Don’t be ripped off by a bad web designer

Wherever there are businesses, dozens of web designers will be fighting to win them as clients. Unfortunately, way too many business owners sink a lot of hard-earned capital into what turns out to be series of bad ideas—executed badly.

So, exactly how does a business owner get online without getting burned? To answer that question, we need to examine the industry.

To begin with, anyone can call him or herself a web designer. There are plenty of educational opportunities—colleges, certifications, online study… …you name it. However, most web designers teach themselves and quickly succumb to their own bad ideas.

It’s easy to be taken in by a web designer who uses all the right words, and confidently explains how their design is your ticket to online abundance. Sadly, their path down the information superhighway way too often turns out to be a World Wide Waste.

Your first line of defense should be developing an understanding of the Internet landscape and how various elements fit together. You don’t have to be a web designer to know the kind of online experience your customers expect. Mostly they want information, and they want it right now.

So, give it to them—right now. Web designers love to design. As a result it’s easy for them to put their priorities ahead of yours. They’ll propose all sorts of things that seem really cool, but come at the expense of page speed. Recent data shows that users will give you 2.6 seconds to decide whether or not they like your page. If that page takes more than 2.6 seconds just to load…

The best way to illustrate that is to experience it…

We’ve all experienced award winning websites that are miserably slow to load. The designer and the owner of the business are no doubt very proud of the online spectacle that’s been created. Everybody loves it…

…Except customers. They simply give up and move on to a competitor’s website that’s less frustrating.

The designer missed the mark because the designer’s priorities were given preference over the needs of the customer. It happens all the time.
Often, the designer simply has weak skills or obsolete ideas. A good web designer won’t ask you to live with website “quirks.” Everything should work exactly as you or your visitors expect. The entire user experience—as a customer as well as site administrator—should be natural, obvious and error-free.

Web technology moves fast. It is easy for a web designer to become out of step with the latest standards and best practices. This is particularly true with online search, or SEO. Many methods that were standard practice two or three years ago, can get your website de-indexed today. “De-indexed” basically means getting kicked off the Internet.

Spend some time researching current sources, including Google’s own documentation, to learn about SEO. You’ll not only feel empowered, but will likely learn many so called experts aren’t experts at all.

Most web designers have a poor understanding of business fundamentals. For this reason, the best “web designer” is usually a web agency with experts in consumer behavior, product positioning, conversion path optimization, engineering, security, and other critical business areas.

Web design doesn’t have to be expensive. It just has to be right. Your business and your sanity depend on it.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call or drop us a note.