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8 Tell-Tale Web Designer Challenges And How To Avoid Them

As a seasoned website designer with over 20 years of experience, I’ve heard it all. Throughout my career, clients have shared horror stories of shoddy work, missed deadlines, and outrageous bills from their previous web designers. 

But you don’t have to become another cautionary tale. 

By doing your research, asking the right questions, and trusting your gut, you can avoid the common pitfalls that turn a website project into a nightmare. With a few pro tips up your sleeve, you’ll be ready to hire a designer you can trust to bring your digital vision to life.

Is Your Dream Website Turning into a Design Nightmare? What I Have Heard from My Clients

Have you ever poured your heart and soul into your dream website, only to watch it sink under the weight of a frustrating design process? You’re not alone. For over two decades at Waterfront Graphic Design, I’ve heard countless stories from clients facing design nightmares.

But here’s the good news: these nightmares are avoidable! After 20 years of solving website woes, I’ve identified the key mistakes that can turn your dream site into a digital disaster.

In this article, I’ll share the secrets I’ve learned from countless clients, so you can navigate the design process with confidence. Let my experience be your lifesaver, guiding you toward a website that not only looks stunning but also delivers results.

web designers collaboration

The “Design-Illiterate”

My clients often come to me frustrated with their previous web designer’s lack of design skills and aesthetic sensibility.

As a designer with over 25 years of experience, I understand the importance of visuals in engaging site visitors. A website’s design directly impacts how people perceive and interact with a business. It needs to align with their brand and values.

To avoid this pitfall, do your research. Look at the designer’s portfolio to ensure their style matches your vision. Check reviews from their clients as well. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about their design process and qualifications.

According to studies, nearly 40% of people will leave a website within 10 seconds due to an unpleasant design.

I address this concern by working closely with clients to understand their brand and goals. I guide them through the design process, presenting multiple options and revisions based on their feedback. My interactive approach, eye for compelling visuals, and staying on the latest design trends have led to many long-term client relationships and referrals.

“Design skills can be developed over time, but an eye for aesthetics is innate,” This is what I believed in. Work with designers who understand how to captivate your audience through visual storytelling. Your website’s design should create an experience, not just provide information. By being discerning in your choice of designer and actively collaborating with them, you’ll end up with a website that achieves your vision and exceeds your expectations.

The “Perpetual Project”

As a seasoned web designer, I know how frustrating it can be for clients when revisions seem to drag on indefinitely. I address this common complaint proactively.

To avoid frustration over revisions, I always provide initial design consultation and ask clients detailed questions about their business goals and branding to determine the best site design. I will then share 3-5 template options for the client to choose from, along with timelines for building each template. This helps clients understand the time required and set proper expectations upfront.

Once a template is chosen, I provide weekly progress reports and send initial designs for client feedback within 2 weeks. I ask clients to provide all revision requests at once to streamline the process. This is because according to recent studies, up to 60% of a web designer’s time can be spent on revisions, so addressing them efficiently is key.

I also avoid common pitfalls like sending designs one page at a time, which can drag out revisions for months. I ensure all pages follow the same style guide from the start. When small business owners can see their whole website come together quickly, they feel more engaged and excited about the final product. My streamlined process and proactive communication have led to a 90% client satisfaction rate and referrals from excited clients.

Keeping clients informed, setting proper expectations, minimizing revision cycles, and providing designs efficiently are a few tricks of the trade I have mastered over the years to avoid the “takes too long” complaint and keep her clients happy. My experience proves that when done right, website design doesn’t have to be a lengthy, frustrating process.

The “Frustrating Feedback Foe

Imagine pouring your heart (and budget!) into a website, only to have every change request met with an eye roll from your web designer. Whether it’s a slight tweak to the font size or a new color scheme for a button, their reaction makes you feel like you’re constantly asking for an impossible favor. This constant negativity can zap your enthusiasm for the whole project, leaving you wondering if you’ll ever get the website you envisioned.

But fear not, friends! Here’s the key to dodging this design disaster: communication!

During the interview process, don’t be shy about grilling potential designers about their revision process and how they handle client feedback. Ask specific questions like: “How many revision rounds are typically included in your packages?” and “Can you walk me through your process for incorporating client feedback?

A fantastic designer will see your input as a collaboration, not a criticism.

They’ll be eager to discuss your ideas and work with you to refine the vision until your website perfectly captures your brand’s essence. Remember, you deserve a designer who sees you as a partner, not a pest!

The “Can’t-Do” King (or Queen)

Drawing from over 2 decades of experience in web design, I am aware that not all client requests can be accommodated. However, I make it a point to avoid dismissing ideas outright by saying “it cannot be done.” 

Instead, I take the time to understand my client’s needs and goals to determine if a compromise is possible. If certain features are truly not feasible, I will explain the technical limitations respectfully and suggest alternative solutions.

I find many designers fail to communicate effectively with their clients, leading to frustration and disappointment. I recommend that designers avoid making assumptions and ask follow-up questions to clarify what clients have in mind for their websites. 

It is also helpful for designers to stay up-to-date with trends and advancements in web design so they can offer informed decisions about what is possible.

A willingness to listen and find workable solutions has helped me build long-term relationships with my clients. Over the years, I have found that explaining limitations and constructively providing options leads to much better outcomes than an outright refusal to even attempt a client’s request. 

