5 Red Flags when Hiring Digital Marketers / Website Designers

It's hard to find and choose a digital marketing / website design company for your business. Why? Because there are so many out there and you have probably been burnt by one of them before.

It's easy when you have to pick between 2-3 options. As soon as it becomes thousands of options which claim to do a great job, it becomes impossible to choose.

This is especially true if your knowledge of digital marketing and online presence is limited (which is true for most people).

The reason I use digital marketing and website design interchangeably is that websites are really part of digital marketing. The purpose of a website is to represent your business online and bring you more customers and recognition.

Here are few red flags to look out for when talking to these businesses. As soon as you hear any of these, it's a sign to jump ship and abort mission (or the other way around, whatever makes you tick).

Jump ship flag #1:  They give you a price without talking with you

This is a major, major red flag. Digital marketing can range from simple to difficult, depending on what your business is trying to achieve. Providing a quote without discussing the details of the product/services you offer, shows a lack of experience.

Signing with such a company/individual means that you are going to end up with a website which will haunt you day and night. Oh, and it's also a complete waste of money.

Jump ship red flag #2: They don't refine the goal of your website.

what is your goal

Not having clear and precise goals kills success.

This is very critical, but it's a bit more subtle.  It's impossible to design and build a good website without having a clear-cut goal.

That's why we always offer a free initial consultation to clients, we want to hear what it is that they are trying to achieve. Often times business owners don't know what they want to accomplish with their digital marketing efforts and we try to guide them in the right direction( that's a subject for another time).

Even if you do know your goals, wait for them to ask first. If they don't ask and want to get to signing the contract as soon as possible, save yourself while you still can.

On one of our initial conversations with the owners of a non-profit organization, I asked them what their goal was for the website. They went on to explain how they want a website that is great and modern and to help the community,  for people to be able to make donations, put advertisements and maybe sell things (I will have mercy on you and not list everything)...

After they were finished, I tried to help them refine their goals. I asked "what is the primary problem you are trying to solve with the website?". After a few minutes of back and forth the goal of the website got refined to "help people find businesses who are part of our community". Bingo...

Jump ship red flag #3: They tell you "we will design it however you like."

This may seem attractive initially but really it's not. It's like if you go to an architect and they tell you I will make the bridge however you like. You are paying them to make you a professional bridge which is safe and durable.

As an example you may ask for flashy banners and fast moving carousels ( this is happened for us). They need to explain to you that based on data and customer behavior, it's best to keep it simple.

After all you want a website because you want more customers. That's what they should be striving to provide. That means sometimes explaining to you why things should not be done the way you think is good.

Jump ship red flag #4: Long response times.

long response time

If they don't tell you how long it would take to make changes on your website once it goes live, it's a good sign to move on. Or if they give you long periods like 1-2 weeks.

This is a very common and it's easy to sniff out. See if they bring it up at all during your initial conversations, before you sign a contract.

If they don't, ask what their policy is for making updates to the website such as adding and removing content. If they give you answers like 1-2 weeks, know that they are outsourcing the technical work. You know what that means, an unresponsive team that will drive you crazy.

In a case where you have an emergency and need something updated quick, you have to wait 1-2 weeks. After that happens a couple of times, you will eventually give up. At the same time you will be too fed up to do anything about it. You think to yourself having something is better than nothing and you continue paying them.

So what should you look for? Response times of under 48 hours is usually a good sign that most of the team is in house. This way everying can be handled in a timely manner.

Jump ship red flag #5: Price is too cheap.

cheap fast good

I hate to burst your bubble, but 200-300$ for a website just doesn't work. It translates to a business that's like a needle in a haystack, nowhere to be found. Don't do it, you will regret it.

Good website design is based on latest data and user experience research and it's definitely not simple. It requires planning, strategizing, content writing and research and technical proficiency and so much more. If someone or some company claims they can do all that at such a cheap price, it means one of two things:

1) Outsourcing all the work.

2) One man army who can do all of the above. Even if that's true, all those hours could not be that cheap. So chances are that they are skipping most of the steps mentioned above.

Conclusion

It's hard to find and choose someone or a company to build you a website. This is mainly because there are so many "expert" digital marketers and website builders out there.

If you are in a discussion with any of these companies/individuals, here is a list of red flags that indicate that you would be better off going with someone else:

  • Giving you a price without having a detailed discussion with you.
  • They don't refine the goal of your website with you.
  • They tell you "we will design it however you like."
  • They don't tell you how long it would take them to make updates to your website once it goes live. Or they tell you it would take 1-2 weeks.
  • Price is too cheap.

This is assuming that you want a website to expand your business and increase your customer base. If you just want to have a website for the sake of having a website then it's best to go with the cheapest option or even use a do it yourself website builder.

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