In this day and age, bad website designers run rampant on the internet.
There’s bad website design, cheap website design, fast website design, and everything in between.
But you don’t want that for your business!
As we’ve said many times before on the blog, the importance of your website can’t be overstated.
With your website often being your number one sales tool, you don’t want to end up working with someone that’s only looking out for themselves.
We’ve mentioned it a few times, but the best design (including website design) comes from building a great partnership between yourself and your design agency.
So, if you want to avoid a costly, bad website design, then these are the 7 types of website designer to avoid.
The DIY Software Abuser
The DIY Software Abuser might be my favourite type of website designer.
You’ll know the one. You’ll have met the Software Abuser at a local networking meeting.
They often say things like “Well, I just built my website on Wix, because it was cheap and easy! I’ll do yours too if you like. I just love building websites!” and so on, and so on.
But there real job is actually running a doggy day care centre.
Calm down Pamela, we know the whole internet thing is quite new to you. If you want to run your doggy day care centre off of Wix, or worse, Moonfruit, then godspeed!
But leave other people alone! They don’t want you to build them a shitty Wix website.
Now, there’s quite a lot of “do it yourself” website software out there. That list includes:
The list could go on forever and ever. And to be honest, the perils of these software solutions are probably best left for another post. (We’ve now written this post, right here!)
But, if you’re looking to hire a website designer, and they just using one of the solutions above, run.
Run fast. And don’t look back.
Then, prepare your website design brief using this post as a guide, and hand it over to respected web design agency.
The WordPress Theme Installer
Second in my “rip-off list” is people that “build WordPress websites.”
Now, at Canny, we actually build WordPress websites. You know, with wireframes, designs, and professionally written custom code.
The right way to build WordPress websites.
What I’m talking about here is the people that pop over to a WordPress theme website, buy a theme, download it and install it.
That’s not job done. And it’s not how you build a professional website.
Sure, the website will look good, because most premium WordPress themes do look good.
But it’s not yours.
Or, more accurately. It is yours, but it is also 5000 other people’s. Because when your website designer buys a theme from Themeforest or similar, they’re buying and giving you something that lots of other people already have.
Worse than that, sometimes the The WordPress Theme Installer will buy a theme once, then install it for multiple clients.
Not only is that really bad practice, it’s also highly illegal. Essentially, it’s copyright theft.
We have an article about the problem with using pre-made WordPress themes that you should check out.
But in a nutshell:
- They’re not unique, or specific to your business
- They can be difficult to customise (even for professionals)
- They contain a lot of bloat that will slow your website down
And in all honesty, it takes around 30 minutes to install WordPress, select a theme, install it, and set up the basic pages.
So if you’re paying someone multiple thousands, they’re ripping you off.
Again, there’s a right way and a wrong way to build WordPress websites, but installing somebody else’s template isn’t the right way to do it!
The “I Built My Own CMS” Idiot
This one is another personal favourite of mine.
If you’re not sure what a CMS, it stands for Content Management System. Tools like WordPress, ModX, Drupal, Joomla, or Perch, are considered a CMS.
A CMS is used to, you guessed it, help the user manage their website content.
WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world. It actually powers over 31% of all websites online, with a 59.9% share of the CMS market.
So why would anyone build their own CMS?
Because they’re an idiot.
Here’s the deal:
With platforms like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal etc… they all have their own communities and infrastructure.
WordPress is “open source” meaning it’s free for anyone to download and use. Therefore, people have a lot of questions, and as such, there’s a thriving community around the product.
Also, because it’s the world’s biggest system, security is great, updates happen automatically, and the whole user experience is smooth.
On top of that:
Because of it’s popularity, there’s an array of design agencies that use WordPress.
Therefore, should you fall out with one agency, or they go AWOL, you can always take your website contract elsewhere.
Compare this to the person that’s built their own Content Management System.
First things first:
If they die. So does your website. Because nobody else knows how to use their strange website ecosystem!
If you fall out with them, boom, your website needs built again. Because chances are, they’re hosting it, and it won’t migrate easily.
Thirdly, it ties you into them.
With WordPress, you can get help from almost all corners of the internet.
With Crazy Bob’s CMS, you can literally only get help from, well… Crazy Bob.
You don’t need a custom built CMS. And if you do, you’ll probably have better luck running it off the back of one of the popular platforms anyway.
The “I Built My Own CMS” Idiot might sound super technical. And his offering will sound great.
His CMS won’t do more than a CMS like WordPress. It probably won’t even come close.
A small team coding a tiny CMS is highly unlikely to be able to create as many great features as the team behind WordPress.
Don’t do it. Leave Crazy Bob to get freaky on his own. And move on. This guy is definitely a robber!
