Fabrizio Van Marciano

available for hire

Telltale Signs Your Designer Sucks – And What To Do About It!

Is your web designer messing you around? Do you feel as if he/she or the agency is not taking your design project seriously? Do you feel as if you have no hope of getting your website finished in time for your launch day? Keep reading.

So, you’ve seized the opportunity to turn your passion into a serious online business project. That’s awesome! I know the feeling, and it’s one that you can never forget.

Anyhow, after days of careful planning and strategizing, you decide that a new website is what your new business idea needs.

You head straight over to Craigslist in search of the perfect web designer!

Wait… What? Craigslist!

OK… let’s just keep going.

So, after finding the right designer for the job (so you thought), you set about getting him or her to start work on your project…

If you’ve gotten this far and perhaps even beyond, and have been left bitterly disappointed because you made the wrong choice of web designers, I empathize with you.

There is nothing worst than paying for professional-level service, only to receive mediocre results. But then again, you did choose to go through Craigslist.

Sometimes, it’s hard to establish whether you’ve invested in the right person for your website design job or not. Especially if you’ve never done this before.

So, without further adieu, here are 10+ telltale signs that you might need to fire your website designer.

Oh, and if possible, avoid Craigslist.

10+ signs you need to fire your website designer right now

Here we go –

Your designer sucks and what you should do about it.

#1. The price is dirt cheap

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for keeping business costs down. Even as a designer. I mean who doesn’t like a bargain from time to time?

But when it comes to the finer things in life, particularly in your business, you can’t be thinking about using “cheap” services all the time.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with having a budget and obtaining affordable web design, but going down the road of super-dirt cheap website design can sometimes backfire on your business.

“Well, what is considered to be dirt cheap, Fabrizio?”

I hear you:

Let’s say you’re planning on spending $1,000 for a nice custom branded website. That’s your budget. In which case, you can expect a decent website consisting of five or six pages, a contact page with a custom form, and maybe even a blog, right?

What you wouldn’t expect is a full-blown eCommerce site with hundreds of product pages, shopping cart features, checkout systems, an online chat system, etc. for that price. You have to be realistic.

So, what I’m saying is that the price you pay greatly depends on the scope of the project you have in mind.

Now, if you only paid a few hundred euros/pounds/dollars for your website project, then expect a one-page website with no gimmicks. If that’s all you need for your business, then that is perfectly fine. Sometimes, all you need is a one-page website.

#2. The designer’s website looks like garbage!

This should be the first telltale sign that you’re about to hire perhaps the worst designer ever.

Just take a look at their website from the header to the footer section.

Examine every single element of the design: From layout, and branding, to how the site performs.

Is the website responsive? Does their site load quickly or does it take forever?

What about the header and menu sections. Is the navigation clean, modern, and helpful?

Scroll down to the content and check the layout and alignment of all the elements.

Are there any cool animations on the site? Is there plenty of white space around the elements?

If any part of their website looks awkward, cringy, or just unfinished in any way, then ask yourself this:

Do you want your website to look like this too?

If you answered a big fat no, then you know what you have to do. Avoid the designer. Instead, hire a designer that has a creative flair with a good understanding of modern website design.

#3. Their design information landing page looks like it was created by a nine-year-old

No offense intended to any smart and creative nine-year-olds out there. My daughter is nine and she is a very creative and artistic individual, I can tell you.

However, if you’ve landed on a very amateurish-looking sales page offering website design services, just think twice before committing.

A sales page offering design or creative services shouldn’t be filled with marketing jargon. It should welcome you and make you feel as if you’re being treated as an individual. It should inform you exactly what you need and how the designer can help you reach your goals.

It should communicate with you, and empathize with you, all while educating you about the services provided by the designer.

There should be some influential testimonials included, but this is not always the case. Perhaps there is a link to the designer’s portfolio.

All of this should be presented on a well-designed sales page, accompanied by some beautiful visuals that leave you enlightened and enthusiastic to do business.

But, if the sales page you’ve landed on is just filled with bloated, sales-type, marketing garbage, then you know what you have to do… Avoid at all costs.

#4. Their communication with you is poor

Communication works both ways and is super crucial in a design project.

Ensure there are no language or other communication barriers, especially if you need the designer to clearly understand your visions and goals for your website project.

If you end up working with a designer who only sends you an email once a fortnight, then you’re one unlucky individual, that is all I can say.

You should receive an update at least once or twice a week on the progress of your design project.

