I received a phone call from a very frustrated prospective client the other day that I’d like to share with other people who might be thinking of starting their own website design businesses or shopping for a website designer. Here’s a tip: Hey all you web designers! Take care of your clients AFTER you finish their website design. Sound simple? Apparently not.
I recently had to make a change to my website maintenance services because I was simply unable to keep up with the demand for changes to websites that I didn’t design myself. There apparently are many, many website designers out there who are willing to create a website for customers, but have no intention of maintaining it over the long haul. I get regular calls from folks – so many in fact that I typically no longer can handle these small change requests – primarily because I’m committed to making sure I can take care of my own clients.
I changed my website maintenance offerings because I wanted to make sure there was adequate time in my work schedule to promptly (usually in 1 week) respond to maintenance requests from my clients. This is important to me because website code is easily changed, especially by the person who wrote the code in the first place – and service after sale is critical to customer satisfaction.
But I guess there are many less responsible web designers out there, who have figured out that doing website maintenance is less lucrative than doing new website design. Well, this is true. At least short term. I believe to build a successful long term business, you need to make customers happy. If they call you for changes and you tell them it will take you 3 months to do them, they won’t be quite as happy.
This is what happened recently. A fellow had his website designed by someone who was also doing the web hosting. (Note, this is one of those things I strongly recommend against – separate your web hosting company from your web designer). The web designer went on vacation, the website went down…and that was it. Phone calls went unreturned and the site stayed down for not days, but weeks.
The fellow then went on to tell me he moved his website to another web design/hosting firm. Now he wants to make some changes to his site, but this website company is telling him it will take 3 months to do these changes. Which sent him ballistic and looking for yet another web designer.
So this prospective client was spending today frantically calling web designers and unlike other companies, I answer my phone myself. I listened and told him what I services I offer and sympathized with his situation.
When you’re shopping for a web designer – look for someone who will not only do your initial website design, but who will support your website over time.
Small businesses undergo change and small business websites should change with them. Make sure your web designer supports their work AFTER your initial website work is finished – or you may wind up in a similar to this fellow – desperately calling one web designer after another looking for someone who will make changes to his existing website.Jill
Aldebaran Web Design, Seattle
Jill Olkoski has a BS in Engineering, a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She delights in using her advanced technical and psychological skills to help small business owners develop cost-effective and successful websites.