The Fire Nerds Blog

How to make your website designer cry

Some people do not properly value the skills and experience of a web designer or social media director. I am a skilled and experienced web developer and "rock star" social media director but have had a handful of clients bring me to the brink of tears. I’ve been building websites professionally for over 20 years and in that time I have developed thousands of websites, generated millions of web pages and have experienced the life cycle of growing ideas into large companies.

My formal training in graduate school was on human interface design psychology to achieve a deep understanding of how people interact with websites and social media. I have kept current with the latest technology and trends, interfaced with the leaders from Facebook, Microsoft, Google and honed my FireNerds flame through conferences and ongoing coursework. However, as Rodney Dangerfield would say, “I don’t get no respect.” I hope my sarcasm proves my point.

  1. My nephew took a web design class in Junior High. Can’t he just make the website for my company?” - Yes, maybe he learned in 12 weeks EVERYTHING that I learned plus two decades of practical experience. Better yet, next semester he’s taking algebra so maybe he can replace your accountant and file your next year's corporate taxes.
  2. Tell me you need a website urgently, take six months to make a decision, and then call me on Friday night and demand that I finish your website for a trade show on Monday.
  3. Complain that I'm too expensive. Ask me, "Can't I just pay you for two hours of tutoring, and you can teach me everything you know?" (see #1) Maybe it was a compliment on my teaching abilities?
  4. Sign a contract with me to build your website for your startup company for $2,000. After I invoice you, send me stock for 0.01% of your “soon to be worth billions” company instead of a check.
  5. Pay your deposit with a credit card. After I have worked hard to complete your website, ask me to do an additional 40 hours of work for free. Threaten that if I don't, you will charge back the deposit on your credit card because “there is no way I can repossess the website”. I'm sure you go to Appleby's and tell the waiter after you have eaten the meal, bring me a free dessert, or I'm not paying for the meal. There is no way you can get that spaghetti back!
  6. Tell me that you will get me the information to get started on your website "right away", then ignore my emails and phone calls for months. Wait until you are good and drunk on a Saturday night, and email me at 3:00 am demanding I work on your website "immediately". At 4:00 am send me another email insisting on a full refund plus damages for being unresponsive.
  7. Call me every time you receive a spam email and take 15 minutes to explain to me how your three spam messages a day consumes too much of your time. Demand that I make sure the spammer compensates you for your wasted time.
  8. Tell me that you don’t want me to spend any time developing your social media relationships, and then complain that I haven’t worked on your social media.
  9. Hire me as your professional Internet marketing expert and consultant, and then ask me to follow the advice of your friend that read one article online about the web. You make me want to quit my job as a software engineer, watch one episode of Law and Order, and then either become a lawyer or police detective.
  10. Pay your deposit with a credit card. After I have spent nights and weekends to complete your website, contact your credit card company claiming the payments to me were "fraudulent". Then, file a criminal complaint stating that email account I used to communicate with you on the project "doesn’t belong to you."

My revenge for #10! I forwarded the criminal complaint stating that the email did not belong to the client to Chase Bank, who immediately froze his bank account since it was the same "fraudulent" email address. The client was forced to admit he lied under oath in an attempt to defraud me to regain access to his bank account. At the time of writing this blog, this story was eight years old. It may interest you to know, that as of today, the client is still using the website!

My advice: treat your website designer as you would any other professional such as an accountant, doctor, dentist or lawyer. If your website designer is happy, he will be a great asset to your team.

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