Web Design Companies – Are Your Clients Struggling To Get You Content?

Author : , Date : August 22, 2014

Web-Design-Companies-Are-Your-Clients-Struggling-To-Get-You-ContentHow many times have your clients had unrealistic expectations about what you were doing for them? No matter how well you communicate, they don’t seem to understand that you build websites. You don’t create content. That’s the responsibility of the business.

Yet, the client is expecting us to help them with something that we are really not qualified to do, right? And that’s write their content. It’s a frustrating cycle that I’ve talked with fellow web designers about over and over again over the last ten years.

But there is a deeper problem. I’ve written extensively through this blog that businesses simply don’t know how to communicate properly with their clients, both online and offline.

I remember in 2006 I was meeting with a prospect that wasn’t happy that his website was being found on Google and he was getting a lot of hits, but no one was contacting him about his services.

Well, why would they?

His site said nothing, meant nothing and helped nobody!

His content was all about his business and had nothing to do with their site visitors.

Unfortunately, not much has changed I’m sad to share. Too many businesses are still treating their websites like brochures and advertisements. Even their blogs are filled with content about how great they are or who they just signed as clients, or some other meaningless content.

Yet, they don’t understand how they could spend all this money on a website that wasn’t helping them?

After all, the site looks great, the links all work and it is functioning just the way it is supposed to.

Except that the people that land on their sites don’t know what to do so they don’t do anything…


Who’s Fault is It That No One Knows What Do When They Land On Your Website?


Over the years, I’ve heard this story more times than I care to admit. It goes something like this:


Client: I spent all this money for a website I’m getting no ROI. Why?

Web Design Company: Well, you didn’t pay us to drive traffic to your website, you payed us to build a website. Remember we told you in the beginning we are not copywriters or SEO specialist.

Client: What’s your point? What good is it to have a site no one buys or contacts us from?

Web Design Company: I understand, but we did exactly what you asked us to do. I’m not sure what else I can do for you?


Now the client is really upset and the web design company is at a loss for words. When expectations don’t meet reality, there is always disappointment.

In some ways, both parties are to blame.


Let’s answer that question…


Why the Business is to Blame


The business is to blame because they have never thought long and hard about their business. A web designer can only put in content and arrange it according to the content that they receive.

If a business owner and their team have not taken the time to master their business and learn how to position themselves in the marketplace; then what can the web design company really do to solve that problem?

Not much. Web designers are creative people who love and understand layouts, colors, the power of images and site architecture.

However, they are generally not marketers and writers. That is an entirely different set of skills.

It’s up to the business to know:


  • Who they are…
  • What business they are “really” in from the public’s point of view
  • What problems they “really” solve for their clients
  • Who they solve the problems for
  • How to find where they are hanging out at
  • How to create the strategies, goals and objectives to find them


cookingIn a previous article, we introduced Tom, a chef and restaurant owner of a very upscale and pricey restaurant. No one had ever mentioned they saw his site and the visits on it were extremely low.

After talking with him for a few minutes, it was clear that Tom was a chef, not a business owner.

However, he never took the time to think deeply about his business and how to articulate it beyond the obvious.

And that is where business owners make their first mistake.

You should be able to say in one or two sentences who you serve and what makes you different than everyone else. Tom couldn’t do that.

So I jumped in to help him and here is what we came up with in just a few minutes time:


 “… Restaurant is an upscale, warm, inviting place to experience the absolute best meal you’ve ever had.


In fact, he went on to guarantee it or your money back. This one line alone will forever change his website and his messaging.

It’s simple and easy, right? But getting there wasn’t.

It’s always a business’s fault when they cannot help their web design team because they don’t know their business.

When you know your business you can help anyone you hire in the future to help you with:


  • Web design
  • Copyrighting
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • And more…


Why It’s Partly the Web Design Companies Fault


Web design companies have to learn to do a better job in some cases of helping their clients. You are not business coaches or marketing specialists, right? But many present themselves as though they are and then they end up getting in trouble with some clients. This is almost always unintentional.

We have to admit our limitations and that we do not know it all.

But, somehow in the sales processes we unintentionally present ourselves that we do and then create an unfair expectation to the client that many times comes back to haunt us.

Remember what I said above, when expectations don’t meet reality, there is always disappointment.

I’ve seen it time and time again.


What’s the Solution to the Content Creation Problem


There are a number of options. A web design could partner with a copywriter. That’s a great thing to do!!! However, your new client will still be in the same boat if they don’t really know and understand their business.

We have created a new one-of-a-kind program that we call “Content Creation Consulting for Web Design Clients.”

