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7 Red Flags To Watch Out For When Hiring A Web Designer

By February 10, 2022 No Comments

You’re ready to grow your business and you know you need to take your website up a notch from DIY but it’s hard to know who to trust because the internet is full of people calling themselves experts because they took a quick course and made their cousin a website. 🙄

It’s hard to know who to trust out there so here are 7 Red flags to watch out for when hiring a web designer:

1. They don’t have a portfolio (or you don’t like what they have)

They should have their own website which has a portfolio section that shows off what they can do! First off, you should like the look of their website. It should communicate to you what their business is about, and how they go about it, and it should appeal to you and make you excited or hopeful. Then you should check out their portfolio of other websites they’ve worked on.

Things to notice here: these sites should all be different. If all their sites look the same then you know they’re not doing a lot of custom work, but more importantly, they likely won’t be customizing your site for your customers. Every business has it’s own customer base, and being able to connect to that customer base through the kind of content and imagery that is meaningful to them is how you make sales online. We’ve seen lots of “pretty” websites that don’t perform well. If all their sites look the same, it means they’re designing to their aesthetic and not yours.

If they don’t have any portfolio at all it means they don’t have much experience or they don’t take initiative. This one’s tricky because we all have to start somewhere. However, we’ve worked with many beginner designers and the good ones are designing model or example sites to show their abilities even before they get hired.

Bottom line: make sure you like their aesthetic and that you can see a variety of websites they’ve made.

If they’re not asking you about your customers, they’re not building a site with strategy and it will be much harder for you to make sales.

2.They don’t ask you about your customers

When you’re selling things online, your customers are your filter: always. The ability to connect with the needs or desires of your customers through content and imagery is what makes a difference between a site that’s just okay and one that’s great. Putting your customers at the front of a website build is the secret sauce that  helps you make consistent sales grow your business.

If they’re not asking you about your customers, they’re not building a site with strategy and it will be much harder for you to make sales.

3. They’re not responsive to your communication

Web Design is hugely collaborative.  In the beginning a Web Designer needs to learn a lot about your business and your customers, and your needs for your site and your concerns. Then they’re going to translate that into a tangible creation on your behalf. There are key times throughout the process where you’ll need to give your input to make sure things are coming together in a way that serves you and your customers.

If they’re not responsive in your early communications, that’s a sign that those later collaborations are going to be difficult. 


4.They don’t give you clearly defined deliverables (or a contract)

If you’re not sure exactly what the plan is, what the outcomes look like, what finished means and how long they predict it will take, then it means your version and theirs could be different. This can cause delays and be super frustrating for you, or worse, you could end up with something totally different than you thought you were getting.

Good Web Designers will be explicit with what they’re providing for you, what they require of you, and (approximately) how long it will take, and they will put it in writing for you both to sign. 


If someone tells you they’re an expert at everything, it’s a sign they’re more likely medium-good at a bunch of things. 


5.They say they specialize in everything

Ummm, no. You can’t be an expert at everything, so if someone is saying this to you, they’re likely exaggerating their abilities. If you’re looking for a jack of all trades, then maybe you’re fine here? 

However, you’d also want someone to be upfront and honest about that. If they’re exaggerating their abilities, they’re also likely to not tell you accurate things about fees or timelines. This one really gets us because so many “experts” are letting people down and producing sub-par work. If someone tells you they’re an expert at everything, it’s a sign they’re more likely medium-good at a bunch of things. 


6.They promise a lot in a short timeframe


7.They say they can do it fast and cheap

Let’s tackle these two together. I’m betting you’ve been in a FB group or an online forum where you ask a question and 35 people jump into the comments or your DMs about how they can solve your issue for a super cheap price and have it done for you right away.

Okay, maybe there are some geniuses out there with a lot of time on their hands, but I just want to remind you that everything on your website needs to be passed through the strategy filter of your customers. Strategy usually takes a bit of time as does customizing certain solutions. One thing that also takes time that no one talks about is this:

after someone has solved an issue or problem for you on your website, you likely need to be walked through your custom solution so you feel confident it won’t happen again, and you know how to confidently move forward with your new tools. Quick & dirty solutions are often bandaids and can cause other future issues.

Same thing if someone is offering you something like a website in a day… It is true that a pretty website can be built quickly from a template, but just understand what you’re getting and not getting. If you just need to quickly show up online, that might be a good way to go. But if you’re wanting to sell things online, you’ll need more time for strategy, content, tweaks and… quality. 

You don’t have time or money to waste on shenanigans, so watch out for these red flags and find someone with wisdom & competence, who listens and isn’t hasty.