Subscribe RSS
5 things your Web designer WILL NOT do, even if you beg Jun 18

5 things your Web dev/designer will not do even if you beg

As a freelance web designer with 12 years in the business, 8 of them being full-time freelancing at my own design firm, I feel it is my duty to share as much as I can, with potential website owners.

Here are rants on a few things I think anyone shopping around for a web designer should know, when it comes to things you can ask for in a website.

Granted, there’re just a few, and of course there are probably more, but these are the ones that stick out to me as being the most obvious.

Enjoy!  Questions? Contact me.

1) Start work without a deposit

This is a big one.  Rarely if ever, will you find a web designer/developer who will start a project without some kind of retainer or down payment.  In fact, it’s not just in our industry… many professional and service-oriented businesses follow this policy.  It’s pretty standard, you put down a certain amount, then when the project’s done, you pay the balance then.  It’s not that web designers/developers put precedence on making money over other things, we love our jobs!  It’s just that we’ve been bitten.

When you are in the talking stages with a web designer/developer, both parties are testing the waters to see if the relationship and project will be mutually beneficial.  From the client/customer standpoint, it’s understandable that you would want to get as much info upfront and understand as much about the  process, as possible.   From the web designers/developers point of view, we accept and respect this, but at the same time, have been bitten before.  There are times when web designers/developers have been given the green light on a project, or even shook hands with a prospective client/customer after agreeing on a deal when meeting in person (aka “gentlemen’s agreement”, which most businesspeople understand to be a signal that we have a deal and should proceed with setting up the contract/agreement), then all that work is for naught when the client/customer calls us back or e-mails to let us know that they were “shopping” around (and didn’t tell us before), and found someone else to handle the job.  This results in a pretty big disappointment, not to mention a waste of time, after we (the designer/developer) have spent a couple hours researching and developing an agreement which fits the scope of the project we plan for you to hire us to do.  Not to mention the time we took to talk to you on the phone and/or meet with you, including time to get there.

Before talking to or meeting with a web designer/developer, have an idea of your budget in mind, and plan to have at least 50% of that amount ready and set aside , to pay if you are ready for him/her to start work.  If you are not sure what it might cost, ask!  Chances are, even if it seems out of your realm to afford what the designer/developer is asking, we can likely trim down the cost if there are elements of the project which are not necessary, or we can work something out to start out with the most required tasks/items done first just to get your site online, then down the road we can discuss doing the rest when you can afford it.  Keep in mind that designers/developers have practiced their craft for years, and are usually good at what they do, so you are paying for a professional service which results in a revenue-building asset for your business.

2) Place a stats/hit counter on your site

This one’s pretty simple.  It’s very 1999 to have hit counters/stats counters on websites these days.  The only people who really need to see your websites’s hits/stats is you, and pretty much any website hosting company out there has this as a feature built into your hosting plan.  Just ask for the info and you’ll get it.  Usually it’s a private page you log into, view your visitors, unique hits, where people are viewing your site from in the world, what page they entered from and the URL, key search words/phrases they used to find you, and much more.  You can also set up more finely tuned web statistics via Google Analytics, a product of Google Webmaster Tools.   Google Analytics costs nothing but a few minutes of your time to set up.  Your webmaster/designer should have some familiarity with this, so once you’ve gotten your analytics code, you can forward it to them to insert into your website.

3) Monkey with tables

Tables are boxes made up of cells much like a spreadsheet.  They are meant to organize data, such as a list of people and their phone numbers, etc.  They are still used in websites to organize lists of things, but rarely if ever, are they absolutely necessary.  Now, I don’t claim to have zero-tolerance for usage of tables in a website, but with the ease of CSS (cascading style sheets), there really isn’t 100% need for them in pretty much any website.  There are some cases where they can be used minimally, however.  If you ask your website designer/developer if they design their client sites using cascading style sheets for layout and interface and they respond by saying they don’t, you might want to try someone else.  I know, this sounds kind of snobby.  But here’s the thing.  Website browsers are changing all the time, and some don’t always make websites look the same as they should every time, and some don’t even support modern web standards, a big part of designing using CSS.

