My new website design – gone wrong.

Okay guys, I’m sharing this experience as a means to help someone else
not make the mistakes I made. I’m also sharing it to be real. Things
just do not always go smoothly.

I know, I know…this looks WAY TOO LONG – but, it’s a good story so just stay with me.

8 Minute Read: 

In my last post, I shared about how I’ve been working behind the scenes with a web designer to help me bring the vision of my new website to life.

I was really anticipating launching my new site last week, but after being highly dissatisfied with the way things turned out…I decided against the design. I battled with myself about, “you paid for this! You’ll be wasting money.” In the end, I decided that my
satisfaction was worth more and I would not settle for something to represent me that I did not like 100%. You know what? I’m not sorry about that. You win some…and you lose some (money) sometimes.

The whole thing started a few months ago when I began reaching out to
people asking if they had good referrals for web designers. One person
I reached out to informed me that she did web design! I was so excited! I knew this person, we are not close friends or
anything but, we are old classmates…so there was some familiarity.

She sent me 2 or 3 websites that she said she worked on, and I was really impressed with one of them. It was for a very well known Houston business. It was excellent! I figured, if she could do that one, she could surely execute my dream website.

This was my first mistake. I was only blown away by ONE out of THREE
examples of her work. I should have been blown away by all THREE
before choosing to be a client, but…l figured, it was good enough.
Smh. GOOD.ENOUGH.
After our first meeting I was excited! We discussed my ideas and she
assured me she could deliver exactly what I had in mind. I showed
examples of other bloggers and their websites and how I want my design
to be as impressive as my personal favorites. Again, she assured me.
She quoted me a price that I was happy with, and we decided to move
forward.

We had a basic contract and I paid the first payment (that I was under
the impression was my only payment). She required payment before the
finished product and I was totally okay with that. In this type of
work, I understood that payment was in advance.

It was going good working with her the first month. She was responsive
to me and if she was busy, she gave me a time frame for when she would
get back in touch with me. It was good.

I mean, I have never gotten a website designed before. I didn’t really
know what to expect, so it made me feel comfortable to work with
someone I kind of knew, I felt I could be open and trusting.

We met up for a second meeting so that I could see the design and see
how it looked live. Well, when we met she was having computer
connection issues so I didn’t get to see the design live and had to
settle with screenshots emailed to me later.

I did not feel right about this. I wanted to see what I had put money
down for in action. Again, I settled. I was some what satisfied with
the screenshots and just figured once I saw it all live, it would flow
together. I gave my input and feedback, and this went toward the first
set of revisions.

Fast forward, after two sets of revisions there were still some minor
changes to be made. The font was grainy and there were some pictures
that needed to be placed differently. There was some copy and pasting
of my custom verbiage…you know basic things. She quoted me for 4
additional hours of work time to complete everything. I was taken back
a little, especially since I had already paid an amount that she
initially said would be my fee.

But, this project was taking some time
– I understood that. I had her to break down the scope of work so I
would know exactly what was being done to finalize. After she
delivered an explanation, I agreed…and paid for the additional 4
hours.

At this point, I’ve got to be honest…I was still not being wow’d by
what I was seeing. But, in my head I was thinking that it would look
amazing once done. You know, like an unfinished house…you get the
idea from the blue print, but seeing it complete is so different!
That’s what I was thinking it would be like with my site. I just kept
saying, “it will get better!”

After she finished the additional 4 hours of work, she emailed me and
said she would be invoicing me for 7 MORE hours of work because,
things were taking longer than expected.

Wait. No. MORE MONEY?!

I was so lost…how are these minor revisions going to take 11 more hours?
At this point, I figured that delivering a quality website was no
longer the motive…it seemed like money was becoming the motive. I
was getting discouraged.

I explained that I could NOT afford another 7 hours of work. I
explained that she gave me a break down of the work, and said 4 hours
would be enough. Where is this extra 7 coming from? I was getting
pretty annoyed by it all. One thing I hate is feeling taken advantage
of. She agreed to just complete the site at no additional fees…but,
from that point on…things shifted.

Her responsiveness to my emails and texts began to lag. Instead of
same day responses, I wouldn’t hear a thing for 2 days. Not even just
to say, “I’ve been so busy! I’ll reply to you soon!” I mean, common
courtesy was out the window.

We agreed that my website would be ready by August 25th. The 25th
came, but no finished site. Not until the 27th did I get a text that
it was ready. Not a detailed email, but a TEXT. A series of
texts…that should have been an email. I tried to piece together the
long messages that were coming to my phone out of order. I was
overwhelmed.

You guys…when I looked at the site on desktop and mobile
versions…my heart sunk. My excitement flew out the window and I was
soooo disappointed!

This.is.not.amazing.

I was so confused to see things that had been CHANGED without my
approval and for the font to still be pixelated (blurry). Like,
really?! She actually said, “oh yeah, I forgot to tell you I changed
that.” Excuse me? You changed something I specifically asked for, and
you have no good explanation for me? How unprofessional is that?

So, I let her know that same day that I wasn’t satisfied with it. She
did not reply the me until two days later.

By this point, I was so upset! I kept calm and professional…but I
was really let down. How could she just drop the ball like this?

After some more back and forth and more 2-day-later-responses from
her, I decided I would not use her design at all. I sent her a
detailed explanation as to why and explained my dissatisfaction as a
client. I told her I was open to discuss it and guess what…she did
not reply at all. It’s been over 4 days now.

This experience taught me to never settle and always go with my gut!
It taught me that even if I’m knee deep into something…if it doesn’t
feel right, turn around. I have the right to change my mind.

It taught me that I have a right to be picky, especially when my coins
are involved. It taught me to ask MORE questions, and do not settle
for less than quality service.

If I’m 100% honest, I have to say, I knew that something about this
arrangement was not going all that well…but I was so excited! I let
my excitement overpower my better judgement and intuition. I will not
do that again.

I would like to encourage you all to go for what you want. Go for what
you deserve and remember you always have a choice – even if some money
has gone out the window. I could have settled and just kept her design
up on my page, you know, cause I paid for it. However, my heart said –
YOU BETTER NOT. I can’t promote something I’m not happy with.

I could not LIE. If I acted like I was proud of the site, it would
have been a lie.

So my advice is – do your research! Make sure you love everything that
a designer presents to you. Their portfolio needs to be impressive
before you sit down and discuss anything. Ask for testimonials too.
Also, do NOT be afraid to be picky…these are YOUR dreams, don’t
water them down for anyone or to make things easier for someone else.
Especially for a professional who claims to know what they’re doing.

I’m not defeated, just delayed. I paid an expensive price (literally)
for a valuable lesson. Some people think they’re professional and some
people actually are professional. That’s okay, everyone has to learn
and I hope she actually learns from this and that she delivers for
someone else in the future.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep the blogs coming as long as you all
will read.

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