• Shock is the only way to describe a conversation I recently had with a colleague. She had just invested a pretty penny (well, more like thousands of dollars to have a website created). Of course she was elated to finally have birthed the baby — so to speak.

    When she asked me to take a peek, I immediately saw one BIG GLARING ISSUE.

    The call to action was below the fold (meaning anyone who visits the site would have to search and click around to find her “free” taste).

    So, I asked a few questions about strategy and what she ultimately wants to accomplish with her site and explained that “you’ll lose the gold if it’s below the fold” which translates to your “free taste” needs to be readily available and visible when people visit your site or you’ll lose interest and possibly sales (eye tracking studies support this).  She responded by saying her web designer said that couldn’t be done design-wise because it would interfere with design integrity. WTH?

    While I believe in good design, I also know for a fact that designers can incorporate what you need in your site to make it really work and they should regardless of their beliefs about “design integrity”.

    The bottom line is that you pay for your designer to deliver a design that is not only eye catching but also supports the main function of your site which should be to symbiotically build relationships and create a money engine for your business. If you’re interested to learn more I’m happy to review your site and give you action items you can implement or delegate right away. Check out my Manyon Marketing Web Makeovers here www.writeoncreative.com 

    You know your strategy and what you ultimately want your site to do and the bottom line is it should be working for you to develop relationships and increase your bottom line.

    To recap:
    • My friend spent thousands of dollars on a site that is supposed to build relationships and generate sales.
    • Even though she told her designer this was her strategy she was met w/ resistance.
    • So she settled for web flow that is not as effective as it could be because,  in my opinion, the designer was overprotective of his/her design work and didn’t understand the strategy to create an online relationship building tool/money engine.

    This in my opinion is a travesty.

    You should get what you pay for and that means your designer should respect your requests. It can be done. I’ve seen it.

    There are many competent designers out there who will deliver what you need to create an effective online structure that supports your business goals. But you must make sure your strategy is clear and that they can deliver what they promise (always check references and look at samples BEFORE hiring).

    Are you clear on your website strategy?

    Have you compromised the flow of your website because of bad advice from a designer?

    I want to hear from you.

    Lisa Manyon is "The Business Marketing Architect" a content and copywriting strategist for mission-driven entrepreneurs. She's the creator of the NEW marketing model for success (as seen in Inc. Magazine) that's changing the way people market today. She specializes in powerfully communicating your marketing message to increase results via Manyon Marketing Web Makeovers, website copy packages and content strategies to effectively market your business. She offers a free Copywriting Action Plan and marketing resources on her award winning blog. Her consulting and coaching is known to help produce million dollar results www.writeoncreative.com/blog


    45 responses to “The State of Websites: Why You Shouldn’t Always Listen to Your Designer”

    1. This happens more often than not, and it is a huge money-pit if not stopped immediately. If it doesn’t sound right, get a second opinion, just like we do with Doctors.

      Thanks for sharing such insightul information, Lisa. We all need to be reminded of the basics as to why we create websites in the first place…and yes….I’m spreading the “love”. 🙂


    2. Lisa Manyon says:

      Hi Ali,

      Maybe I should create a web designer questionnaire that people can use to determine if the designers they are working with fully understand Internet marketing, sales funnels and relationship building. Hmmm….I need some more coffee but I’ll think about that. THIS is so important and I’m really saddened when people are not supported in the way they deserve so their business will FULLY support them.

      Write on!~


    3. Tom Lehner says:

      that is so true. I have made the exoerience that Webdesigners, not all but alot of them, are more interested in producing their own art rather than showing the real me. I always drive them nuts by being involved and actually telling them what I want. A design should be a reflection of me in cooperation with my PR manager whos job it is to make the real me look good in public while the webdesigner is the one with the technical skills to make all this happen. Thank you for this great and awesome post you speak right out of my heart.

      God Bless

    4. Lisa Manyon says:


      So, true and in defense of designers — They do have a gift that I don’t. I personally draw stick people.