What we do is take them through four homework assignments that are designed to help them:


  • Learn what business they are “really” in
  • Learn what problems they “really” solve
  • Learn who they solve them for
  • How to find where their audience may hang out
  • How to wrap their products and services around helping their prospects and customers


Our goal is to teach your clients how to message themselves by talking with them about their needs and problems instead of about themselves and what they offer.

If you change the message, you increase the engagement and opportunities. Right?

Each client has four homework assignments that help them do this. It’s challenging, in-depth, and it helps them create their content for you throughout the process.


This process is not designed to create sitemaps and the website, it is designed to help them get their head around their business so that they know how to present their business and help give you what you need to create a stellar website.


After doing this process for with several clients we have found real success.

Here is what a few of our clients had to say:


 “Don is an experienced business owner and is gifted in understanding websites, marketing and sales processes online. More importantly, he has an in-depth understanding of the psychology of online salesmanship. He creates top of the line websites that inspire and motivate site visitors to take action because he has created an innovative process where both he and his client learn as much about your business together as possible so that the website can communicate your uniqueness online. This process not only helps build your website, it also helps business owners think through more clearly and concisely about their business. I highly recommend Unveil Digital Strategies.”

Deanna Wharwood, Owner, The Veterans’ Coach





“We have been in the horse racing industry for over 20 years and decided it was time to catch up with the times. At first I questioned the process, but it turned out to be very beneficial to our business and most of all, to the finished product. As a result we learned about ourselves and the industry we work in and were reminded about why we do what we do. Not only did they provide a nice product; they provided a great service with professionalism and patience. Since our site has been launched, we have received numerous contacts that have lead to additional business and business opportunities.”

Rachael Maddox, Maddox Racing and Bloodstock




If you’re a web design company that wants to solve the problem of how do you help your clients create content that is meaningful and helpful for their website visitors, please take a moment to visit our landing page and learn how I can help you and your clients!!!

For a very low cost, we can together help your client feel good about their website and put them on the path to success in their business.

Click here and learn more or to contact us today about how we can help you as you help your clients achieve their goals online.


If you have a question or comment please leave one below, I would love to hear what you have to say.


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Don Purdum

Don Purdum

Don works with businesses to help them discover who their customers are and what business they are "really" in. He is an award-winning blogger and branding / marketing consultant.
Don Purdum
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24 thoughts on “Web Design Companies – Are Your Clients Struggling To Get You Content?

  1. Hi Don,

    It’s kind of mismatch with many clients.
    When you build website for any client then they expect to drive some traffic at their blog but they forget that traffic can be drown only when they work hard at their blog.
    No one can predict clients desire.


    1. Hi Ravi,

      That’s why in the marketing and sales process I inform them that they have to do some work with us. I have five homework assignments that is all about their business and helps to create their content and gives them great ideas to create blogging strategies and articles from.

      IT really works!

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I’ll be by your blog this week!!!

      ~ Don

  2. Hey Don,

    Interesting points you said there man! Thanks for sharing and when it comes to clients, I love to tell them the truth.

    Of course, underselling is always better than overselling. Haha! ~If you get what I mean.

    Thanks man for sharing!

  3. I started blogging before getting into web development so knew the importance of providing value to visitors through blog articles. For someone new to the web I’ll set up their site and social media accounts and explain that for real success they need to be proactive, create content and network. They know upfront that just having a site online won’t guarantee increased business. If they don’t want to do this themselves I’ll provide that service too.

    Saying that, having any sort of website is still better than not. If I’m looking for a local product or service through directories I’m much more likely to use someone who has a website where I can find out more. Do you agree?

    1. Hi Sue,

      No question, I agree that having a well built website is a good and helpful thing. However, it still must be a high quality site that functions well. Very few if any are going to stay on the site if it doesn’t give them what they are looking for or solve a problem or meet a need.

      Some may be there just to get a phone number or address… So whatever their reason it is still essential to have a basic website at a minimum that makes it easy on the site visitor.

      However, if you’re wanting to get real business from the Internet a brochure website isn’t going to help you as you know. Still, something is better than nothing.

      I am so excited to hear that your up front with your clients about being proactive if they want to get the most out of their websites.

      Thank you for encouraging me. As I read your comment I just kept thinking; YEA!!! YEA!!!! YEA!!!! She’s AWESOME!

      I hope you have a great finish to your weekend Sue!

      ~ Don

  4. Hi Don, Excellent article as usual, thanks.

    The problem is – as you point out – one of education. Many years ago when I first got a website in the complementary health niche I had NO IDEA that getting the site was only the beginning of the story. And my website designer seemed to assume I knew much more about it than I did. Years later and I’m STILL learning.