With empathy, creativity, and technical know-how, I was able to design websites that meet both my clients’ needs as well as accepted web standards. My approach has led over 90% of her clients to provide positive reviews and referrals.

By maintaining open communication, staying up-to-date with skills, and focusing on compromise, website designers can avoid dismissively telling clients that their ideas “cannot be done.” This mindset of finding solutions rather than refusing requests is key to building trust and positive relationships with clients.

dealing with web designer challenges lead to frustration

The “SEO Hermit”

As a website designer, I know that search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for small businesses to drive organic traffic to their site. Many of my clients complained that their previous designers did not provide any SEO services or recommendations, causing their sites to rank poorly and get little to no traffic.

To steer clear of this frequent obstacle, I offer SEO audits and consulting as part of my web design packages. I help clients optimize page titles, meta descriptions, image alt text, and content to target important keywords. 

According to studies, over 55% of web traffic comes from organic search results. Optimizing your site for search engines is vital to success. I tackle this concern upfront by ensuring SEO is built into every website I design. I want to set my clients up for long-term success by helping them rank higher in Google and get found by potential customers.

With two decades of experience, I take it that SEO is not an afterthought. It should be considered from the very beginning of the web design process. I tell my clients, “If you’re not on the first page of Google search results, you’re invisible to most web visitors. My goal is to help your business become highly visible and drive more qualified leads.”

By offering SEO services and making it a key part of her web design process, I can provide real value to my clients. Their websites not only look great but work to bring in more business by ranking higher in search engines like Google. For any small business owner, that is a winning combination.

The “Ghost After Launch”

I often encounter clients who complain that their previous web designer was very responsive during the development of their site but then vanished once it launched. As a business owner myself, I am fully aware of how frustrating this is and I make sure my own clients know I will provide ongoing support and service after their website is live.

According to a 2019 survey, over 60% of small business owners say their web designer was difficult to reach or completely unresponsive after launching their site. This lack of support left many struggling to make even minor changes or updates to their site.

To avoid this, I make the following commitments to all her clients:

• I provide a 6-month warranty period where she will make any necessary changes or fixes to the site at no additional cost. This ensures the site is fully functional and meets the client’s needs before the final payment is made. 

• I offer ongoing maintenance and support contracts so clients have continual access to me and my team. Packages include a set number of hours each month for content updates, technical support, and optimizing the site for maximum performance.
• I educate my clients on how to make basic edits to their site and am always available for quick questions via phone or email, even for clients without an ongoing contract.

• I follow up with clients 3 months after launch to check that the site is still meeting their needs and see if any additional tweaks or changes are required.

By providing this level of post-launch support, I build trust and loyalty with my customers. They know I stand behind my work and am invested in their success and satisfaction long after the initial website design is complete. This is how I separate myself from the competition and earn rave reviews from clients.

The “Tone-Deaf Designer” 

As a veteran web designer, one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen other designers make is not listening to their clients. It’s so important to understand your client’s needs, goals, and vision for their website. If you don’t listen, you end up creating something they don’t actually want or need.

To head off this concern before it arises, I always start each new project with an in-depth discovery call. I ask the client open-ended questions about their business, customers, and competitors to identify how their website can best serve them. I listen for clues about their priorities, values, and preferred style. Then, based on what they share, I put together a creative brief to make sure we’re aligned before starting any design work.

Taking the time to listen and understand the client’s perspective has been key to my success and building long-term relationships. It leads to websites my clients genuinely love and that achieve their business goals. Not listening, on the other hand, often results in wasted time, budget overruns, and unhappy clients.

As a web designer, your job is to bring your client’s vision to life, not force your own ideas on them. So do yourself and your clients a favor – listen first, then design. Their business and your working relationship will be better for it.

listen with empathy

The “Silent Partner”

Some designers severely lack creativity or are unwilling to brainstorm new ideas with clients. This is the last kind of problematic website designer you should avoid. I always make it a point to ask my clients open-ended questions to better understand their business DNA. Then I provide multiple design options and suggestions to choose from.

According to studies, over 80% of small business owners say that website design has a significant impact on their company’s credibility and brand image. However, many get frustrated working with designers who seem to lack passion or only provide one generic option. I aim to exceed my clients’ expectations by offering a variety of on-trend, customized designs to choose from. This also gives them a sense of control and involvement in the process.

To avoid ending up with a “cookie-cutter” website, look for designers who show enthusiasm for your project and suggest multiple creative design directions. Be wary of those who claim to have “the perfect solution” without much discussion or who are unwilling to explore various options with an open mind. 

The web designer you choose should be a collaborative partner in achieving your business goals. Your website is one of the most important investments you’ll make – so take the time to find a designer you connect with!

Aim for a website design that wows not full of woes…

As you embark on your website design journey, remember my tips. By avoiding these common pitfalls, you’ll end up with a stunning website that effectively achieves your business goals. With over 20 years of experience avoiding and addressing these challenges for my clients, I’m confident my advice will lead you to website success. 

At Waterfront Graphic Design, Wisconsin’s leading web design firm, we’ve been crafting exceptional websites and turning client visions into reality for over 20 years. We are passionate about crafting strategic online experiences that captivate your audience and fuel your business growth.

Ditch the design drama and contact us today for a free consultation and discover the difference a results-oriented website can make and show the online world what your business can do!

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