      Often the biggest mistake of all is NOT being clear on our own strategies and expecting designers to create a web strategy for us when their strength is usually the design. So, we all must play our part and when it is our business, we should have the strategy in mind before we bring a designer on board. 🙂

      Write on!~


    5. Sue Painter says:

      I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how true every sentence you wrote is. Designers are not marketers. And, entrepreneurs are not designers and don’t often understand the IMPLICATIONS of the answers they give to designer’s questions. This is a super blog post, Lisa!
      Sue Painter

    6. ouch! the pain of spending and not getting results.

      All this can be avoided by starting with clarity. We really do need to do our research (inside of ourselves as well as in the market).

      We need to know the results we want from having a website.
      This is where you come in Lisa! Your marketing and copy skills are genius and really help the website process run a lot smoother.

    7. Lisa Manyon says:


      You are so correct — it’s all about strategy and really utilizing the strengths of each talented individual. Without a strategy no website will perform pretty or otherwise. 😉

      Write on!~


    8. Lisa Manyon says:


      Yes, clarity is key. It’s interesting that so many people assume that because designers design sites that they’ll automatically know how to advise on marketing strategies. This is not always the case. The bottom line really is that we as business-people are responsible for our own clarity. It’s not realistic to expect designers to be mind readers or to know what you need in place to make your business run online (and of course the opposite applies).

      Write on!~


    9. Kiyla Fenell says:

      Being new to the online business world I can see how someone can walk into this blindly and easily trust the person they hire to build their site. Your article gives key points that everyone taking their business virtual should follow if they want a site that SELLS vs. tells. Thanks for the post.

    10. I’ve spent a bundle in the past on websites. I don’t recall our designers putting our “FREE” above the fold. That is a great tip. I can see how that can stimulate double, triple or more the follow through. Thank you Lisa.
      Dr. Robert Fenell

    11. Lisa Manyon says:


      Yes, this is true and it’s also up to us to do research so we know what works and what we really want our site to do. So many people expect other experts to be “mind readers” when it comes to site design and it really all boils down to strategy.

      Write on!~


    12. Lisa Manyon says:

      Dr. Fenell,

      Yes, this can greatly increase your conversions. Your website is a relationship building tool. I liken it to inviting someone into your home for a cup of tea. When they get there, as a great host, you’ll generally give them their tea (or wine) right away and make sure they feel welcome and comfortable. From there they begin to enjoy the atmosphere, they want to enjoy your company more(get more information) and perhaps stay for dinner (or invest in products/services). 🙂

      Write on!~


    13. I had this happen with my web designer too! She changed the name of my signature product slightly by adding the word “simple”. I had to be really firm to get her to change it back!!! WTH?!!! too. Great article!

    14. Amen! Amen! Amen! SOOOOOOO TRUE!! Thanks for shedding the light and spreading the word on this issue. Love yourself and your business enough to have your team work FOR YOU!! ? Katherine
      Life Blossoming Systems

    15. pam perry says:

      This is sooooooooooooooo True. I shared this in my friendfeed and will share with my author clients. Keep up the good work. I’m following you on twitter now too>


      Pam Perry

    16. Lisa Manyon says:

      Hi Linda,

      Yes, these things can happen and often it’s a matter of communication. I found that when I really took ownership of being the “project manager” for all facets of my business things got REALLY clear.

      Write on!~


    17. Lisa Manyon says:

      Hi Pam,

      Thanks for sharing your twitter handle. I’m going to zip over there and make sure I”m following you, too.

      AND — I really appreciate you sharing the good word. 🙂

      Write on!~


    18. Lisa Manyon says:


      I love how you bring #SelfLove into this. It’s so true. As a business owner you have a responsibility to run your business in a way that supports your goals, team members and clients. This means being crystal clear on purpose and intent and VISION. 🙂

      Write on!~


    19. Anita G. Wheeler says:

      Staying with your authenticity and clear vision can sometime be a challenge and particularly when it comes to conveying that vision to a designer. I have certainly had my own challenges in that arena and learning to clearly ask for what I want has been a journey in itself. I think I may have earned a PHD
      in the college of “experience”.

