Small Biz Owners: Don’t Get Bullied by Your Web Designer!

Don't Let Your Web Designer Bully You!Y’know what really burns my butt (besides a flame about 2 feet high)? It’s when web designers employ tactics that essentially intimidate small business owners into using their services or hold them hostage through their domain and hosting accounts. So I’d like to share these tips on how to protect yourself from having it happen to you.

Here are three ways you can ensure you won’t be pushed around by a web designer:

1. Buy your domain name outright. Your domain name functions sort of like a deed. It states that you own a piece of “property” on the web. You wouldn’t give your web designer the deed to your house. Don’t let them hold the “deed” to your domain (the dot com or dot biz, et cetera that is your web address). Be sure to reserve the domain name you really want when you want it, even if you don’t build on it right away. It stinks to finally decide to launch a website only to realize the URL you’d chosen two years ago is no longer available. There are countless domain registration services available on the web. I recommend that you choose one that offers hosting as well. That way, you keep all your services with the same provider. There is a kind of serenity in simplicity.

2. Purchase your own hosting. If we liken your domain name to a deed, then we can liken your hosting account to the foundation, walls, roof, windows and so on of a house. Having a hosting account gives you the materials for building a web site, so to speak. I personally recommend GoDaddy to my clients based on their awesome support and great specials, but there are many other good hosting providers out there as well. (On a side note, the platform that you choose to build your website with, be it WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, HTML or a drag-and-drop builder like Wix, Weebly or your hosting provider’s brand, can be likened to the window treatments, carpeting and furniture you choose to decorate your home with.)

3. Educate yourself. Attend a workshop or seminar, get a WordPress For Dummies book, or work with a professional who trains laypeople to have a hand in maintaining their own web sites. Even if you don’t plan on being primarily responsible for updating your site, it’s always good to have an idea of what’s going on behind the scenes. It empowers you to own your online presence!

One final note: when looking for a web designer for your small business website, I recommend you choose one who is willing to work with YOUR domain and hosting, not someone who will insist on you using THEIR domain and hosting services.

[Yep, this article contains affiliate links. If I’m gonna recommend something anyway, might as well make a couple pennies on it! I only recommend things I truly use and love myself!!]

teach-to-fish-give-a-fish_blogAward-winning web professional Bonny Clayton, aka Your Web Chick, offers web design, support and maintenance for small business, with a specialty in WordPress.

A Tech Geek with a Creative Streak℠, she helps small business owners and entrepreneurs everywhere establish and maintain their online presence. She is committed to serving them according to their needs, whether that means “giving them a fish” or “teaching them to fish”.

your-two-cents2Got a story about a web designer you worked with and/or how you were rescued from the clutches of such (no naming names, please!)? I invite you to share Your Two Cents in the comments!


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    • Ann on August 17, 2015 at 8:57 am
    • Reply

    Oh lord! The stories we’ve heard….and as we dumped our 1st designer, and ,miraculously found a great one in the family….as a SMB owner, YOU are paying THEM for a job. If it does not meet your approval, and if they try to tack on new additional fees, by all means, find a new designer! It may be their business, but it will affect the success of yours. And to be honest, this can go for the hiring of any person in your life….mechanics, home improvements,etc.

      • on August 18, 2015 at 11:25 am
      • Reply

      I’ve heard some stories, too, Ann! Believe me!! Often, it’s a horror story of some poor small biz owner who’s been taken for a ride and now they need to be bailed out 🙁 Makes me angry to think there are people out there taking advantage just because they can, because some people simply “don’t know any better”. That’s why I try to educate fellow small business owners about obtaining a website.

    • Damon Burton on September 21, 2017 at 5:38 am
    • Reply

    Educating yourself as a business owner is very crucial. Don’t just depend on your web designer and his services. You have to make sure that you know about how websites are being created and how they work. It’s the only way that you can be successful in your business someday.

    1. Agreed, Damon. That’s why in #3, I recommend attending a workshop/seminar, working with a professional for instruction or grabbing a book like WordPress for Dummies. Having even just a basic understanding of how your website functions empowers one to own one’s online presence!

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