’d have been able to watch the end of a film with my (not very happy that I’m working on New Years Day) husband.  Moral of the story – if you change something and things stop working, let your web designer know what you’ve changed.

1. How much does a website cost?

Asking “how much does a website cost?” is a bit like asking how long a piece of string is.  A website could start around the £150 mark and go up to tens of thousands.  Before an accurate quote can be given, a designer/developer needs to know what the website is for, how many pages are needed, if it’s an e-commerce site, if they have a domain, what the content is going to be etc etc.  And don’t think that because a website looks simple that it’s going to be a cheap one.  A website with a few pages of custom coding could cost more than a simple larger site.  I always offer fixed price web design, so you know in advance how much your website will cost.  If extra functions are needed then these will be quoted in the price.
To use an analogy, would you ask a painter and decorator “how much is it paint a house?”  Without knowing the specifics it’s impossible to give an answer.  The painter and decorator needs to know how many rooms he’s painting, how many coats of paint, what type of paint, how big the rooms are etc.  Only when he has all the details can he give a quote.

So, if you’re ever tempted to ask “how much does a website cost”, make sure that you have all the information about your website to hand.  That way, your developer will be able to give you an accurate quote.

2. Can you guarantee that my website will be on page 1 of Google?

The short answer is no.  Nobody can guarantee that.  Anybody who does guarantee that is most likely doing what is called “black hat SEO”.  They may get you to page 1 of Google but you risk your website being blacklisted.  It happens.  A lot.

The long answer is that SEO takes time and – unless you have deep pockets – effort on your part.  Just think about it.  Every single one of your competitors are also trying to get to page 1 of Google.  I’m not saying that it’s not possible, because it is.  Some of my own clients have got to page 1 of Google very easily, simply because of the on site SEO that I do as standard, and because of the niches that they work in.  However, for most websites, extra work will be required.  Unfortunately, websites cannot miraculously appear on page 1 of search engines without some work being putting the SEO.

3. It’s only a quick thing, can’t you do it for free?

In my book, expecting somebody to work for free isn’t really acceptable.  This includes companies who expect their staff to stay late or start early without paying them extra.  You don’t want to work for free, so please don’t expect your web designer to do so.

If one of my clients asks me tweak something that only takes me a couple of minutes, then I gladly do this for them without any charge.  However if somebody is regularly asking for “little tweaks” then all those minutes soon add up to hours.

Be considerate.  Don’t ask your web designer to work for nothing.  We too have families to feed and mortgages to pay.


4. My email/website isn’t working.  I haven’t changed anything

OK, so you can absolutely say this.  But only if you haven’t changed anything.  Settings do not change themselves. Yes, sometimes servers can go down, but if the server is down I can guarantee that your designer will already know about it, because their own website or email will be down.  If it’s just you, then the chances are that it’s something that you have done.  Not deliberately of course.  We know that you’re trying to break your website/email on purpose.  However if you tell us that “I haven’t changed anything and it was working perfectly before” then it takes us much longer to find out what the problem is.

Recent examples include:

“my email has stopped working” – it was because the client had changed a setting.  That’s fine, but had I known that I could have resolved the problem in 2 minutes instead of an hour.

“my website isn’t working” – again the client had changed a setting without understanding what the setting did.  Of course the site wasn’t working!

We web designers are a forgiving bunch and I actively encourage my own clients to update their own website if they feel confident in doing so.  However, pleeeeeeeease don’t say “it was working fine, I didn’t do anything”.  We know it’s not true most of the time and it makes resolving the issue much harder for us.

5. I can get it done in India for half the price

Then please do! I won’t mention all the clients who have come to me after getting their websites designed “cheaply” in Asia and the myriad of problems they’ve had and all the extra money they ended up spending by getting things fixed, redesigned and in one case malware removed…

6. Web Design is easy.  I can do it myself on Wix/Weebly/Squarespace etc etc

Then please do!  If it’s so easy why have you contacted a designer?  I won’t mention all the clients who have come to me after spending months trying to create their own site and figure out SEO only to discover that the site builder doesn’t have the functionality to do what they need and they can’t quite figure things out and their site has been live for 12 months and Google isn’t even seeing it…

Wishing everyone a very happy, stress-free, healthy and prosperous New Year.  If you’re planning on getting a new website designed this year then use these points to guide you and I can guarantee that it will make the process stress free for both you and your designer.

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