      Great article Lisa!

      Millionaire Mindset Strategist

    20. Ellen Martin says:

      Hi Lisa,

      Great advice! I think that when we set out to build our websites we aren’t always clear on what we’re trying to accomplish with the site. So, it’s very easy to make the mistake of sacrificing function for design. I tend to trust the experts, but designers aren’t necessarily experts on web strategy. Fabulous information!

      Thanks for sharing!


      • Lisa Manyon says:

        So true, Ellen,

        Even though I understand how this all works and am clear on my strategy, I pull in experts and mentors to help me, too. It’s all about continued growth and learning. I still like my site to be beautiful and represent my brand. It’s totally possible to do both…just strategically. 🙂

        Write on!~


    21. Lisa Manyon says:

      Hi Anita,

      Yes, sometimes our own lack of clarity is what holds us back. I’ve been there and done that and write from experience, too. 🙂

      Write on!~


    22. Yes, Lisa we have to educate ourselves first and then stand firmly in our desires for what we want. I truly understand the designer wanting something outstanding with their name on it, but we are the ones buying the service and have the final say.
      Good on ya for helping with our education!

    23. Lisa Manyon says:

      Hi Lynn,

      Yes, and make no mistake — I have a GREAT respect for designers but if we are not first clear about our business vision, we cannot expect others to be. 🙂

      Write on!~


    24. Thanks for a great post Lisa – I think it is a great idea for you to create a designer questionnaire or checklist. I use a greal chick in NZ Jody from Big Fish WebDesigns and the thing I love about her is that she understand marketing as well as being a great designer – her own website has all the goodies above the fold and little if no scrolling – I am about to change my original “Brochure site” over to a funky, modern, useful and great flow site with her. Having the strategy right up front makes such a difference.
      All the best
      Heidi Alexandra
      The Living Leaders Advocate

    25. Pinky McKay says:

      I love your idea of a questionaire lisa, its such a learning curve especially as we take business onto being more web based. I agree though, it is up to us to research and direct and work cooperatively with designers.


    26. Lisa Manyon says:


      Yes, I have much of it already — just need to rework a bit and package. I developed and taught a series of business trainings for the Idaho Small Business Development Center and one of the topics is branding/image and what to look for before you invest in a designer. I smell a mini product on the way. 🙂

      Glad you found a great designer. I’ll check her out, too as I am always getting requests for referrals.

      Write on!~


    27. Lisa Manyon says:


      I am beginning to realize I really need to package this knowledge to help people who are just starting out. I think it could be a really nice, affordable entry level road map to help the get rolling.

      Thanks for your support.

      Write on!~


    28. Lisa — I have personal experience with this issue also. I had a website designed for my law firm a couple of years ago, and while the website is pretty, it does nothing to help me meet my objectives. With my current businesses, I’ve taken the completely different approach of using marketing and copywriting experts (YOU!) to help me focus on my message and less on how “pretty” my site is. I will move toward a more beautifully designed site, but the content and layout is much more important.

      Such a great post and one I need to share with everyone I know!


      • Lisa Manyon says:

        Hi Jessica,

        I’m always happy to help. AND, I’ve learned from experience. I started with a strictly flash site and no opt in. I’ve come a long way, baby! Although I still love my flash and have interfaced with a blog to make it more visible. 🙂

        Write on!~


    29. Wow Lisa. Ouch! Good wake up for those who could be bullied by “experts” into something that is not only not going to fulfill on their strategy, but could actually sabotage it entirely.


    30. Mitch Tublin says:

      A great post for anyone initially working with a web designer. I know first hand how true everything you wrote is in the real world. You will save your readers both time and money by posting your article.

