5 Red Flags to Watch Out for in Web Design Companies
Today, there are nearly as many people labeling their work “web design” as there are Instagrammers dubbing themselves “influencers.” If they have minor experience with WordPress designs and Photoshop, they can start offering their services as professionals.
That’s not to say that every web design company is a scam. Still, when it comes to picking a company to handle your project, you can’t select just any individual or team.
A large chunk of internet users (46 percent) base their decisions regarding the credibility of a website on the site’s visual appeal and aesthetics. If your website is difficult to read, unprofessional in appearance, or slow to load, you’re in big trouble.
You need to pick a web design company that’s got experience in its back pocket and skins on the wall to prove it. As you begin browsing your options, watch out for these five big red flags. All of these signs are indicators that the company could be untrustworthy or ill-intentioned.
Prices That Seem Too Good to Be True
Ever heard that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is? That’s certainly the case when it comes to web design pricing.
Before you make any commitments to a web design company, compare prices between several contenders. This will help you determine what a fair rate seems to be and identify the outliers whose prices are extremely high or low in comparison.
Keep in mind that cheap doesn’t necessarily mean worthwhile, especially in terms of web design. Simply coming up with a style or theme that’s up-to-par can cost between $2,000 and $15,000, and that’s not including add-ons like responsive designs, interactive multimedia, and large numbers of web pages.
Trust your gut: if a web designer’s prices seem too good to be true, they probably are.
Overly Complicated Language
A truly talented web designer should be able to paint a vision for your site with complex details in layman’s terms. If the designer is using confusing mumbo jumbo and talking like an “expert” in a way that you find confusing, they might be trying to sell you on a bag of goods you don’t really need.
It doesn’t matter if you’re creating a website for your law business or simply crafting a landing page for your personal blog – the web designer shouldn’t be talking over your head. Remember, you are in the driver’s seat here.
In that same vein, steer clear of web designers that make bold promises in regards to the success of your website. Vague promises can be a great distraction technique to keep you from focusing on the specifics of the web design, and more often than not, they aren’t kept.
Doing Work Without a Real Contract
It doesn’t matter if your web designer is your best friend or a company you just encountered: a legitimate signed contract is 100 percent necessary before any work can begin.
This contract is just as much for you as it is for the designer. The document can clarify details about what is expected, put prices in black and white, and establish hard deadlines so no one is confused. This is a business partnership, and as a result, it should be a safe, organized process with minimal financial risk.
A contract doesn’t have to be signed in a lawyer’s office or anything to be authentic – even agreements on freelance sites can serve as a signed contract. The important thing is to have documented evidence of the pricing and details that were agreed upon at the start of the partnership.
Does the web designer seem hesitant to use a contract? View it as a flashing neon sign that says “unreliable.” Any proper, well-founded web design company should be pushing you to work with a contract, not the other way around.
Poor Communication Skills
Coming up with a design and creative ideas for a website requires a great deal of communication. Not only does the web designer need to have the skills to convey their thoughts to you, but they also need to be able to listen to your ideas and bring your vision to life correctly.
You know what you want for your website. The big question is, does your designer? And can they make that dream a reality?
Back-and-forth conversations will be a key part of the entire web design process, so if you’re already experiencing difficulties conversing with the web designer in the early days, that’s a pretty big problem. Don’t hesitate to have multiple conversations, both by phone and email, to determine how well you can communicate with the team and if the match is a good fit.
Failure to Showcase Past Work and Portfolios
Like anyone in the graphic design industry, web designers are expected to approach new clients armed with a portfolio that highlights some of their past projects and best work. It’s a form of resume that details success and triumphs you can trust.
If the web designer or firm doesn’t offer you examples of websites they’ve designed, go ahead and request demonstrations. Any professional web designer should be more than happy to whip out a few of their old projects in the name of earning your trust.
Not receiving any examples of past work from the designer? Raise your eyebrow in skepticism – this might be because they don’t have any work – and are therefore inexperienced. It could also be a sign that the company produces shoddy websites and doesn’t want to showcase them to you.
Either way, take your funds to a company that is happy to walk you through their past projects.
The intent of this article isn’t to instill distrust in web designers across the board. If anything, the goal is to highlight the web designers that are trustworthy and professional – the ones who bring great communication skills, legal contracts, and lots of experience to the table so you can get the website you deserve.
Take a moment to evaluate the candidates you’ve been considering for your website’s design. Do any of the red flags mentioned above apply to them? If so, you’re better off starting your search from scratch and spending more time finding a qualified company to spend your money with.
Vishalsinh Mahida is Content Marketing Analyst at E2M inc, a San Diego Based Digital Agency that specializes in White Label Services for Website Design & Development and eCommerce SEO. He has previously assisted top brands like Axis Bank, Fox Star, IIFL, and more in implementing several customer engagement strategies. Connect with him at any time on LinkedIn!