The “5 Page Special” Offerer
This one pops up all over the place.
How many times have you been online and seen the adverts?
“We’ll create you a 5 page website for only £79.” Yeah, sure you will.
There are a number of problems with the Special Offer Website Designer.
The first being:
With the invention and growing popularity of CMS systems as mentioned above, it’s easier than ever to add new pages to a website.
5 pages just isn’t enough to do any business justice.
The third issue is that 90% of things that should come as standard, just don’t.
With this type of “special website design offer” they’ll often charge you extra to integrate contact forms, or Google Analytics, or other basic features.
Also, if you think about it, a low price tag like £79 is really only enough to pay someone around 8 hours of the UK national minimum wage.
And it they’re spending the time to learn about your business, design, and then build your website, they need a lot more than 8 hours!
The “5 Page Special Offerer” might sound good at the outset, but trust me, a good website should cost a lot more than £79.
The “I”m Only The Designer” Designer
Oh, this one’s a fun one. Unless you’re on the receiving end of it.
This is how the story unfolds here:
You contact a website designer, talk through your needs, they give you a proposal, you agree, and you’re off to the races.
A month or so goes by and you receive a call from your web designer.
“Your website is ready!”
You’re thinking to yourself “That was quick! I’m really impressed.”
You open the email, expecting to click a link to your brand new website, but your met with a ZIP file.
You download it and open it, and it’s a file full of JPEGs or PDFs.
Your look through them, thinking they look great, you let your website designer know.
“These look great, can’t wait to see the finished site!”
Before you know it, you receive an email back:
“We’re only designing the site! We won’t be building it. You’ll need to hire someone else to do that.”
As disappointment sets in, you begin to realise just how out of pocket you are, as you now need to pay to have the site built.
Now, with the right communication, this can all be avoided.
But, there are people that are “just web designers” out there that are more than happy to catch you out like this.
There’s nothing wrong with getting a “design only” service – just as long as you’re aware that’s what you’re paying for.
Be aware, and make sure your contract includes everything you thought it did!
The “Know It All” Idiot
Nobody likes a know it all. Talking to them is like banging your head off a brick wall.
And in the website world, because of a general lack of client knowledge, they tend to run rampant!
Traits of the “Know It All” Idiot include:
- Not listening to a word you say.
- Not asking about your business or the problems you’re facing.
- Insisting they do things their way, even though you’ve asked them to do something different.
The list goes on.
When you’re paying for professional services such as branding and website design, you expect your designer to have a certain level of input.
And for the most part, they do know best, especially when it comes to building websites.
If they tell you to do something because it’ll help increase conversions, they’ve probably built something similar and seen it work before.
That’s input you should expect.
However, if your brand colours are blue and pink, and they insist your website should be red and green for no reason, you should be questioning their logic.
If they go off, and build you a red and green website anyway. Fire their ass!
That’s a pretty extreme example, but be on the lookout for the “Know It All” Idiot!
If your designer isn’t trying to learn about your business or brand, and insist on doing things their way, that’s a sure sign of the relationship breaking down!
The Big Professional Design Agency
You might be thinking “hang on Tony, you run a design agency. Why on earth are you putting design agencies on the list of robbers?”
Let me explain:
There’s a difference between smaller boutique agencies, who value each of their clients, no matter the size.
And then, huge city centre based design agencies that take on massive corporate clients, but also take smaller projects “for fun” or “to pay the bills.”
When you approach a design agency, you want to be sure they’re going to value your business and the money you spend with them.
When you go to some of the larger agencies, you’ll just be a number on a list.
Follow this guide to help you find the best web designers near you.
And that’s no way to work together!
On top of that, hiring huge agencies that hang bike on their walls, have a city centre studio bigger than your house, and have 7000 bearded, checky shirt, AirPod wearing Designers working there, means you’ll be paying through the nose for your website.
After all, who else is going to pay for all of their craft beer?
All jokes aside, big agencies come with big price tags.
Make sure you’re aware of what you’re getting into before contracting a massive agency to build your website!
Conclusion: The 7 Types of Bad Website Designer Robbing You Blind
And that’s the list.
Your website design is a huge piece of your marketing puzzle. You don’t want to put it in the hands of an amateur!
With your website being your business’ 24/7 shop window, it’s critical that it works in your favour.
Nobody is going to stick around on a poorly designed, barely functioning website.
If you’re looking for a new website, make sure you put in the hands of professionals. Sure, it might cost more to start with, but it’ll make you more in the long run.
Have you had any experiences with bad website designers? What did you do about it? Let me know in the comments below!
reading time: 11 minutes