Would Our Web Designer Sell Us A Junk Design?

The junk gathers dust.

Web designers are in the business of selling web designs. That is the first business principle for a web design firm, as it is for many other types of companies. Nothing is new here except that the whole purpose is to create business for the owner, and a site gathering dust does not do that.

No one says that a web design needs to create direct sales for any business, but it must connect with the business owner’s market and engage it. If the site doesn’t connect with the market, junk collects dust. It may be a beautiful work, but it still collects dust.

Part of this problem is our responsibility as small business owners. We didn’t go to a web designer and say, “I need a website designed for my web market.” Instead, most small business owners say, “I need a website designed for my business.”

Web Designer

Our market doesn’t care about us.

The difference is about the focus our words create and the intent they give to a project. And when the focus is on our business, it is not on our market. Thus, we end up with something we are thrilled with even though our market is not impressed and doesn’t care.

What our market cares about is their problem, not the looks of our website. They will not share our website with others because it looks cool, but they will share when our business website helps them and educates them about our industry and how to make the best choice for their needs.

Are we being educated on our marketing options?

The chances are that our web designer doesn’t want to go there. Instead, they jump right in, giving us a good look at their portfolio and suggesting how they could customize it and create something totally original for us.


And our fault is that we go for this – not knowing any better. But we don’t believe that it’s our fault. We go to experts to get the best information, and we often talk to a professional with a conflict of interest. This is where the web designer advises us about the product they sell. We may never get clear information about what all our choices are.

For instance:

If the conversations never touch on the low cost of “Pull Marketing” or any price, we are not getting all the available choices. We do not see our real needs if the discussions never discuss the differences between a demographic and a virtual market.

Suppose the conversations never define a marketing profile for our web market (not just guessing about our virtual market). In that case, we are not getting to use the best of what a website can offer our business.

And there are more ifs that the web design industry does not discuss. Web designers don’t talk about our market other than asking us to describe it. It is so much easier for them to design something for us. So, most small business owners have a beautiful site headed for the scrap pile from day one.

To design for our web market, a design firm must know how to discover things about our virtual market that we don’t know. They would need to know about virtual markets and why they are different. Web designers need to know our market’s shopping habits, what our market values the most, and which values we have in common with our market. But web designers, trendy or not, don’t give us any of this.

The solution is in market segmentation.

This is just another term for psychographics. Segmentation divides a geographical or national market into seven segments. Each segment has a psychological profile that describes its shopping habits, values, likes and dislikes, and general beliefs. These are better tools to work with on the web.

Reverse engineer

We could also step back from our own business and ask that business a few questions to learn more about the market it serves.

Once we have put words to the solutions we provide and for whom we offer them, we are well on our way toward knowing for whom our website should be designed. We do not have to accept trendy web designs that have no appeal to our market. These sit and gather dust. We want a site that engages our market, and this means engaging our market. Read that last line again. It’s like saying, “If nothing changes… then nothing changes.”

If our website doesn’t engage our market, it’s just junk.

No matter how beautiful and pleasing it is to our eyes, our job is to ensure that our web designer will think about our market and what would be best for it. However, we shouldn’t expect this to happen. We care more about our business than we do, but we must stop listening to the professionals who only think about us.

A Professional web designer may not deserve all the blame for junk websites, except that they are self-proclaimed experts and expect that we will listen to them. Therefore, the first rule of hiring a web professional is not to let them design our website.


Alcohol scholar. Bacon fan. Internetaholic. Beer geek. Thinker. Coffee advocate. Reader. Have a strong interest in consulting about teddy bears in Nigeria. Spent 2001-2004 promoting glue in Pensacola, FL. My current pet project is testing the market for salsa in Las Vegas, NV. In 2008 I was getting to know birdhouses worldwide. Spent 2002-2008 buying and selling easy-bake-ovens in Bethesda, MD. Spent 2002-2009 marketing country music in the financial sector.