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Fire your Web designer: 5 reasons why

November 5, 2009

XKCD-GEOCITIES

Let’s face it: Your Web page sucks.

I’m pretty sure most of you are nodding your heads in agreement. Somewhere along the line, you or your company needed a site. Or thought you did.

Instead, you got a crappy Web site.

The time has come: Fire your Web designer.

As a professional, he should’ve assessed your needs, not sold you a one-size-fits-all barely customized site. He should’ve handed off the work to someone else if he couldn’t do what you needed: e-commerce, easy updates, better navigation, better SEO.

What are some signs you need to fire your Web designer?

1. You’ve needed to update information any time in the last 2 weeks. And you can’t. Let’s face it: Office hours change. Staff members come and go. Simple fixes and potentially profitable widgets aren’t being made because you’re locked out of your own site.

Would you let someone else control your ability to get into your own building? No way.

2. Your Web person is never available. If you hired someone to not only design the site, but also perform routine maintenance, why isn’t he returning your calls and e-mails? Is he too busy screwing up someone else’s site?

Maybe you don’t need to become the Web guru, because you need to spend your time with other more important business activities. So if your Web person isn’t doing it, then it’s not getting done. Unacceptable.

3. You know you need specific features. The tools in the digital age are always evolving. A year ago, you might not even have heard of Twitter. Now, it might be important to get your brand’s tweets and “Follow Me” badge on the front page of your site. Or you need a better spam comment filter on your blog. Or an integrated Google Maps feature that allows customers to find the locations nearest to them.

Or even a simpler interface so your marketing staff can add new information about upcoming sales and product launches. But your site is stuck in 2006. Oh well, your competitors will be happy to pick up the slack.

4. Your Web designer doesn’t have the skills. Would you ever let a surgeon work on your kidneys if her specialty was feet? So why would you let someone without the proper skills tinker with one of your most visible business assets? Not every Web designer can do everything. But you can find the right one who can do the things you need him to do.

5. Your Web designer doesn’t have the creativity. He should be proactive, not reactive. It’s fine for you to have a well-defined plan for your online presence. But your Web designer should be able to suggest ideas and tools that fit your business best. Or show you the things you don’t need, as buzzworthy as they may be. But if all he does is build what you say, no questions asked, he may not be helping you where you most need it: developing a Web site that grows your business around the clock.

Set your problematic Web designer free. And this time, shop around for one who comes with good recommendations, a good portfolio and a good attitude.

Let’s hear from you: What are some warning signs it’s time to fire your Web designer? And how can you find the right one?

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. November 6, 2009 2:12 pm

    6. You hired him because he was cheap, but good with computers
    Good web sites aren’t free!

    7. Dresses like the Flash
    You know, unless your audience is the comic-con group. Then, you’re probably okay. But if your developer can’t present himself appropriately in a business meeting, then why would you put him in charge of your company’s brand online?

    8. Doesn’t speak your language
    It’s fine to hire someone from Moscow (Idaho or Russia) to design your site, but if the only language he speaks is code then that might be the only thing he understands. He needs to understand your business and your clients and speak your language.

    • November 6, 2009 2:18 pm

      All great points. You want a professional Web site? Hire a professional.

  2. dogingham permalink
    November 6, 2009 2:44 pm

    Thanks for this post today Wade. Informative!

    • November 6, 2009 9:03 pm

      You’re welcome! Hope you never run into these problems.

  3. November 6, 2009 3:05 pm

    9. Because this stuff isn’t rocket science anymore.

    Not to say that you OUGHT to spend the time in the learning curve to do it yourself, but the pool of people who CAN do what you need is much larger, and the rates more competitive.

    Unless you have stellar service that you can’t live without, then it’s time to open things up and start comparison shopping. Your site is NOT a hostage, unless you believe it is.

  4. November 6, 2009 3:56 pm

    10. The web designer was recommended by your friend who said that her/his nephew was a great webmaster!

    Webmaster! Ha!

  5. November 6, 2009 9:04 pm

    Ike and Josh,

    Great additions to the list. I may do a post where everyone recommends their fave designer, with links to their work.

    Signed,

    Wade the Webmaster

  6. Jeremy permalink
    November 8, 2009 1:01 pm

    You can get a excellent site at a reasonable price using a wordpress template. Clients generally underestimate the amount of time it takes to go from a professional design to award winning. The ROI for being on the bleeding edge is not large. Concentrate on your content. If you are a small buisness start from a wordpress template. Don’t expect your web designer to reinvent the wheel on your shoestring budget.

    • November 8, 2009 5:16 pm

      Jeremy, I’d be happy if clients went from “suck” to “average” on their sites. Many of them don’t realize that WordPress would allow them to have a site that does everything they need for a reasonable cost. They just don’t know the options out there.

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