Bad Designers - Your New Pet Hate

Copywriters of the world. Congratulations. Well done. All the posts we’ve written about cheap content have been read and understood. Clients understand the value we provide.

Clients. I’m sorry. You’re still getting ripped off by the penny mills elsewhere.

Problem is, there’s still an industry where the overpromising undercutters are running rampant. An industry where anyone with ten minutes to download a WordPress template or some free design software can swindle you.

And wind us all right up doing it.

Yes, cheap web designers. Welcome to Andrew’s shit list.

The Problem With Cheap Designers

I’ve said before that I love my clients. I do. I love each and every one of you. So take me at face value when I say this riles me up because I care about your businesses, not (just) because I’m lazy and precious.

Multiple times this year, I’ve had to guide clients through dealing with some bloody awful web designers. Usually from one of the gig-mills, usually undercutting professionals by huge margins, usually promising the moon on a stick – and always managing to disappoint.

Here’s the problem.

You call me up. You know you need compelling copy to hook a reader and drive sales. And you trust me to deliver.

We chat. I take notes. I do a draft. We chat. I do a second draft. You tweak. I polish. We embrace like Rocky and Apollo in that beach scene in Rocky III. You sign off and settle up. All is right with the world.

Then along comes someone charging 10p an hour with his copy of “baby’s first WordPress template” and a promise that he’s about to deliver a Blue Chip quality website.

There’s a problem though.

That draft that we are currently splashing around about? The one written with user experience, client journeys, calls to action, trust generation, psychology and all that good stuff in?

Doesn’t fit in “WP TEMPLAT #104 ONLY $0.49 DOENLOAD NOW.”

I mean it might fit. If we cut that, and we rearrange that, and we move that to a new page, and if we add a scrolling div because it’s 1999 again for some reason, and how about if that is rewritten to seven words because nobody’s going to want to read more than seven words before they invest hundreds of pounds into a product.

And either it’s bent and bloodied and bruised and billed for, or it’s passed back to me for emergency triage so I can try and write copy with one hand tied behind my back, a blindfold on, and some moron’s hand wedged into my fundament so he can try and operate me like a cheap puppet.

So the end result’s never as good as it should be.

As I explained to one client;

It’s as if we’ve spent months making furniture, and the person taking it to your customer’s house has sawed the table in half so it fits in his hatchback. He can now deliver it, but how on earth is your customer going to eat off it?

That’s the issue. It’s not that I have to go back and do more work (oh no. more money. woe is me). It’s that it’s you – my clients – who have to pay for all this, and that you’re paying the designer to basically make things worse. There’s no discussion, because our template-troubling hero isn’t paid enough to actually discuss a better way of doing things with me – he just stamps his foot, grits his teeth and declares that “this is how it must be.”

The Crux of the Matter

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how difficult bargain basement offshore designers make my life. It’s my job do do the very best for my clients. And therein lies the problem.

The final product is work that is not the very best my clients could get. You’ve made one very sensible business decision, and then had it undermined by someone who overpromises and underdelivers. You’ve paid my fees, had copy you’re delighted with, and then had a cheap designer shred it, bend it and tear it to squeeze it into a framework where customers won’t react to it.

When a website is a compromise between what you want, what your customer needs, what your copywriter recommends and what your designer can half-arse together that evening for three pound eighty and a pork scratching, you’re selling your business short.

It needs to be a team effort between your copywriter and designer to deliver a final project that balances your wishes with your customers’ needs.

You shouldn’t settle for anything less.

So What Is to Be Done?

The answer is simple. It always has been.

Hire professionals.

Hire any of these fantastic people to design and build your website, and they’ll elevate the work your copywriter does to produce a website that delivers everything you need it to.

Pine – they designed my website. I love my website. You’re reading it, so draw your own conclusions.

Make Do – I worked with one of Make Do’s WP devs, and he knows his onions. They’ve delivered great projects for clients – and I know that because I wrote the case studies.

Dave Hallett – I’ve worked with Dave on his own website, and after grilling him for the brief, I’m certain he’ll do a cracking job.

You always get what you pay for.

It’s just common sense.

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