Also, there are mobile device browsers out there, and with the advent of the tablet pc (iPad, XOOM, etc.), people are browsing the web on smaller screens which are also formatted differently and may make your website look and act horribly.  So the other reason to not use table-designed layouts is that it helps to have semantic, ordered css layout which can be more flexible to match the screen size a site is being viewed on.  Moreover, cascading style sheets are great because they separate the content from the design.  So if a smaller screen on a tablet or your iPhone is pulling up a website designing using CSS layout, it can be more graceful at displaying the content.

4) Utilize a static map

Remember the old days when you’d go to to get a directions for a place?  You’d plop in your starting location and your destination, hit ’submit’ and the resulting map was a static, non-dynamic image of the map with your requested driving directions.   Your web designer then puts the image of the map on your site, perhaps into your contact page, and that was that.

Nowadays, thanks to the large availability of satellite data for maps around the world, dynamic maps which can be zoomed in, marker points dragged around to change your starting location, etc., are available, most notably through Google Maps.   Google Maps for a few years now, has the feature where you can get the embed code for a map and place the code into your website.  There’s simply no reason not to use this feature.  If your web developer/designer doesn’t know how to do this for you, here’s a simple step-by-step article showing how it can be done:

Embedding a map into a website or blog

5) Provide a “mock-up” or “sample” without a retainer and/or signed agreement

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with #1 - If you have seen examples of “crowdsourcing” websites such as, wherein people are called together to pitch a design for a logo, t-shirt, business card, etc., then you have seen this scenario.  Granted, crowdsourcing websites have a terms of use policy that all contributors must agree to, but I’m talking about even just having a simple piece of paper that states “Hey, as your freelance ______ (designer, web developer, ice cream maker, etc.), here’s what I’m agreeing to do for you for X amount of time and cost, and here’s what you can expect from me, and my expectations/assumptions of you, as my client in this legally binding document”.  They state everything that’s been discussed and the client signs on the dotted line that they agree.

I’ve had people I can count on both hands that have asked me to submit a design mockup, however, once I explain to them that there would be a fee for such, things tend to go much more smoothly.

If your web designer has a spine and tells you what they need after you tell them what you need, chances are high you are working with someone who has integrity and you will get a good return on your investment.

[Post to Twitter]  [Post to Delicious]  [Post to Digg]  [Post to]  [Post to Reddit]  [Post to StumbleUpon] 

Copyright © Bobbi Jo Woods - published June 18, 2011 at

About the author:
Bobbi Jo is the owner of B. Woods Design, a St. Paul Web Design company -

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

31 Responses

  1. I am so glad you laid it out there so straight up. People are always like - well just do this one thing. NO! I don’t ask McDonald’s to just make me that one cheeseburger. THIS IS MY JOB!

  2. Hi Vanessa

    You make me LOL! Yes, I expect I’m gonna get a crappy burger and some awesome McFries and that’s about it :)

  3. YES, a deposit IS standard for ALL freelance positions. It really DOES need to be engraved in stone.

  4. Hi Stacey

    Amen, sister! Help spread the word :)

  5. Hello from CoWorker! Great tips - thank you!!

  6. PS…I don’t think your comment luv is working. You might want to check your settings, they recently updated it.

  7. Winter is coming,Cheap North Face Jackets ensure that your holiday does not turn into a major health disaster. These jackets are very comfortable, and are specially designed to protect the wearer against extreme cold temperatures by becoming a protective shield against the cold, cruel blasts. They are not ugly and loose, like most other jackets, which make you look fat and short. These Cheap North Face are designed exquisitely to provide a stylish, sophisticated look, while at the same time, being your shield against the cold. There are cheap northface jackets for men, women and kids, and all of them can be ordered online.

