After many years of doing my own website (5 various ones total in the past 19 years with never a problem), I decided to get some help due to my lack of time to invest. I hired someone that was supposed to be good, or so he claimed. If I had shown this type of disappointing workmanship to any of my clients, I'd expect I'd be sent packing as well. I am very sorry to have lost my deposit of $1k, now I am gun shy about using anyone else and feel I'll just have to learn the Wordpress system on my own. I'm sure we all have those in our chosen career fields that just don't belong doing it. Signed, Quite Disillusioned
Solved! Go to Solution.
You shouldn't be convinced that some one could design your website the way you want it, or expect it to be. That's why I will not design a website for the client with out their input on what they want or expect. I think the client needs to design it and then allow the developer to do the work based on the clients design expectations. The client needs his/her own materials as in content as well. Web Developers are usually not graphic artist or vice versa.
Gail I hope you the best
let me know if you need some help, I have experience with WordPress.
P.S WordPress is almost at 5.0 and if your not using Gutenberg yet, its going to be even more a learning curve.
Sorry you didn't have all the facts...I did supply over 180 photos, layouts, page designs, listings of various websites that appealed to me and much more. So, I DID do my homework, but there's a lot more to be said about what was done poorly and missed the marks and needs entirely. I am used to delegating, and not a control freak by any means, that's why I trusted this guy. My original question here and the response i was after from folks is what they would do, in general, to convince a potential client that they could indeed, provide a well designed, and workable, site suited to that client's products and services.
Sorry to hear that you had such a poor experience with a developer that you hired! It happens. I work with a lot of our GoDaddy Pro customers (people who design, build and maintain websites for a living). They all tell me that they do a thorough upfront consultation with a potential client to understand the client's needs before every taking on a project. And then when they do take on a project, sometimes the client comes up with out of scope requests and the project grows in size.
I'm sure you did this but see if you can get referrals from previous clients of a potential developer that you might be interested in working with. I think it's important to have a potential developer show previous projects that they've created so you get a feel for their capabilities.
@RachelM, thanks for bringing me into this conversation.
@TalkwithGail, sorry you had a miserable experience. Sounds like you did a lot of the right things and still had issues. Here are a few thoughts...
1. I spend a good hour to an hour-and-a-half on the phone with potential clients in an initial conversation, to make sure we're a good fit before we even start talking about a proposal. They get a chance to know me (and vice versa), I get to understand their history, previous experiences with a web pro, objectives, and so on. If we both think it's a good fit to start, then we talk about a proposal. But if it's not a good fit, they get the benefit of whatever advice I've been able to give them in that conversation, and they move on from there.
2. For me, proposals take a fair amount of work, because I want to do recon on their competitors (or at least similar businesses), and so on. I ask a lot of questions and often discover that clients really have not clearly articulated their objectives, or what they hope to achieve with a new site. A good web pro will drive you crazy asking for a lot of info, but it's because they want to really understand your needs and provide the right solution. If you talk to someone and they immediately give you a price and want to start working (without having asked questions or written a proposal), be wary.
3. At this point in my career, I have amassed a pretty good set of portfolio examples, I've published a book, and I write articles for the GoDaddy Garage, so I have various things to point to as examples of my work, track record in this field, etc. I realize that not everyone has that (yet), but as the client, you have to figure out how to see real examples that they know what they say they know. Easier said than done. It could be that they are new to the field, but gifted, and even their early work shows them to be someone you want to work with. Start with evaluating their website very carefully for any issues. Spelling errors? grammar? punctuation? formatting? If you see errors on their site, don't assume they will be more careful on YOUR site.
4. I always offer to provide references, but since just about all of my work comes by way of referral, people rarely take me up on that. One thing when you do talk to references, go beyond the technical stuff. Was the designer a good listener? Did they ask questions? Were they patient when the client did not know much about the internet or how websites are built? Did they offer to educate the client in ways that help them better understand the process? Did they point the client to other resources for complementary tasks/services that the web pro did not provide? Were they good about communication all along the process?
5. I'll put in a shameless plug for my book here (http://webdivawisdom.com), because it's all about how to find, hire, and partner with the right web designer for YOU. I wrote it because so many people came to me with the same story you've told. The book is not technical at all, but talks about how to evaluate web pros, what to do/know before you even contact a web pro, what to look for in a proposal, how to make the web pro's work as efficient as possible, and so on. Lots of checklists and exercises. When I start with a new client, I make them do the homework in Chapter 2 (although if I'm lucky, they already know most of those answers and we discussed them earlier).
6. And finally, here's one of my articles on the Garage, about hiring a web pro: https://www.godaddy.com/garage/difm-hire-pro-web-page-design/
If you want me to expand even more on anything I've mentioned above, let me know. You may have figured out that I can go on for hours about this topic!
Listen to Lisa @webdiva - she DEFINITELY knows of what she speaks! Agreed on all points 100%
Here's a little more to help you @TalkwithGail...
