About a year ago I was talking with a business acquaintance, he had recently hired a web designer to create a web site for his business. He didn’t want anything fancy, just a brochure site with a blog. The web designer was charging him some thing like $2500. Which seems a bit high but he didn’t tell me the exact details about the design, training, etc. He did tell me that the web designer promised him at least one new client a month and thousands of page hits a month. The web designer promised all this by just having a website up, no SEO or advertising. This sent up red flags but he had already committed and paid the web designer. I had a feeling the next time I saw him he would say to me “My web designer promised but didn’t deliver…”

A few weeks ago I ran into this business acquaintance. He had been burned by the so called web designer. He didn’t tell me much but he told me enough. It took 6 months to get the web site up. Content was missing and there were problems with the site. Part of the blog was broken and the site looked awful in Internet Explorer. Traffic was very light, barely 200 page views a month. No new clients. In fact not even a single email or comment on his blog. He had only recently gotten the missing content in and the blog fixed but not by the original web designer.

My Web Designer Promised But Didn't DeliverThis business acquaintance learned a valuable lesson that I hope all of you will learn from this post and not from experience.

  1. NO ONE can guarantee traffic, new clients, purchases, etc by just having a web site or by doing SEO. Yes you will probably get traffic if you do some SEO but the amount of traffic can’t be guaranteed.
  2. Sign a contract and have it detail out exactly what you are responsible for and what the web company is responsible for.
  3. Do your research on the web company. Ask for references, then contact them. Ask questions like:
    1. If you had to create a new website would you go with this web company again?
    2. What would you change about the experience?
    3. Are they responsive when emailed/called?
  4. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  5. Get several quotes or at least pass the quote by someone who won’t be bias.

On the flip as a customer, you have to be realistic. If you are paying some one $300 for a web site, don’t expect much. If you are paying $2500 for a 7 page brochure site with a blog. Then yeah, you should expect a good solid web site.

What can you do if a web designer doesn’t deliver on what they promised?

  • First thing, be reasonable, talk to the web designer to see if the issues can be fixed. Hopefully this will set things straight.
  • If you signed a solid contract then you will probably be seeing that web designer in small claims court.
  • Don’t pay in full instead pay a deposit then set s schedule. There should be a schedule for doing the site any way so payment should follow that schedule.
  • Don’t give up control of your domain name, at least not to someone you don’t trust.

It is always disappointing to hear horror stories about people getting burned by so called web designers. There are so many awesome web people out there that do it right but more often then not I hear about the people who are doing it wrong. The problem is creating a web site is easy to do. But that doesn’t mean the person doing it is a professional or knows what they are doing.

My question to you this week is what has a web designer promised you but didn’t deliver on?