  8. If you in a search for Winter Coats,men’s winter jackets, winter leather jacket, winter clothing & costumes than you must visit Angel jackets provides you the best quality winter jackets for men specially designed for the winter season made with 100% genuine material to provide you the best quality product without any doubt. As we believe in quality not quantity.

  9. As the long-standing smart promotion guru explained “Branding may be the Essence of profitable Marketing”. moncler jacket manufacturer equity is genuinely a valuable gem. even though not especially uncommon it tend to be extremely valuable.moncler coats moncler london jackets

  10. This article is about my interest, I was very like him too, just like I likprada handbags for less, I like this site, thank you site workers door to make such a good content, I like, I think I will recommend your friends, your efforts should be such returns, to be with the people’s attention.north face denali clearance
    north face outlet stores
    north face stock

  11. Very useful advice.

  12. “Montblanc” is the French name of the first peak in Europe, “Mont Blanc”, montblanc pens this brand name stands for quality and craftsmanship of the brand itself to pursue the highest levels.Montblanc Pens Sale

  13. Such a useful and informative post.

  14. I handle #5 by letting see examples of prior work (what people ask for vs what we gave them).

  1. [...] cover compatible case that comes in these colors. This application may be more mediocre compared to the TweetDeck but it can give a retro and futuristic sentiment to an iPad user making him feeling [...]

  2. [...] basically what I’m doing now just on a slightly larger scale. But I’d love for Sugared Up to be a name thats know in the party planning community. In 10 years who knows! I have a sister who is [...]

  3. [...] must find out the best king web hosting offerings that you simply think will help you in increasing and fashioning your online [...]

  4. [...] level agreement offering at least 99% uptime support for scripting PHP or ASP; more on these below and one or more databases as well as FTP and a graphical user [...]

  5. [...] that someone would want to buy from you in a couple of months. There are people out there that make a living buying and selling domain names it is crazy I have heard of people making thousands upon hundreds of [...]

  6. [...] Login names. A Spotlight On Painless Programs In Rogers Business Web Hosting Login Database: This is where the data bases off all your websites are storedalthough you might think it’s complicated to [...]

  7. [...] the bill. These numbers amount to a blip on GoDaddy’s radar as the company hosts 50 million domains around the world. These numbers amount to a blip on GoDaddy’s radar as the company hosts 50 [...]

  8. [...] hostingThis makes use of multiple servers to host to provide more efficient content resource utilization. This type of hosting service can create scalable web [...]

  9. [...] willing and able to present consumers with unlimited web hosting plans. It’s often crucial for all clients to choose a web hosting provider based on cost as well as individual needs. It really is an [...]

  10. [...] are currently ranked 168th in the world but O’Donnell felt too much was made of the ranking which he said can be improved once the country defeats a couple of higher ranked teams. For a [...]

  11. [...] passive income sound? Well not only does everyone have the same objective which is to have their site viewed and possibly get some sign-ups but you’ll have many individuals trying to promote the [...]

  12. [...] you choose this option you can be auto-registered on major search engines. However it might be a better idea to register your site yourself since you will be able to add a detailed description [...]

  13. [...] results displayed on the 1st page and do not search beyond that. Only about 20% of the users go ahead to the 2nd page of the search results which further emphasizes a strategically and well planned SEO [...]

  14. [...] The actual Singapore web hosting services shared ups and downs straight into activity the moment anyone purchase a strategy. With regard to SEO basically post the organization url to a new. Usually they are going [...]

  15. [...] whether the firm will be able to provide you the customized services that your business deserves! If it will be able to then you searching ends here. Solutions should be based on specific needs of the business. The [...]

  16. [...] Open Stack an open-source cloud computing platform. Shares of the company fell to $67.80 in trading after the bell after closing at $74.98 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. They have gained about 38 [...]

  17. 31
    bolsos louis vuitton (via Trackback)
    Monday, 15. April 2013

    bolsos louis vuitton…

    Web Pro’s Peak: Website advice…

Leave a Reply » Log in

Great unlimited shared web hosting plans starting from $5.95