6 Common Bloopers Businesses Make When Hiring a Web Designer 

Illustrated drawings of computer, laptop, and mobile device.

October 27, 2021 / Updated: December 5, 2021 / Lena Shore
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If you’re looking to build a new website then you’re in the right place. 

I love helping businesses build a great website so they can attract more customers and relieve some of the tedium that comes with running your own business.

Before you jump right into building your own website, here are some of the most common and costly mistakes I’ve watched clients make over and over.

If you’re not careful, these mistakes could cost you significant time and money.

Not having a plan for your website

When you build a new website (or refresh an existing one) you should be asking yourself some questions about what you want your site to achieve. I know it’s more fun to start thinking about designing a website and how it might look, but the design should be the last thing you work on. Your content should inform your design decisions, not the other way around.

Ask yourself:

  • What do I want this new website to achieve? This could be getting more phone calls from potential customers, weeding out people who aren’t a good fit, or providing information and resources to visitors.
  • What is working for your current website? You may be getting lots of visitors or plenty of contact form submissions.
  • What isn’t working well on your current website? Items like too much spam, your site getting hacked, or you just aren’t getting a lot of visitors would be examples of this.
  • Do you have any pain points? These are things that might be solved in a redesign. Maybe you need better spam protection or a FAQ page. Perhaps creating a form that would give clients an instant estimate for your services would save you tons of time!

If you don’t know what you need to accomplish, you won’t have a good plan. If you don’t have a plan, you won’t be creating a solution for your website woes. The result is most likely going to be a redesign down the road. It’s better to design it right the first time! Or worse, you’ll have wasted your money and will need to do it all over again.

Don’t put the lipstick on your pig until you’ve researched the best color.

Not considering what will happen AFTER your site has been built

Now that you’ve built the site of your dreams, what’s next? 

I have seen a lot of clients complete their website and never look at it again. This is a huge mistake. Your site needs regular maintenance to keep it working in tip top shape. If it is abandoned it can grow stale and lose search engine ranking or something can break when you aren’t paying attention.

Ask yourself:

  • Who will be implementing weekly maintenance on your site? These are items like updating the core files and plugins.
  • If you have a blog, who will be writing articles for it? How often will you commit to posting new content?
  • How often will you review your website for ways to improve? A frequent check up on your site may reveal outdated contact information, non-existing products, or a need to create a new section. Periodically you should complete a full website review.
  • Will you need to hire someone for content creation? Or can you help if something goes wrong?

Once you have answered these questions, you’ll have a better idea of how to keep your website up-to-date and ready for visitors.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Hiring a web developer that isn’t appropriate for your needs

There are lots of people you can hire for a website build. You can hire a freelancer, an agency, or your employee’s brother’s cousin.

If you hire the wrong person for your needs (hint: it’s always the last one, and sometimes the other two), you are setting yourself up for problems down the road. I can’t count the number of clients I have gained because someone before me did not do a good job. I love getting the chance to wow my new clients with a functional website that will serve them well. But I hate that they wasted a lot of time and money along the way.

Ask yourself:

    • What level of service do you want? Do you need agency team-level help or individual-freelancer help? 
      • Agencies are more expensive because they have a team of people to work on your project, but you are sure to have all your needs covered in-house.
      • A freelancer will be less expensive but may need to pull in other people or resources to help complete your project.
      • Your employee’s brother’s cousin is most likely going to be the cheapest option up front, but is he qualified? Will he cost you more down the road? Note: I have made a lot of money off of frustrated clients over the years thanks to “that guy” doing the work first. 
      • How much work are you willing to do? Will you be providing the copy and content? Or do you need a copywriter, photographer, or a videographer? Do you know where to find those people or can your developer provide those resources?
    • What resources do you need? Can your chosen developer handle those needs?
    • What kind of services does your developer offer? Do they handle maintenance? Hosting? Copywriting? Videography? Search Engine Optimization?
    • What is your website guarantee? What happens if your site has a problem a week after it’s built? Will they fix it? At what cost?
  • Have you seen other examples of their work?
  • What happens if your website breaks in a year? Who will fix it? Will they be available to fix it?

Choosing the wrong hosting provider

Choosing the wrong host can cause you a world of problems from downtime, chronic hacking problems, losing your site, or just enduring terrible technical support.

  • If your web developer has a recommendation for hosting (or even offers hosting themselves) ask them why they like them and what the benefits are.
  • Do some research on the hosting company you choose.
  • Did you know there are different types of hosting? Choose the right kind of hosting that fits your needs.
  • Avoid any hosting provided by Endurance Group International unless you are happy with cheap hosting in exchange for terrible support, frequent downtime, and lost websites. They routinely purchase other hosting companies (many of whom you may have heard of) and outsource the technical support to inexpensive call centers. In my experience, it is not worth the price. You can look at their wikipedia page to see a partial list of subsidiaries.
  • What perks does the host company offer? Security, backups, and uptime are all things that should be considered.
  • If your site breaks, will they fix it? Most won’t if the problem isn’t their responsibility, so you’ll need a backup plan.

Choosing the wrong platform

There are many ways to build a website, both good and bad. You need to know how your website is going to be built, or at least enough to know whether it makes sense for your business or not. 

If your site is built in a way that doesn’t suit you, there could be a rude surprise down the road when you need to update or make changes to your site.

  • If your website can only be accessed by the web developer that built it, then you are marrying your web developer. Are you okay with that commitment?
  • Will it be easy for you to make your own changes after the project is complete? Or will you want a maintenance plan?
  • Did your developer build it with conventional programming? If yes, it will be easy to find a programmer to help you down the road. If not, you may find it difficult to get qualified help, or it could be expensive.
  • Is your site going to be built with proprietary software that requires you to host with them or you’ll lose your site? I always recommend builds that are portable so you aren’t stuck with a vendor you hate or a website you don’t own.
  • Can you move your site to another hosting provider if need be?

Ask lots of questions about this if you aren’t clear about how your site will be constructed.

Not considering maintenance

You should know what your ongoing maintenance fees related to your site will be. Common fees include:

  • Hosting fees
  • Theme licenses
  • Plugin licenses
  • Content creation
  • Web site updates
  • Domain name registration

Depending upon the developer you pick, some of these items may or may not be included. Get a clear understanding of what is included so you can budget accordingly.

What now?

There you go. Now you understand some of the most common costly mistakes I see when businesses are ready for a new website. 

Avoid these mistakes to save yourself time, money, and frustration.

And remember, ask questions! We don’t expect you to know everything about web development. And that’s okay. A good developer will be happy to answer all your questions to make sure you are comfortable with the project before you start.

If you would like my help developing a website of your very own, follow this link to tell me about your website needs and I will give you my suggestions for your success!