10 Simple Tips to Save a Web Design Company

This was posted on Dream Systems Media but we thought you all would be interested too.

We’ve worked with website design clients now for over six years.

We’ve had some great partnerships and what we consider a lot of success.

However, from time to time we get reminded, usually the hard way, about simple details that can make or break a deal.

This post won’t be long but is a heads up to all website design firms (or wanna-be’s) and also to all clients looking to have a custom website built.

10 Tips to Save Everyone Time & Money with Web Design

  1. PRICING PAINS: WARNING: the lower the price, the more the client usually “barks” or has unrealistic expectations. We’ve had clients who have paid into the $30 – $40,000 range for custom website design who have not complained one time. Sure, there is ongoing communication, but they understand that there are costs involved. Then we’ve had clients who paid less than $1,000 who have changed their mind, complained, wanted their money back, and so on… Why does this always seem to be the case in all industries?
  2. DETAILED DO’s and DONT’s: The more detail you put into a proposal and contract, the better. Listing ALL the things you do and then crossing off the things they WON’T get for the quoted price is a good idea. This way they know that there is more that can be done but that they only get “X, Y, and Z”.
  3. NOT YET, NO PROBLEM: If a client doesn’t know what they want, simply say “NOt yet. We use a website design preferences survey. We also share examples of work we’ve done. Make sure the client has a fairly clear picture of what they want before you sign on the dotted line.
  4. TELL SHOW ME WHAT YOU MEAN: Have the client show you specific examples of what they want BEFORE you quote a price for them. This is similar to #3 but is taking it to the “next level”. They may think they know what they want in their mind; if they can show you and explain too, that’s only going to help.
  5. CONSTANT COMPOSED COMMUNICATION: Take detailed notes and keep everything in writing. If you talk on the phone, record the details in an email and send to client right away to verify nothing was left out. Encourage clients to respond to all emails so there is open communication.
  6. COMPETITIVE COMPARISONS: Encourage clients to get multiple bids so they can compare apples to apples. Even though to some this may sound absurd, it’s always good for clients who have never had a site built for them before to “test the waters” by getting multiple bids. Not only will this give them an accurate estimation of the real costs involved, but it will also help them see that you are giving them the best “bang for the buck” – or it will convince them that working with you isn’t good for either party.
  7. TIMELINES = TRUST: Include timelines in the proposal, both for you the designer and for the client. We use a checklist format that details out what the client can expect and when. We also put a column for the client to see what we’ll expect from them. We’re adding the WHEN to what we expect from the client so that all are accountable.
  8. TIME WILL ALWAYS TELL: When in doubt, wait it out: if the deal is going to work out, time will only make it better. Sure, you want to get things finalized and moving forward, but if any of the above options have been rushed, it will come back to bite you later on.
  9. PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY: Have a clause in the contract that talks about guarantees, refunds, expectations, etc. Make sure it’s fair for all involved.
  10. READ THIS TIP FIRST: Realize that the client is not always right but that if you follow the above practices, nine times out of ten it will work out. For that one percent where it doesn’t work out, still follow the above practices.

We appreciate our clients and hope these tips and suggestions will show them that we’re not about “taking their money” and running.

We value quality work.

We value long-term business relationships.

We’ve seen the effects of companies who don’t follow these practices.

What are your thoughts?

What’s working for you?

Does Your Website Home Page Speak to Your Audience?

There are many techniques to marketing, some good, some not as good. Every product should benefit from its marketing. Sometimes, however, it all boils down to luck.

Just as book covers are the primary marketing tools for books, web pages are the primary marketing tool for whatever it is you’re doing online. So what do book covers do?

The purpose of book covers

Book covers should give you a general feeling about the book. Ideally, they will convey through art and design what the book conveys to you through word. This list is a good example of a collection of book covers that portray specific feelings.

Book covers do the following:

  • Inform. The title and author should always be present.
  • Portray emotion. The colors and feel of a romance novel should depict that. And they should be vastly different than those of a thriller. Sometimes they’re not, but they should be.
  • Spark interest. Yes, I know this is pretty obvious, but when all is said and done the job of a book cover is to make me (the reader) pick up the book.

Your web page is like a book cover for your product

Chances are you’re not trying to sell books. But no matter what you’re selling, your web page is like the book cover for your product. Image is key. The feeling portrayed is key. Your goal is to get visitors to your site interested in what you’re trying to sell. Your web site essentially does the same thing for your product as book covers do for new books.

  • Inform. Your customer should not have to dig around to figure out what you’re all about.
  • Portray emotion. Simplicity, colors, images, etc. All of the elements of your page should be designed to make your reader comfortable and keep them there.
  • Spark interest. The more your readers like your home page, the more likely they are to browse around on your site.

Book covers and web pages are like cousins. The older cousin, book cover, has set an example through the years that web page designers are following.

Next time you wonder whether or not your web page is user-friendly and marketing the right ideas to your audience, consider the effect your “book cover” is having. Is the image and feeling unique? If you were a brand new customer, would your interest be sparked by what’s on the page? Are you giving your audience some kind of emotion? Is it the right kind of emotion?

The number one rule of design for book covers and web pages alike is to KEEP IT SIMPLE. Simplicity is key to keeping your audience interested in your page. We’ve all experienced being overwhelmed by an overdone web page with too many links. Just as a book cover full of busy images, too much text, and and overwhelming amount of information is likely to be put back on the shelf, web pages can be in just as much danger of being “x’ed” out of.


Mariah Overlock is a publicist for Cedar Fort Publishing. She has a life-long and deep passion for books and believes everyone should be a reader. Whether you simply read the news everyday or the latest bestseller, nobody ever lost intelligence from reading.