    Hopefully awareness is increasing that “getting traffic” is NOT the same as “having a website”. Sadly, in some circle, I’m not sure that it is!

    1. Hi Joy,

      It really is a process of education! I’m so sad to hear that your web designer at the time made assumptions. I could be, as is normally the case, they don’t really know themselves. They are web designers, not marketers.

      One of the problems in our industry is the isolation of many web designers. They have very few connections with people who server the same audience they do but in a different way. They try too hard to position themselves as experts in everything hoping to get money…

      The truth is that they are experts in web design, not in content generation, social media marketing, SEO, etc…

      Now, the other side of the equation is that most people will get scarred off when you start talking about referrals to other companies that can really help them and then you start adding up the cost. It can get expensive really fast.

      Then the prospect starts shopping and finds a one-stop company that claims they can do it cheaper. The truth is; you can’t if it’s going to be done right and well.

      So, we have to really work to find the right people to do business with and offer them a way to step them into what they need and can afford. Create a strategy and plan for them that they can understand, follow, and execute.

      Hope that makes sense Joy?

      I do hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!

      ~ Don

      1. Thanks Don,

        It does. In fairness to the guy if he had started talking about the costs really needed, as a tiny start-up business, I would probably have run a mile and never got started at all. At least this way I have learned, albeit the hard way!


  5. Hi Don,
    You’ve made many valid points in this post. One that comes to mind is that the web design companies are partly to be blamed. I agree with this opinion because they tend to act as “business coaches” and in the end never meet the expectations of the clients.

    Proper communication of what is to be expected is important so that the client would know whether the web designer would provide content or not! It would still be to the advantage of the web designer to guide the client properly in things they don’t understand – even by explaining the difference between building a website, adding content, SEO, and social marketing etc.

    On the solution suggested, I agree that partnership is required with copywriter. By the way, the “Content Creation Consulting for Web Design Clients”program is revealing. The listed ideas are quite practical.

    This post was found in kingged where it was shared and upvoted.

    1. Hi Sunday,

      It’s interesting you bring that point up Sunday. Many web design companies do act like business coaches and they don’t have a clue about business. Many of them don’t even run their own businesses well.

      Communication is the key to a successful partnership between a designer and a client. That’s why systems and processes are so important. Yet, few have very good ones and one of the biggest complaints I here about web designers is their lack of communication and follow-through.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective Sunday. It’s really appreciative and you may have given me an idea for a future article.

      I hope you have a great weekend!
      ~ Don

  6. Hi Don
    You pointed a very valid point. Many businesses expect if they develop a website fully optimized and indexed it means it will go up in search ranking just on the basis of its on-site SEO. This is possible if all people write in search engine window simply the name of the website.

    To get higher traffic means to put higher number of contents in your site with complete on-page SEO if you can wait and both on-page and off-page if you want quick results.

    Yes a web designer don’t deem fit to point out this issue while accepting an offer to build a website. He does tell the complete truth related to his job only otherwise businesses will be confused on such a detailed required task to get higher rank. It is all because of lack of digital awareness of businesses that they overexpect from a web designer.

    Thanks a lot for sharing a wonderful post this time again.

    1. Hi Mi,

      It’s a challenge for web designers and their clients for sure. It takes years of learning business and creating and developing processes so that a web design company can really help their clients.

      It also requires them to get clear on who they are and who they are not. If you’re focusing and making promises in areas where you cannot really help them, you better get help and quickly!

      Thank you as always for stopping by. I appreciate you Mi!

      ~ Don

  7. Hi Don,

    Wonderful. I’ve been blessed in that most of my freelance clients come to me with a vision. If they didn’t I’d lead them in the direction you’re goading them to move into.

    How can you receive help if you don’t know what you need help with? This simple question shows how clients need to approach a developer like yourself.

    The secret lies in inspiring clients to get super clear about their business, so you have a clearer idea of how to design their website. That level of clarity will help them build their much needed content, or to hire a freelance writer like me to help create the content for them.

    Building a clear vision makes this consulting thing so much easier, right Don?

    Awesome post.

    Tweeting through Triberr.


    1. Hi Ryan,

      I enjoy reading when people get it! You have to be clear… I learned a long time ago that clarity + focus = execution.

      If one those is missing you are going to struggle.

      It’s funny, while my company builds websites, I’m finding myself pulled more in the direction of consulting and coaching. I really LOVE it! It’s something I see myself doing more and more of.

      See, there is a clear vision for my purpose.

      Thanks as always Ryan!