    31. I have created most of my sites myself because I couldn’t find a designer that respected my requests. They couldn’t understand the marketing side and just wanted to make things pretty. I am so glad that I am in good company with you on future projects. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    32. Hi Lisa,

      What a great blog! Every single thing you wrote in this blog is 100% true! Regarding your comment on being clear on your webflow – this is where utilizing a true professional copywriter, like yourself, is worth more than its weight in gold!! You can help direct and steer the ship if the web designer tries to push you off course and onto the rocks!! A great copywriter keeps you “on” your message! I know from first hand experience – you took the time to understand my message and then walked me through, line by line, to make sure we stayed true to it!
      Dr. Patty Ann

    33. Lisa Manyon says:


      It’s not really about being bullied. I think many designers believe they are doing the right thing artistically but don’t fully understand the business and marketing angle of things. Once I realized this it made all of my projects a breeze because I acted as project manager, provided direction and then let the creativity flow where it should from the design point of view.

      Write on!~


    34. Lisa Manyon says:


      Stay tuned — I’ll be posting and article this week that goes into more detail about what your website should be doing for your business.

      Write on!~


    35. Lisa Manyon says:

      Dr. Patty Ann,

      Thanks so much. It was a pleasure working with. In my opinion the world would be a better place if the copywriter and designer collaborated more. It would definitely be a win-win for the client. 🙂

      Write on!~


    36. Marc Harty says:


      When I ran a web development company we worked with a lot of clients that had baggage based on past relationships similar to the one your colleague experienced.

      Since we followed a web usability approach I advocated the following: do the information design FIRST then the graphic design. Unfortunately, a lot of web designers jump right to the graphics and ignore information design or give it short shrift.

      The good news is there are many good web design individuals and companies that do things the right way. I’m happy to recommend such folks if needed.

      ~ Marc

    37. Lisa Manyon says:

      Great points, Marc!

      Yes, I think it’s important to be clear on strategy and have resources to recommend. I’ll keep you in mind when the inquiries come my way. I only have a couple of people I can recommend and would love to start partnering with some savvy designers to provide web/copy packages that really work for the customer.

      Write on!~


    38. I had a similar experience! Fortunately, I fired the guy after having “only” lost my deposit. It really irritated me that he seemed to think his design was more important than my copy or my business mission, and he would not be convinced otherwise. I was delighted to discover a long-time friend who was also a long-time web designer knew the real deal and designed a site for me that works. At this moment, there is a small glitch, but before long, my free taste will be in the header on every page. For now, it is high above the fold on the home page. And one more thing, my site is flexible and can be changed quickly and easily. I look forward to having an assistant do those tasks for me, but I will always want the ability to do them. Thanks for a great post, Lisa!
      .-= Susan K. Morrow´s last blog ..Antithesis of the Atheist =-.

    39. Lisa Manyon says:

      Hi Susan,

      Great to hear from you and so sorry you had that experience. It’s important to find the right designer for your project and it sounds like you did after too much trouble. 🙂

      I cannot wait to see what you’ve done with your site.

      Write on!~


    40. Phil Dyer says:

      Fantastic advice, Lisa…you are one smart cookie!

      Thanks for sharing your wisdom…

      .-= Phil Dyer´s last blog ..Enter the Entrepreneurial “No Fear” Zone… =-.

    41. Lisa Manyon says:

      Hi Phil,

      As always, your support is appreciated. Now about that wine…

      Write on!~


    42. Vera Pascal says:

      Thanks for the plug Lisa! Most designers try to pay attention to their customers needs but Web people run the gambit as far as talent/expertise/knowledge. Finding a Web company that can reflect your vision is quite a task. At Seattle Design Group Website Development we listen to our customers and offer a wide variety of expertise from Web Design, Programming and Animation to Seach Engine Optimization and beyond. Check us out at http://www.seattledesigngroup.com.

      • Lisa Manyon says:

        Hi Vera,

        Yes, I feel very blessed to have you on my team. Your design is incredible and you’re always willing to listen to my latest vision. I am constantly getting FABULOUS feedback about the work you’ve done on my site.

        I love what you told me once about websites being like individual snowflakes… so true. I am glad you have the creative vision to ensure each of your sites is unique and not a cookie cutter system.

        You are so appreciated.

        Write on!~


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