Warning! If you want to hire a web designer, read this article before you take the next step. It may just save your life. Okay, not your life, but it could keep you from getting burned by a dirty little trick used by many web design firms. Don’t let them pass off a cheap template as a custom website design.
Don’t Get Ripped Off By Web Designers
Yesterday, I received a LinkedIn invite from a name that seemed familiar, but I wasn’t 100% sure who they were. After some research, I realized that it was from a lead who had contacted me about a year ago looking to redesign their website. We did a Free Mockup for them, but ultimately they decided to go with another firm. Sometimes it happens for one reason or another.
Of course, I was curious to see what their new custom website looked like and quickly clicked on her company’s URL. Wow, was I ever disappointed. The site looked pretty generic to me; especially considering the company’s sizable budget. The more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that something wasn’t right.
I checked the site’s source code which can tell you everything you want to know about a website. Sure enough! The website was using a pre-made template for design. In other words, their “custom” website was a duplicate of thousands of others. It was not custom-made for them.
This was a +$20,000 project and the “website agency” they hired used a $58 template sold to the general public on themeforest.net.
I messaged my contact for the project and asked if she knew her new custom website featured a pre-made template.
She did not. She was horrified and understandably upset.
So was I.
I wasn’t upset because I didn’t get the project, but because these type of tricks give the entire web design industry a bad reputation.
Know What You are Getting
Unfortunately, many so-called “web design firms” are just in the business of selling cheap templates.
Listen, if you’re looking to save some money and want to hire a designer to help populate or modify a pre-made template, that’s fine. No problem. As long as there is full disclosure and you know what you are buying.
But if you think you’re buying a ‘custom’ website and end up getting a template, that is just bad news all around.
So before you hire a design firm, check them out!
Check to see if the company’s website or any of the websites on their portfolio are using a pre-made template.
How do you do this?
Watch this brief tutorial video or follow the instructions below:
Instructions on How to Check for Templates
- Get on Chrome or Firefox
- Check out the web designer’s portfolio. Pick a website that they designed and developed.
- Pull up that website and right click on their homepage. Select View Source Code.
- Select ‘Find.’ On a Mac, this is Command + F, and on a PC it is Ctrl+F.
- Find ‘theme.’ You should see code that says wp-content/theme/name-of-theme
- Check the name after the /theme. If it’s a custom WordPress theme, then it should be the name of the website. There are ways to fake this, but that is harder to spot. If the theme isn’t the name of the site, then copy that name.
- Go to Google and type in ‘Wordpress theme ‘ plus the name of copied theme and hit enter. If it is a template, then one of the first results will be that theme name.
Other Signs You Aren’t Getting a Custom Website Design
- You do not get photoshop mockups of the site before development.
- The designer says ‘they can’t’ change that. Usually, you have to stay within a strict framework when working with templates.
- The word ‘Custom’ doesn’t appear anywhere on the website of the design firm.
- All the websites in their portfolio look the same. They use the same layout and the same framework.
- Their contract mentions ‘custom header graphic’ or only certain graphic elements as custom.
Wrapping It Up
So there you have it. A dirty little secret revealed that most web design firms don’t want you to know about.
So, if you want to make sure your new website isn’t a built on a cheap pre-made template, do your homework and investigate the portfolio of the companies you want to hire.
Or better still, let me make you an offer you can’t refuse. We’ll design a completely Custom Designed Mockup of your new website before you sign or pay for anything.
Want to learn more? Click this link to check out our offer. It is 100% risk-free.