How to be a Good "Web Design" Client + Get Results!

Wendy Kelly
May 25, 2016

Here are a few {learnable} things to create a perfect environment for a happy agency experience

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Are you more than a little frustrated by the idiots you hired for your web project?

Yes? Read on:

{editor note: This post is strictly based on Google Trends and keyword research and not based at all on current / past / future clients of Custom Fit Online}

How to Be a Good Web Design Client

So. In the most loving and respectful way possible, I need to let you in on something: You may be a bad client.

"But..." you say. 

Look. I get it. They're idiots. You say you want a bucolic pastoral feel and they give you a bunch of cow dung.

First: Good Agencies Train Their Clients 

In fact, that's probably first, second, and third. Good agencies want healthy happy clients that thrive and grow. 

To be honest, you want to know a little secret? One reason we're so keen to grow your business and help you thrive is that this helps ensure that we get paid.

And if we don't know what the heck you're talking about, it's our job to help guide you. So there's that. But you may be stuck with an agency who hasn't learned this yet.

And in that case, you're going to have to train yourself. And that is not impossible. You've learned to do lots of things on your own. Just add this to the list and get started:

The Care and Feeding of a Happy Client

There are a few {learnable} things that create a perfect environment for a happy, constructive, joyful digital agency experience. 


Matt Inman of the Oatmeal says it perfectly: "I also don't know how to design websites based on someone else's feelings"

You need to know what you want. I know, I know. You do know what you want. You want a great website that brings in lots of business so you can retire early.

But guess what? You really probably don't know what you want. And that is most likely because you are not clear on your brand's story, or you are confusing your personal taste and style with the design process.

Ben Groulx said it perfectly:

"Of course your personal preference may be difficult to see past -- "I hate orange! This will not work!" -- however design is not a matter of taste. It is about producing systems, pieces, structures, and stories that perform well."

A good agency will lead you to your brand's true story, and if you trust them, they will bring out excellent design that reflects your story. 

So the first rule to learn is: Let your agency be the expert. If you don't trust your agency's expertise, really think through why you are with them.

HAve a realistic budget

This one is fraught. When you hire someone to help you increase your ROI, whether they redesign your website, produce a stellar inbound marketing campaign for you, or similar, chances are that there will be a lot of things happening behind the scenes that need to be communicated to you, the client.

Otherwise, you very well could feel like you are paying for voodoo magic. 

The agency's job is to ensure that you feel like you are getting your money's worth. You should ask questions and be given clear answers about work done. Sometimes, you may need to ask for still more clarification and sometimes, you may need to trust in the process. Talk to former clients. 

Your job, though, once you trust the process and feel that you have hired the right people, is to have realistic expectations about budget.

You get what you pay for. And if you are going to haggle about price, you are going to end up with a haggled website/digital experience.

Second rule: Once you've established trust, be flexible/realistic with your budget.

Get Out of the way

Participate in the process. It's your story after all. But once you've established trust, take the passenger's seat and let the agency drive the project.

When they ask for assets, provide them. When you say you will deliver content, deliver it. When asked, give your feedback.

But then get out of the way and let the agency do their work. 

Of course, if you see something you don't understand or disagree with, ask questions. But hold back from actually "helping" too much. 

Third rule: Get out of the way and let the agency do the work you've paid them to do.

Single Point of Contact - not design by committee

Do not bring your mother, best friend, or tech-savvy son into the design process. Have a single point of contact who works with (hopefully) a single point of contact at your agency. 

You can definitely ask for feedback from trusted people around you. You should not show every part of the design process to your entire staff.

Fourth rule: Single point of contact.


Are these tips helpful? What experience have you had with agencies? Do you feel that your agency could have communicated better - and do you feel like you could have been a better client? 

We'd love to hear your comments. 

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