Are you a WordPress designer? Good, then this post is for you. If you’re going to design for someone, design. Don’t just install and activate a theme, or framework and child theme, installing necessary plugins, and THEN just add their content, and tweak a couple CSS elements for $500… spending not even 2 to 3 hours of time (really it was more like a little over an hour) on the project and no consultation or training to the client.
This is a ripoff and an insult to what a designer or web designer is. Anyone can do that. And it has happened. Its not exactly illegal, but it can be considered unethical. And others may think its opportunistic… which indeed it is.
I recently acquired some clients that had worked with a respectable colleague in the WordPress community that is screwing people over. (One who speaks at WordCamps too. I will not name them. I already chewed them out. I went as far as apologizing to their former client for having to experience such a bad designer.) The person doesn’t even offer design services anymore and only teaches people these days. Its fine that they teach as obviously they can’t design worth crap, but they have designed in the past, and those people landed in my lap.
It pisses me off to know. Yep, I’m angry! I take this seriously. I’m sure some of you reading this also take this seriously. This is not a lecture to you, but to those taking advantage of people and calling themselves a designer.
I understand when a client is bootstrapping, but if they’ve gathered enough money to start up a site, then they are going to come to you again to take their brand to the next level if it works for them from the starting gate.
Side Tip For the Client Looking for a WordPress Designer
Here’s a big word of advice to anyone shopping around for a true WordPress web designer. If the designer works with a framework and child themes of that framework, and can’t make that site at least 50% different compared to the child theme (if they have examples in their portfolio), you might want to seek another designer if you want to start on the right foot to helping them have a brand. No business owner really wants their website to look like thousands of other ones.
Here are some tips for clients that are shopping for a designer:
- Don’t accept a ‘no’ from a designer unless it doesn’t fit your budget. WordPress can do just about anything.
- Be prepared to have a set budget and be up front with it. If you like the designer… ask them what could be done with your budget.
- Go around and window shop around at different websites. See what is going on in your niche and brainstorm a general idea of what you might like. You need to be somewhat active in the development of your website and overall brand.
- Always ask questions.
How to Become a Better WordPress Designer
I consult both business owners and WordPress designers and developers constantly. I’ve been doing this almost as long as I’ve been using, designing, and developing with WordPress alone (12 years combining WordPress and b2.) I am challenging you (those who call themselves WordPress designers) to do better.
Seriously… as Deepak Chopra says (paraphrasing)… instead of thinking outside of the box, get rid of the box. Your imagination in design can be a what breaks a business or allows it to start on the right path.
If you’re a designer that has few graphic design skills, find someone who does it well to pair up with. Having a theme available should be considered as a base to improving and making that site into something else, especially since a lot of themes, both free and paid are used by hundreds, and sometimes thousands, or even tens of thousands of people.
Challenge yourself and your client by not just choosing a theme, but also:
- Color palette
- General mood or vibe your client wishes the site to exude
- Consider what the client truly needs on their site
- Break out of the typical habit of going back to the same exact style by experimenting and studying new styles of design that are acceptable web practices.
- Be prepared to think in terms of helping to deliver a product that may help your client start converting visitors into subscribers, loyal readers, and even buyers.
Its okay to have some set design packaging, but you should also explain your individual flat rate per hour, which has helped determine those other rates. Its a whole different game if you have a whole team of designers working on a project, but the hourly rate, any overhead costs, labor, and consultation time in the end quote has to be justified some where.
Yes, there will be design jobs that might be tens of thousands of dollars depending if you are charging at least $100 per hour of your time, but that better produce some damn good work!
Charging like the one person I mentioned earlier is not acceptable. It shows a lack of care and that they aren’t a designer by profession.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree with me that it is unethical? If not, why? Do you have any other pieces of advice to share on this?