What to do if you’re unhappy with your web designer

Whether your business is big or small, just starting out, long-established, local or global, in this digital age, your website will inevitably be a crucial part of it.  So, what do you do when your relationship with your web designer turns sour?

Whether your business is big or small, just starting out or long-established, local or global, in this digital age, your website will inevitably be a crucial part of it. From increasing exposure, to cementing a brand identity, a good – or bad – website may be the key to enhancing or hindering your business and behind all this is a web designer. Ideally, the relationship between you and your web designer should be like a marriage – an enduring and harmonious give-and-take, made up of clear communication – yet, as we know, it is not uncommon for even the happiest of matrimonies to have their hiccups. It is for this reason that we have developed a four-step guide to help you out.


Step 1: Why you may be unhappy with your web designer

An important first stage in sorting out your concerns is to analyse exactly what it is that is causing them. Perhaps you are hoping to talk to your web designers and get them to sort out the issues, or perhaps you have already made up your mind to switch to someone else. Either way, it is always imperative to have a clear outline of the issues you have so that your current, or new web designer can try to fix them. Here are some of the most common complaints:


  1. Hard to get a hold of: All too often, we hear stories of clients trying to get in touch with their web designer but to no avail. If the issue is urgent or time-sensitive, this can have a huge impact on a business. Remember that just because your website is up and running does not mean that the designer’s job is done. They have a responsibility to help you if you need it.
  2. Performance issues: Are you unhappy with the way your website is ranking in online searches? Or, maybe, you are getting a lot of traffic but very little is turning into business.
  3. They don’t listen: Your business is your business. Your brand is your brand. Websites are not one size fits all, so your web designer needs to be able to take your ideas on board and incorporate them into the final design. Having said this, it is important to give the designer lots of information to work with so that they can convey your vision as accurately as possible. One of our clients is The City Mental Health Alliance (CMHA) who works with senior leaders of large financial, legal and professional businesses in London. Their previous website did not reflect the level of work they were providing or the professional nature of their company. We worked with them to build a new website that did.
  4. They’re not flexible: So, your website is looking great, but you have a new picture that needs to be added. Your web designer should be able to do this for you as soon as possible or, better still, give you the ability to add it yourself. If it feels like a battle every time you need something added or taken off your website, you are going to have issues. When working with the CMHA, we used a system that allowed them to login at any time to update or refine their site.
  5. Lack of transparency: As with all businesses, your web designer should give you a clear understanding of the cost and timescale of the project. Most clients understand that good things take time (and money) but will become quickly annoyed when deadlines are pushed back, and prices driven up. Again, a good web designer should be keeping you updated on any progress or issues that occur so they do not become a problem.


Step 2: Communication is key

The next key step is to inform your web designer of how you feel and what your issues are. It’s hard to admit, but sometimes, a client isn’t clear about what they want or may even miss a vital piece of information out. If you come to your web designer with a clear idea of what you want to be changed, they should be willing to listen to your concerns and take them on board. Try to communicate with them to ensure that you maintain a good working relationship. If not, it may be time to start the search for a new one.

Step 3: What are you looking for in your website?

So, you’re trying to find a new web designer, but before you do, it is essential to consider what you want. Here are some key factors that may influence who you end up choosing:


  1. Are you mostly online? I know that in this day and age nearly everyone is online but for some, an online presence is more crucial than for others. For example, if you take bookings, orders or sign up most of your new clients online, rather than through word of mouth, you’ll want a web designer who knows how to maximize SEO and has a strong e-commerce background.
  2. Do you want to have control? Many businesses want to be able to update their websites themselves, by adding pictures, blogs and announcements. If this is you, then you’ll need to know that your designer is using a content management system that you have access to and that is easy to use.
  3. Does your business evolve rapidly? Yes? Well, good for you. However, if it does, a smaller agency may not be able to keep up with you. If you know that you’re going to have to be making changes to your website, it is a good idea to start a relationship with a designer who has a large team and will be able to dedicate a lot of resources to you.
  4. Do you mostly operate locally? If so, we recommend opting for a web designer that is also local as they will have a better understanding of your local market, who the clients are and what demographic they need to tailor the site towards.

Step 4: Finding the perfect web designer  

By now, you should have a good idea of what you’re looking for in a web designer but how do you find one? Recommendations are definitely a good place to start; they’ll give you some names to work with. Once you have some, check out their websites but please don’t be fooled by nice-looking sites. A good portfolio is one thing, but it gives no indication as to whether or not these websites deliver on key business objectives.

Instead, try and find some testimonials or get in touch with real businesses that have worked with a designer and see what they have to say. Whilst doing so, try and be vigilant in finding out the types of businesses a web designer has worked for and try to see if any are similar to yours. Did these clients say that their business objectives were met and what was their return on investment?

Next, organise an initial remote meeting to see if they understand your business and have a plan of how they will capture its essence.

Finally, do you get along? Remember that you are potentially getting yourself into a long-term relationship that will be an integral part of your business. It's important this is someone you have confidence in, and can have honest, robust conversations with to work collaboratively to deliver the best results.

If you are thinking of working with a web design team on a new project, give us a call for a friendly, no obligation, chat on 01892 534 044.