Four Graphic Design Myths Busted
Welcome to a short four-part series of advice tidbits that can help guide you through the graphic design process. The last two months we covered two different myths, “More is More” and “It’s Too Expansive to Hire a Graphic Designer” which you can see in the media tab on my web site http://www.kristalcleargraphics.com. Whether you’re a small repair business with a marketing plan or the VP of an amateur golf league with an annual membership booklet to design, there are some basic art, business and communication principles, that everyone should understand. It might be easier than you think to believe these myths because in the short run it appears to be the cheaper, quicker and overall, easier decision. However, make yourself aware of these pitfalls and trust me, you’ll be better off and more likely to avoid these mistakes.
Graphic Design Myths: #3. Web Sites Horror Stories:
"If I have a bad web site experience, it’s best to stick it out. I’ve already spent so much money with the bad company, and I don’t want to lose my investment. They said they'd fix it this time."
Some other trusted web site designers and I have heard this too many times. Sometimes it’s fun to get spooked, but the horror stories about bad web site companies are nothing to smile about.
Here are some classic signs (and unfortunately true stories I've been told and/or experienced) you might be in a web site horror story:
1) You tell the company you need a web site built, but have a very small budget, actually less than $500. They tell you, "No problem" and with some information and money exchanged you find yourself with what seems to be a great deal for a web site. What they didn't tell you was with such a low budget, they only had time to build you a landing page (home page) with no links or if they include links it's just a pdf they uploaded to look like a web page. This means they uploaded one big picture instead of text and code, which is what search engines use to find your page. I'm not saying you have to spend $10,000 on a site, but you do get what you pay for. At first glance it looks nice, but no one will be able to find it or use it.
2) You've been asking your web guy to make changes for months/years. They keep saying they'll get to it, but obviously they never do. In two different cases, I was the "other" company brought in to make the changes the original company was slacking on. That kicked them into gear at least for awhile, but even that wore off eventually. Not a way to treat your clients, if you ask me.
3. Some companies are more template-do-it yourself web sites allowing the customer to save some money. While they promise and do technically deliver customer service, it's very low quality. I have spent literally hours on the phone with these people who are either uneducated in their own software or poorly educated in a general knowledge of web design, and I really got nowhere ... aside from teaching them some new things.
Now I'm not trying to scare you or use this as a place to vent my horror stories that have been shared with me over the years. But instead, I don't want this to end up in a court case somewhere (yes, I've seen that happen too) and give you some tools to fight the bad web site company villains.
Tools of Advice:
1) Shop around for web design companies, and I don't just mean for price. If one sounds too good to be true, I'm sure it is. The more people you talk with, the more you'll start to understand what you need and what they're offering. My experience with the average entrepreneur is they greatly under estimate what a web site should cost. The more interactivity you want (shopping carts, user accounts, or the ability to make your own changes down the road) drastically bumps up the cost.
2) Use your networking connections for recommendations. Ask about the whole process and what they liked and didn't like about it. Even if you don't go with their recommendation, you'll gain some valuable advice on what pot holes to look out for that are probably common in any web site building project.
3) The web site jargon out there can be tricky and confusing when you're hearing it for the first or even 100th time. Maybe some things I wrote in this article went over your head, but don't feel singled out. You're probably not the only one out there and I would always be happy to explain anything further. In fact, anyone you're working with should be willing to make you feel comfortable in this very large, important purchase you're going to make that could make your business sink or swim.
Kristal Young, owner and graphic designer of Kristal Clear Graphics in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, offers creative services in print, web and beyond. Now specializing in social media design for business identity, you can visit online at http://www.kristalcleargraphics.com or like Kristal Clear Graphics on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/kristalcleargraphicsllc.