I hope I am not telling you anything you already know or take for granted...
If you used WordPress (or your designer/developer) they normally choose a theme to start. crestwood.on.ca choose a Bootstrap theme and it turns out beautiful. This is usually done in tandem with a theme designer and a developer. Sometimes they are all in one. Usually they are not. It always costs thousands to develop a theme from scratch based on a framework. The cost ranges between 3,000 and 10,000 and sometimes depending on the complexity of what the functionality is (ecommerce for example) even more. But if you find a theme that's perfect for you, it can be customized quite quickly without custom design. This is where expectations can be wildly different for you and for your developer/designer.
I am sorry you had a bad experience here. Is there anything you'd like more advice on please let us know. Not all developers and designers overpromise and underdeliver. The best know exactly what they are good at and when they are not good at something they let you know. A red flag for someone who says they can "do it all."
Thank you Lisa, Alex and others. Your responses are most welcomed and informative as well as encouraging.
Mostly I posted this question on behalf of all the others out there who have been in the same boat as I. And was wondering what you (techy website creators and such) do that lets potential clients know you are the right fit for them. And how best do we select you?
I do much the same thing for my clients when redesigning and/or remodeling the spaces within their homes or offices. They have some furnishings they like and much that they don't. They need some new things as some of their stuff is old and worn out, and it's just time for a change. They have not much time but do have some knowledge of a style they like but know they need help. Sound familiar? Not so tough. Right?
My mistake was I trusted someone too soon as they were in a network of folks I belong to...but my philosophy and little voice in the back of my brain has always been convince me before I believe. (Something I do for my clients, show them). For 17 years now I've done my own websites (5 total). My first one was designed and maintained by a great kid who moved on to another career field. I gave him carte blanche and he did marvelous things.
What I had originally requested of this recent person was to migrate my current site's content to my parked GoDaddy WordPress, and get me connected with/to my Houzz, Alignable, and FB listings, the only three I currently post on as I am busy busy. Others could always come later. (No need to change wording, it has attracted my clients for all these years.) I provided tons of pics, page layouts, thoughts and feelings, font styles, websites that had great style that would be a good fit for me, and so on...I did do my part and my homework.
Having been as busy as a bee the past four years, my site is not so up to snuff and I have not much time left for a new learning curve on the techy side of things as so much has changed internet wise. Hence my decision to acquire added assistance. I provided so much of my own legwork and time I was seriously beginning to question why, as well as how much more time, do I need to put into a somewhat simple ask.
I came to a conclusion: Stop spinning wheels and table it for now and cut your losses. I missed my deadline that was meant to coincided with my big ad campaign this past holiday season. Oh well, onward...it's still on my list.
So, I guess I'm saying help those out there who are in need of website work to really understand what you do. Like someone said in a response: Some are website builders, others are graphic designers, not many are both.
I guess I kinda had the impression (silly me) that since I do many aspects of interior remodels right into the decoration of interiors, that the person I chose for web work could do the same for my website. My current website looks good to my clients, but I'm sure from your viewpoint it's a chuckle over your morning coffee (I know you will).
Thank you, all.
@TalkwithGail: all of this makes perfect sense. And yes, there's definitely a similarity in how we approach work.
You ask how clients would know to select one of us. That's the reason I wrote the book, it goes into the process, how to evaluate potential designers, etc. There are many excellent web pros out there. There are also many people who say they know what they're doing, and they don't. I suppose that's true for your profession (and most others) as well.
This is another article I wrote, and although it's targeted at other web pros, it may give you some insight into what is important to us (the designers): https://www.godaddy.com/garage/finding-web-design-clients-who-are-the-right-fit/ -- and why I think it's critical that we (again, the web pros) know what is a good fit for us, before taking on clients.
I can assure you, that in the past there were clients I regretted taking. The initial conversation did not clue me in to their crazy behavior, unreasonable demands, unwillingness to pay invoices, and so on. We've all learned the hard way about those situations. So I'm VERY careful now -- again, I only take clients by referral, which means someone else I know also knows this person. And then only after an initial conversation/interview where I ask questions that are basically designed to unearth possible bad behaviors and/or attitudes!
I suspect more people are both designers and builders than you think. I do both, always have been a start-to-finish gal. Or maybe that's a nice way of saying I'm a control freak about my work. But many pros are good at both. However, if you get an excellent programmer who is not a designer, you may need to bring in more help for that part of the project.
Another CRITICAL piece is that you want to hire someone who is a good writer. They don't have to be a professional writer, but they ought to be able to proofread your work when it's posted, making grammar and punctuation corrections as needed. They also need to know how to write for the web (which is different than writing for other purposes), because they very likely will need to re-format at least some of the content you provide, to meet readability standards.
And then it's also a bonus is if they know something about business and marketing, and can coach you on messaging, target audiences, and the like.
In the end, you should be hiring a business partner:
Thank you @webdiva great insight, I will be reading your articles and blogs.