1. The price is under $1,000

If your website is costing you less than $1,000 bucks, then chances are your web designer is terrible and your website will be terrible too. We all wish we could spend $1,000 dollars and make millions, but if it were that easy everyone would do it.

Stop being cheap, because, you get what you pay for. You could easily buy a car for $1,000 bucks but again, you get what you pay for. If you still think your website should be under $1,000 bucks, eventually you will come crawling back to the web designer that was too expensive. Only now you’ll have to pay for a good web designer + the costs of your really cheap web designer.

Common Question:  How much does it cost to build a website?

My common answer:  Well, how much does it cost to build a house?  It depends on what you want.  Just remember that it isn’t really that much cheaper to build a 3 bedroom house as it is a 6 bedroom house.  It still needs the foundation, the plumbing, electrical, etc.  Same with websites.  You still need the whole structure built, no matter how many pages you want.


  1. You found them on Craigslist

I advertised for business on Craigslist about 6 or 7 years ago when I was still a terrible web designer. From my experience, I learned that Craigslist is where cheap people can find other cheap people. Of course, every rule has its exceptions and I do occasionally post on Craigslist’s job board to see what’s out there but very rarely do I get the quality I’m looking for.

So, if you found your web designer on Craigslist you’re probably also breaking rule #1, by being cheap.


  1. No weekly call during the website build process

Momentum is the energy and excitement that every new website project starts off with. It’s critical to maintain momentum throughout the course of a web design project. The second your web designer loses regular contact is the second you lose the project’s momentum. Your web designer should be in contact with you at least once a week.


  1. No copywriting solution

Creating content for your new website is the biggest challenge every client faces. It’s also the #1 cause for delays. A good web designer will be prepared with a solution and warn you about this at the kickoff meeting.


  1. Your web designer’s #1 goal is creativity

Creativity should not be the #1 goal for your website. In a survey by Hub Spot, 76% of users said that the most important factor in the design of a website is that “The website makes it easy for me to find what I want.” Only 10% of users said, “beautiful appearance” was the most important thing to them. Organization of content was their number #1 concern for websites, not creativity. The more organized your content is the longer users will stay. The longer users stay, the more likely they will buy. So, make sure your web designer’s priorities are correct.


  1. Your web designer is related to you

“Never hire anyone you can’t fire.” You should know better than to hire a relative to work for you in the first place, let alone build your website.

However, if you do decide to hire a family member to build your website, they will probably give you an “unbelievable” discount. If they’re a pro, that’s great news; however, the bad news is that the project eventually won’t be worth their time, and you will eventually end up on the back burner.


  1. Your web designer is YOU!

Peep author at conversion xl says, “If you designed your website yourself and you’re not a designer, it sucks”.  It takes years of experience to perfect what we do. You can’t learn this trade in a few hours.


  1. You built it using a web tool

Anyone can learn how to use a cheap web design tool in an hour or so but you can’t learn what a good web designer has learned with years of experience. In other words, learning how to use a website builder won’t teach you how to design a website that will get targeted traffic, conversions, and sales.

In addition, just because you learned how to use Photoshop doesn’t mean you’re a good web designer. I’ve received so many resumes from people who know the Adobe Suite like the back of their hand, but their work sucks. Again, it takes years of experience to not be a terrible web designer.


  1. They don’t ask enough questions

Your web designer should ask you lots of questions, especially before they start working on your project. They should ask everything about your 3C’s (Company, Competitors, and Clients). Questions should start during the initial sales meetings and kickoff meetings, and then continue throughout the strategy phase of your project. No question is a RED FLAG and the sign of a terrible web designer.

    8 sample questions:

  1. What are your primary and secondary goals for your website?
  2. Who and where is your target audience (local, national, global)?
  3. Describe your typical client.
  4. Who are your online and offline competitors?
  5. Are you doing any marketing offline?
  6. Do you have brand guidelines?
  7. Do you have a content writer?
  8. What will you provide? (photos, videos, images, brochures)


  1. No architecture strategy

Before you start building a house, you hire an architect to make blueprints. Custom web design is very similar to building a house. Before designing any pages, your web designer should map out (blueprint) each page of your website and get your approval before designing and developing.


  1. They have too many clients

I used to be guilty of this a lot. I had way too many clients and I could not focus properly on any of them. Therefore, they all suffered. I would jump back and forth on different projects, while ignoring others. It was horrible and stressful. Projects were constantly late and clients were not happy.


  1. No scope of work

A wise man in project management for 20+ years once told me that 80% of the problems that occur during a project occur because of a poor scope of work. A good scope of work details all work to be performed and delivered. It is critical that both parties agree to the scope of work before the project is executed.


  1. No conversion strategy

Has your web designer helped you define what your primary and secondary conversions are? A conversion can be a phone call, email sign-up, contact form, e-commerce purchase, or a button is clicked. Your web designer should help you define what your conversions are.

Primary conversions are actual sales made on the site or inquiries for sales discussions through a contact form. Secondary conversions are typical forms that capture emails. Your web designer should ask how you want to be contacted and how clients typically prefer contacting you. After all, this is why you built your website.


  1. Your designer is from your IT department

I blame clients and web designers for this one. Nothing is more frustrating than someone in IT calling our agency to inquire about a new website. Shouldn’t someone in marketing be calling us? I will never understand why companies associate IT departments with web design.  “Website design is marketing”, not IT.


  1. No SEO strategy

Let’s say you wanted to open a new store that required lots of foot traffic. Would you let your real estate agent sell you a very nice storefront without knowing or telling you anything about the neighborhood? Me either. In other words, if your web designer doesn’t do SEO, they are terrible.


  1. No CMS

I can’t think of any good reasons why your web developer wouldn’t build your website on a CMS (content management system). A good CMS like WordPress is built on a framework that has prebuilt functionality saving you time and money.


  1. Your designer is in a different country

Yes, they speak English, and yes they are cheaper but if you don’t understand how to properly vet designers and developers in other countries you will most likely find a terrible web designer who doesn’t do any of the items above, giving you a very frustrating experience.