#5. No questions asked…

A keen web designer will always arrange a consultation over the phone or Zoom when you first make contact with them. And, most importantly, a keen designer will always listen to you first, then ask questions after.

If you feel as if your web designer isn’t interested in hearing about your ideas, goals, and visions. Or worst makes up some tech-jargon excuse as to why you can’t have something on your site. Then drop them fast and run like your life depends on it…

#6. They don’t deal with copywriting

Now, respectfully, not all web designers will offer copywriting for your site. That’s because it is impossible for a web designer to know the ins and outs of every single niche or industry.

Of course, he or she will be able to write some basic marketing copy, but that’s about it.

For example, if you need to start a golfing website and need copywriting, for example, a web designer is unlikely to know anything about golfing to be able to write some good copy for you.

You may not actually want your designer to create copy for your website. Often, if it’s niche-specific, you may want to create the copy yourself or hire someone who knows the industry well enough to write compelling copy for you.

#7. They won’t produce a wireframe for you

What? No wireframing? Just jump straight into designing the site? That’s ludicrous!

After the initial strategy and planning meeting, wireframing is the next critical step in the website design process. At least it is in my opinion. Not all designers can be bothered with wireframing.

Wireframing is not rocket science either. All it requires is the designer to come up with a few mockups and layouts of how the site will be organized based on your ideas.

Sometimes the client will provide a rough sketch for the designer to work from.

If your designer is jumping straight into the design phase without creating a wireframe first, then the project could end up costing you more time and money. You may find yourself endlessly requesting for multiple design revisions.

#8. They lack diversification

If your designer has a portfolio, which they should have, look and make sure that they have a diversified flare for design creativity.

Ensure that each and every website/branding kit they’ve ever created doesn’t look identical. Some designers use templates and simply change the logos, icons, and font styles.

A good web designer will be competent and experienced in using a wide range of design tools, styles, and techniques.

#9. They simply don’t understand your goals and objectives well enough

This is very important. Your designer has to understand exactly what you’re looking for with your new website project. It is critical that he or she should become familiar with your ideas and visions from the initial strategy meeting.

If your designer is unsure about your needs, there could be problems later down the line.

It all boils down to what we already talked about earlier, the importance of communication, and your designer asking relevant questions about your project right off the bat.

#10. They are completely off the grid

Usually, it doesn’t matter where the designer is based. Many designers, such as myself, work remotely. Whether I’m at my design studio in the UK or working with a client in the Canary Islands, I like to make myself available to consult.

I can’t always meet clients due to the distance and my work schedule. However, I always try my best to travel and meet a client if I feel it’s important. Other times, I rely on FaceTime and Zoom video to greet my clients.

The problem with working with remote designers that are completely off the grid, they can choose to completely disappear without a trace if they wanted to. And if you paid a deposit for your design project, that could be a problem.

If you’re going to work with a remote designer, check their online profile first. See if they’re making regular appearances on social media. Check how often they’re engaging with their followers, whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.

#11. They offer a package deal…

I’m probably going to insult some designers and agencies with this one. But I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Jack of all trades” and “master of none”.

Well, this may not always be the case, because there are some genuine designers and creators out there that are good at more than one thing.

That being said, if you find that your web designer is offering literally everything imaginable on their services page, then sometimes it can feel as if there’s no exclusivity. I mean there’s no specialization.

In my opinion, and this is just my opinion, bespoke web design is a specialty. It shouldn’t be part of a package or deal or whatever else.

For example, website design is packaged with SEO, SEM, copywriting, email marketing, social media management, and so on. It should be a unique bespoke service provided at the highest level possible.

It’s a bit like hiring a freelancer who specializes in writing health and fitness copy, to write content for a family law website! To me that makes zero sense.

Of course, it’s possible to hire a copywriter that writes in all niches, but there’s no specialization involved. Maybe you think differently, I don’t know.

So, if you’re looking for someone who specializes in designing beautiful, clean, modern, mobile-responsive, and conversion-focused websites. And, if you’re looking for someone with good communication, then avoid the jack of all trades where ever possible. Find yourself a specialist.

Final words of wisdom to YOU…

Finding the right designer for your website and branding projects is something that you should take your time doing.

If you find a design service that is dirt cheap, and one that is part of an online package deal of some kind, among many other questionable attributes, just be aware that you’ll get exactly what you pay for.

Do your research carefully and take your time until you’ve made the right choice.

Best of luck to you!

People ignore design that ignores people… If you want to make sure that doesn’t happen with your next web design project, click here to see how I can help you bring your web design ideas to life.

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