      ~ Don

  8. Well said. I think your point on the importance of becoming clear about what business you’re in is something many businesses fail to do – let’s broaden that, bloggers fail at. I occasionally mentor new authors and even they need to think in terms of what their focus and brand is to effectively communicate with their readers. Thanks for the great information and advice.

    1. Hi Marquita,

      Many businesses overlook that one I think because it’s never really talked about or discussed that much. We do what we think is important or that which we are trained to do. Unfortunately, many business owners are not trained on how to be business owners.

      Thank you for your comment, I hope you have a great weekend!

      ~ Don

  9. Very good post, Don. As usual you raised some interesting points. Thanks for sharing this on Kingged.com

    You are definitely right that clients have unrealistic expectations, but to be fair to them – they don’t know any better. Most think that just by ordering for a website to be designed for them, it would include everything – design, content, marketing, etc. Unrealistic of them, as you rightly pointed out, but they think their dollars should get much more.

    So, as you also rightly pointed out, it’s the responsibility of the web designer to specifically spell it out to the clients exactly what it is they will do, from start to finish, to prevent such unrealistic expectations.

    And since the client might not know how to proceed with the content and marketing, it’s a good idea for the web designer to point them in the right direction, as they should know better than the clients.

    I like how you helped Tom, the chef and restaurant owner come up with the awesome slogan. Whether you partnered with a Copywriter to come up with it or not, you are right about web designers partnering with copywriters. You end up giving the clients more value for their money, and no harm to charge them extra for that, of course, 😉

    Anyway, very good article, as usual. I have “kingged” this on Kingged.com and hope others will too.

    1. Hi Kingsley,

      One of the biggest battles we face is the reality of unrealistic expectations. I have even had very clear, deliberate conversations with clients and still…. well you know where I’m going.

      So, when I put this process in place a year ago for my own company it changed everything. They had skin in the game, they know they are responsible, and they know that if they don’t do the work they won’t get the results.

      That’s why I’m excited to bring this to other web design companies as well. Now, I guess it’s time to figure out how to market this service to other web designers so that we can help them with this exact problem.

      I hope you have a great weekend Kingsley! Thank you so much for stopping by.

      ~ Don

  10. Awesome Don!!

    Like you, I’ve seen my share of sort of the same issues! It’s like you’re expected to fix or suggest what to do in order to fix the clients plumbing, when you’re really the electrician!

    And they need a plumbing expert! Not an electrician that also does plumbing on the side! Or wise versa!LOL!

    I’m so glad to actually hear you articulate this ongoing problem out loud! Because it is definitely something that I’ve suspected about the web design industry for quite a while!

    And as I was reading you excellent post, I was immediately thinking JV’s! Then, you mentioned how a savvy web design company should do just that! And i thought bingo!

    Only now I’m truly starting to appreciate the barely untapped potential of pursuing the web design industry in terms of their industry on and offline platforms and creating targeted direct response type of articles.

    Demonstrating how they are more than likely leaving a ton of long term previously untapped back end profits on the table, simply because to this point, they have not been able (or willing) to discover how to expertly partner with other suitable experts, such as yourself and help their clients with SEO, social media or content creation/marketing concerns!

    In fact, I probably need to get with you asap about possibly sending some of my offline clients to you, once they finally acknowledge that they definitely need a website and or blog!LOL!

    Because I’m primarily a direct response small business/service provider type of hands on marketing consultant.

    Thank you so much for sharing this excellent post and for shedding light on a huge ongoing, untapped potential goldmine of possibilities!!

    1. Hi Mark,

      I like your word picture… plumbers doing electrician’s work and vice versa… that’s a great way to illustrate how web designers are creating unintended consequences.

      It really is a catch 22 in the industry because the overwhelming majority of web designers are not business owners. They don’t know how to make that transition from employee / technician to running and growing a business.

      If they can’t market, message, and even present themselves properly how are they going to do it for their clients? They are not. It’s just not their skill set.

      I would love to get with you over a call or Skype and get to know you better and learn how can help one another. I’m all about giving and helping others.

      Thank you for all your kind words. Please jump over to the contact page and shoot me an email and let’s schedule a time to chat.

      I hope you have a great weekend!

      ~ Don

      1. Boy, was I so hoping you’d say that Don! Because if nothing else, I feel the time I can spend with you will be quite educational and profitable!

        I’ll sign up for your free 30 minute consultation bud! Thanks so much!

        And I definitely look forward to it! Take car and please be on the look for me,once I set that appointment!

        1. Hi Mark,

          Thanks for your kind words. I’ll look forward to getting your email. Once I get the email, I’ll email you back to set-up a time that works for us both.

          I look forward to chatting with you!
          ~ Don

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