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Red Flags

10 Reasons to Politely Decline a Web Design Gig. Source: Webmonkey

When you're in that first round of meetings with a potential web design or web development client, there are certain statements, revelations or bits of information that serve as huge red flags.

Here's a list (submitted by a designer friend who shall remain anonymous) of the biggest all-time deal-breakers:

  1. He can't stop telling you about how horrid his last developer was.
  2. He wants to make sure you can build his site so it will show up first on Google.
  3. He's already got a list together of 100 words for his meta tags.
  4. There isn't much money for this job but it could really lead to a lot more work down the road.
  5. He wants to know if you are flexible about your deposit.
  6. He explains that you will be responsible to his organization's "website committee."
  7. He wants to know if you know how to "do Flash."
  8. He wants his start-up site to be "kinda like eBay."
  9. He could actually build the site himself but he just doesn't have the time.
  10. He's looking for a new "webmaster."

Submissions by visitors

  • There's a trade show next week. We need the site up by then. It has to look really strong.
  • The web designer must have a good sense of humour. In other words we will form a committee that trashes your work and come up with a design that incorporates all members' ideas. We need you to implement this by end-of-day tomorrow.
  • The all time true classic. We received the following letter addressed from an inmate from a nearby prison.
    This letter comes to request a bid for designing a Web Site. Basically what I want to do is have a website designed for me that charges people $9.95 or $19.95 who access the site. The site will tell a 5-page short story of how I became a millonaire in prision. I am also looking to obtain a domian name. I also need you to maitain the site, as I have no internet access. I have advertising already lined up through newspapers, business cards and possibly billboards.
  • We would like a complete detailed proposal with all of your good ideas and make sure you list the price next to each one like a menu so we can evaluate them.
  • "I want the graphics on my page to look, 'jaggedy... but soft'."
    "How come I don't show up first in Google?" "For which keywords?" "All of them."
    "Can you make it so they have to send me their email address before they can see anything on my website?"
  • "My website is down!" "It is loading fine for us here. Can you pull up any other websites?"
    "No."
  • I had this one just last week after submitting my quote: "You're way too expensive. This is what you're up against - I have a company that can do a homepage design from brief in 20mins and then a 10 page website for £100"
    My response: Good luck with that.
  • "I want to be the next facebook and my budget is $1200" - Actual call from not to long ago.
  • "Can I pay you in CD's - they make great Christmas Gifts" -Actual Call around last Christmas
    Needless to say his website is no longer up.
  • Funny how we all get the same. I love the My cousin... Splash Page - Under Construction etc.. :-)
  • http://don.citarella.net/index.php/2009/06/04/wtf/
  • If they say in the first meeting that they're going to pay you $15/hr. (which I was okay with because I'm just starting out), and then when you tell them you're going to get started, they tell you they can only afford to pay you $10/hr. and only can afford to pay you for 5 hours each month!
  • Just design something around my logo, or anything very vague like that. I spent 6 hours making something around one company's logo... And they hated it.
  • I want a splash screen with just my logo and a "enter here" button...
    /run away
  • I want an exact copy of domain.com, and all its functionality, and since it's already built I should be able to get it for less than $1000.00. Since x functionality exists and is popular, I think you should already have it and I should get it for no...
  • He understands that you know ActionScript, PHP, SQL, etc... but he still doesn't understand why you didn't mention HTML.
    "Okay... so do you know HTML?"
    Are you kidding me?
  • He complains that he hates all the websites where you have to scroll from side to side. It dawns on you that he only has an 800x600 monitor.
  • How about the classic "I cant afford the fee right now but am certain of the success of the business based on the website so can you do the work in return for a share of the company?, you'll more than make your money back in the long term"
    ..... run...
  • "I want to see what you can get done in an hour"
    "we are going to send you $150 to develop some mock-ups when can you get started?"
    "Can you sign this non-compete?"
  • I do understand your sentiment regarding IE6, and any developer worth his/her salt will try their best to support it. But you must realize that, in most cases, users using IE6 is not your primary target audience. There may be quite a lot of them, but do you really think there is enough to necessitate developing a site for IE6?
    Support, yes... focus, no.
  • This is a somewhat valid point. Developers that are "playing" rather than working should be paid as such. But those that do get their work done should not be punished in any way. This is hard work, no matter what you believe it to be, and it is very easy to get burned out. A little bit of screwing off on the web is actually proven to help the quality of work, so let it go.
    (they took down the link, but here is the link anyway... http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30010342 )
  • Showing up late is inexcusable, I would agree completely.
  • I am sorry, but many people I have met with a PhD is just as ignorant as everybody else. Sure, they are experts at their field, but if you were to throw something outside of that small slice of knowledge, they are just like everyone else. We don't tell them how to do their job, they should not tell us how to do ours.
  • Good List... I have an addition from a story the other day, you're expected to be a web developer but aren't allowed access to the internet http://seanreiser.com/content/its-2009-internet-access-required...
  • This is just from ONE of my website clients years ago, before all the little tricks of the trade came out... "I want my website FORMAT to display exactly the same on all computers(PC or Mac) & browsers the same without scrolling on the homepage...."
  • "I want a border graphic, to show up on all computers and browsers the same."
    "Would you cancel your weekend plans to revise my website at my house?"
    "I want my website to display the same exact colors in the same hue and saturation, brightness and contrast on all computer screens."
    "Is it possible that you could give me a discount on your web creation rate?"
    "I want every computer to display this font for my webpage." Even though some people will not have THAT font installed on their computer.
  • Calls received frequently on Friday night 6:30pm, while I am at a restaurant with friends after a few drinks on a long holiday weekend. "I need my website revised, and I need it done before Sunday because I am having a meeting with other investors to review it. Can you take notes right now on all the desired changes?"
  • "I have a bunch of graphics I want created in particular colors and dimensions that I want to appear a certain way (3D) in a certain color."
    "I only got 20 hits on my website in the past hour? I should be at the top of all search engines." Even though there is hardly any text on the new website.
    "I want people in China to access my website and do business with me." Even though China has restrictions on viewing some websites, and his website is written in English and has nothing interesting.
    "I don't like the website graphic color." "I don't like the format." "I don't like this text." "I don't like that photo." "Can't we get photos online without paying for them to use on my website?"
    "Aren't there services that will keep me at #1 of all search engines? I receive the emails(SPAM) ads everyday."
    "You submitted my URL to ___Search Engine yesterday, why aren't I at #1 today?"
    "What do you mean I need keywords and text related to a search? Won't just entering the word _ (common word) be enough for everyone to pull up my site at #1 on all Search Engines?"
  • He insists on a reduced rate before you've discussed fees, but assures you of plenty future work if you do a good job on this one!

Friend Sites

Op 21 maart 2009 is mijn boek 'De Paarse Panda' gepubliceerd. In dit boek beschrijf ik hoe het voelt om longkanker te hebben en ongeneeslijk ziek te zijn verklaard. Het boek barst van geluk, positiviteit, liefde, creativiteit, levenslust, verwondering en optimisme maar dat laatste brokkelt heel langzaam af door teleurstellingen en het moeten verleggen van grenzen.