Recipe for Avoiding a Half-baked, Unprofessional Website

Because of increased Internet access and usage, it is a must for businesses and organizations to establish a professional website. The challenge is often finding a qualified web designer who can quickly capture your vision to deliver an impressive website that meets your expectations. In this article, I will point out the most common factors that can lead customers to a half-baked website and provide advice on how to avoid such mistakes. Let's get started.

The first common miscalculation is when a customer chooses the cheapest web solution for their organization’s web presence by “renting” a $5 to $10 per month templated website from web hosting companies who flood the Internet with their cheap web services. What these providers actually do when you subscribe to their web services is provide you with a cookie-cutter templated website.

You then populate the website with your content. Next, when you have questions and need support—and it’s inevitable that you will have many questions—you are welcome to call them and “your call will be answered in the order it was received.” Guess what? In order to make money at those rates, these providers have to make it up in volume, which means that on average there are always a large number of clients assigned to each tech support person when you try to call in.

Limited Budget? How To Find The Right Website Designer
Limited Budget? How To Find The Right Website Designer

While trying to get your website to work, you will jump through many hoops, incur many headaches, and waste much valuable time. This is when you realize that the website is worthless, and your high hopes for a respectable website are crushed.  If you are able to stand your ground and invest the additional time and money for the programing services and fees needed to bring your templated website to an acceptable result, it will have cost you much more than you ever expected (not to mention the frustration you will have endured).

Some customers are able to lose a few hundred dollars in this type of situation and see it as a learning curve, but the damage an unprofessional website can inflict on an organization is much more costly than the lesson it provided.

You have missed a significant number of opportunities during the whole fiasco because your website did not represent your business well to potential clients. Thus, my advice is to stay away from these offers to avoid being hooked like a fish, only to be yanked left and right at the end of their fishing line. It’s rarely a good result for the fish.

The second unfortunate situation is when a customer chooses a local solo freelancer to design the website. Most often, this person knows a little of everything from design, programming, and search engine optimization (SEO), but very often is not an expert at anything. The end result can be an average design with average features. You are not gaining optimal benefits from the presentation of your website or the SEO information and results.

If the website is not user-friendly, potential customers will lose interest very quickly and your bottom line suffers. Do you really want a website that rates “Average” in the minds of potential clients? I think not. In today’s consumer landscape, most people expect a professional web presentation from the provider they choose. Therefore, what is the chance that new customers would choose you over the competition when your website is merely average?

That said, you should choose an established web design company for your website projects. They will have dedicated departments for design, programming, written content, and SEO to focus and enrich each element, because they are experts in their respective fields of service. Together, you will establish a professional website and set your business web presence far beyond that of your competitors.

The third instance to watch out for is the temptation to hire a web designer who “used to do” web design or programming through a recommendation of a friend or relative. While it might be a fun part-time project for that person to dabble a bit in web design and coding, it will not be fun for the business owner who wants a professional website that represents them well. The expectations of the designer and the business owner are most often worlds apart.

This type of provider-customer relationship rarely starts with a well-defined contract. Instead, there might be a few conversations about a low-cost website that will get things going. Yes, it sounds good, but the end result is a much different story; and once again, the website turns out half-baked. The customer loses time, money and credibility. To top it off, there are often personal relationships that suffer because the friendship-basis agreement did not work out as anticipated. I strongly recommend avoiding this route, not only to ensure an effective website, but also to preserve treasured relationships among friends and relatives.

The fourth unsuccessful circumstance is when the customer chooses a cheap overseas provider via the Internet without legitimate representation in their country of residence. Yes, there are many overseas companies that can do great work, and sometimes even better than companies in the U.S. However, if the service agreement contract is nonexistent or unenforceable, what happens when the final product doesn’t meet the customer’s expectations? How will the customer get their money back?

Right. They most likely won’t. Therefore, I advise that if you want to hire an overseas web designer at least make sure it is a legitimate company in your country with an enforceable service contract to protect you. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing your total investment in time and money.

These are the most common situations that can lead customers to a half-baked website; and hopefully, you come across this article before making your website design investment. If you find this article helpful, please share it with others. Thanks!


Phong T. Nguyen

BA from St. Olaf College
MBA from University of St. Thomas
SEO from "the School of Hard Knocks."