So you’ve had this website for a minute, you’re not starting fresh. However, you and your web designer have parted ways, and you’ve got multiple problems:
- You need someone to maintain your website.
- You need someone to handle future updates.
- You’re not sure how to make either design changes, or content changes.
So, it’s going to be easy to find another web designer right?!
Actually, it might or it might not.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve been looking for someone to help you, but they’ve either refused to take you on, or the ‘help’ confused you and your website more than you were to start with. So now you’re asking: Why won’t these developers work on my site?
Below are some of the most prevalent reasons, myself or another developer might refuse a project.
Building websites (the right way) is very often a time-consuming job. When there are many projects cooking on the stove, it’s not hard to rack up 60-80hr weeks. Not having the time is the easiest reason to give, and most devs will tell you this upfront, but it’s also one of the hardest problems to get around.
The solution: Patience and follow up.
Reach out once a week, call or email your designer/developer to check on their workload status. It’s my own experience that most good devs need high lead times. That’s a good thing for you.
Website Size And Scale
Freelance developers, are rarely equipped to handle large projects, and agencies don’t do many small jobs. As a potential client for these services, knowing the most you can about your website is a crucial to getting the best service for your business. Spend some time auditing your own website and content, and know the history of your website. How many people were working on your original site? Was a single freelancer, or a small team? How long did they work on the website? How many actual pages do you have? Make a list of all your URLs. Make a catalogue of your images and associate them with each URL. This is actually one of the BEST things you can do for your website.
The answers to these questions, and having an audit to hand before you approach another freelancer or agency, will save you a lot of time and money. More importantly, you’re a lot more likely to find the right person or people to help you.
Platform, Technology & Methodologies
Websites are clearly not equal. What is used to build them runs the gamut, and are often boiled down to the designer’s preferences. Most devs choose a methodology (or a few) and will not digress for any number of valid reasons: cost effectiveness, established learnt languages and methodologies, rapid deployment, streamlined workflows… there’s a long list. Asking a dev with an established way of doing things that works for their business model, is like asking a brain surgeon to work in a war time triage room. Because their both doctors, doesn’t mean they have the level of experience and can handle each other’s specialties interchangeably.
Even if you’re using the same platform that the dev/agency is using, there is never a guarantee that they will be able to deploy the work they do on the server your website is hosted on. Knowing your web hosting package and it’s capabilities is part of the process of understanding your business and how it runs. When you first approach a designer/agency, let them know these factors upfront as it can make a huge difference in them taking on your project.
Build Quality AKA “This site is shit”
Ahhh… there’s often no gentle way to put this. If your website is shit, built on a paper straw structure, with more than five pages in HTML, is visually ugly and sporting a horrific logo designed in 1982, and running on Wix, GoDaddy’s web builder, or even a poorly implemented WordPress website, chances are you’re unlikely to find someone willing to go into that code and ‘fix’ it for you.
This is often the hardest part to explain to potential clients, but it’s the number one reason why I refuse certain clients and projects.
I’ve had to refuse ‘logo redesigns’, where the client wanted their exact logo, just replicated, because they lost contact with their designer and no longer had the original. The logo sucked, and was holding their entire brand back, but they refused to budge on a redesign, and I let the project go. The potential client is still at the same business level they were two years ago, because everything about their brand and platform their clinging to for dear life.
Working with a poorly built website or graphic design element, is like trying to put a dress on a pig, or decorating a house with fine furnishings, and it’s foundations are built with unfired sand. No matter what skill you apply to these projects, you will fail to produce growth and revenue for the client. If you choose to cut corners with Wix, Shopify, Weebly etc, or got shilled by a less than honest dev, or outsourced to India, most decent designers and devs will refuse the project unless you agree to a redesign.
If an experienced, reputable dev tells you your website needs to be rebuilt, suck it up buttercup, cut your losses and find the budget to do it, because the site you have will invariably kill all your dreams.
A site with hundreds of pages, built on a dodgy framework, is just too risky. I hate working on a big site with a weird content management system (or none at all) that was built by someone else. Even if the system is a good one, I’m not likely to be familiar with the tools used. When I accept a project, I have to be responsible for it. If something goes wrong with this installation, and I don’t know how to fix it, it hurts me either financially or my reputation. Also, I know no dev who wants to comb through 500 miles of code I didn’t write and don’t recognise looking for the specific reason to a problem, and I won’t be taking on such a thing for peanuts and monkey money.
If you’ve got a high risk site, be prepared to pay a premium for maintenance if you expect someone to take it over.
FEEDBACK OR QUESTIONS?
We moderate comments, but I absolutely enjoy your comments and any opportunity to help your web slayage reach epic proportions. Chat to me!