The worst things you can say to a web designer

Say what?!

For many small business owners, their business is sort of like their baby. They gave birth to it. They helped it grow. They want to protect it, watch over it, and in some cases, control it. So, it’s easy to understand why many small business owners feel a little nervous when working with a web designer to create or redesign the face of their business — their website.

Putting this much control of their baby in the hands of a new person can be difficult, especially if the small business owner has never worked with a web designer before.

To help small business owners maneuver this uncharted territory, here are few phrases you should avoid when talking to a web designer. These communication tips will help you keep control over your business while giving your web designer enough direction and freedom to create a website you’ll love.

“I just don’t like it.”

Designers are professional. They are used to taking feedback so don’t ever worry about saying that you dislike something. But if you don’t like something, figure out a way to articulate what you specifically dislike. Providing vague, ambiguous statements makes it difficult for the designer to resolve the problem. So the more specific you can be, the better.

What to say instead: “I don’t like the [specific element(s)].”

A specific element of the site might be any of the following:

  • color scheme
  • layout
  • fonts
  • images/graphics
  • copy
  • special capabilities/integrations

It’s OK to dislike elements of your site in the initial rounds of design. Just keep in mind that your designer wants to create a website you’ll love, so openly discuss what doesn’t feel or look right.

“Can you do it exactly like [competitor’s website]? No, I mean, exactly like it?”

It’s OK to want to emulate a website that you admire. But never duplicate a site completely.

What to say instead: “I really like the [specific element(s)] of this site.”

Providing examples is a great way to get your web designer to see what you like. But remember this is just a starting point. Your website should never look exactly like another site.

“I don’t care. Just do what you think is best.”

Now, this might sound like a dream request. But it’s actually a really scary thing to hear if you are a designer. That’s because clients rarely mean it when they say it. At the time, the client thinks they are being easy to work with, relaxed, and a dream client.

But this carefree attitude is usually short lived.

Without a clear initial direction, it’s difficult to align the expectations of the client and the designer, and it can result in something that needs to be completely revised later on.

What to say instead: “I’m not sure. Tell me what you think is best and then we can go from there.”

Don’t make significant strides in development or design without having some idea of what is to come. If you don’t know what you want, fine. Your web designer is there to provide advice and guidance. Just make sure they explain their idea before they run with it.

“Can you make the logo bigger?”

Small business owners want their brand to be front and center so this is a fairly common request. But plastering a big, giant logo on your website isn’t as good of an idea as you think.

Space on your website is limited and you don’t want to take up precious real estate (on every page) with an element that feels important to you but unimportant to your website visitors. They are there to find the information, not look at your logo.

What to say instead: Nothing (as long as the logo is clear and visible in the top left-hand corner of your website).

Yes, you want to have a logo to alert your visitors that they are in the right place and provide brand reinforcement. But that logo doesn’t need to be any larger than 100px in height. It’s a good design practice to use a smaller logo. (Don’t believe us? Take a few minutes to look at logos on your favorite websites.)

“Sorry, I haven’t responded to your question in [insert long time period here]. We are still on for the same completion date right?”

A person from your business will need to be involved throughout the project to provide approval, answer questions, and offer details about the business. Make sure that person knows they need to respond in a timely fashion. Any delay in correspondence can put the project back and drastically impact a designer’s schedule.

What to say instead: “I realize I haven’t responded and that it might affect the project’s final completion date.” Or better, “Here is what you need when you need it.” :)

Designers usually have new projects lined up after yours. So if you continue to go silent when they need your feedback or approval, you should expect that it will push back your due date, sometimes significantly.

“I’m calling because I have some ideas about the website.”

Web designers certainly want and need to hear your ideas about your website. But it’s unlikely that they will be available at the exact moment your next big idea pops into your head.

Designers are usually working on multiple projects at a time so they rely heavily on their schedule. They set aside time for client meetings and actual design work so that they can put their full energy into the task at hand.

What to say instead: “Let’s schedule a time to talk. I’m free on [days and times you are free].”

When you want to talk to your designer, request a time to talk. Don’t text or call and expect them to be available to work on your website right then. It’s not personal. It’s just the way the business works best.

The most quality attention you will get from your web designer is during a designated meeting time when you can be sure your project is their primary focus (and no other clients will be calling to interrupt your meeting).
If you are a small business owner, your business is your baby and it needs love and attention to reach its full potential. So don’t let miscommunication get in the way while helping your business grow into its next phase. Use these communication tips to work with your web designer to create a website you will be proud of.