Don’t Get Ripped Off by Another Web Developer

If this is your first time working with a web designer, or you’ve had bad experiences in the past, you may be wondering how to tell which web designers are worth hiring and which ones are ripping you off. It can be especially hard for those who don’t have a lot of experience working with web developers to spot a shady web agency.

The problem with bad web developers is that they can be hard to spot. When you don’t know what to look for, the warning signs can be easily overlooked, and you’ll lose a lot of money before you notice you’ve been scammed.

Before you hire a new WordPress web designer in Orlando, here are some things to watch out for.

Signs of a Bad Web Designer

1. No Portfolio

This should be a bad sign right away. If a web designer doesn’t have a portfolio or, even worse, isn’t willing to share one with you, turn away. Even if they assure you that their clients are always happy and they’ve done work for well-known brands, don’t believe them without proof in their portfolio.

There’re really only two reasons a company wouldn’t have a portfolio available: you’re their first ever client or they’ve done bad work in the past. Even fresh college graduates usually have a small portfolio they’re able to present.

With this in mind, don’t feel bad about turning them down if they refuse to show you previous work.

2. Does Work Without a Contract

Not having to sign a contract may sound appealing at first, but it’s a huge red flag. Contracts protect you, and when you agree to work without one, you put your business at risk of being scammed.

At best, no contract means no way to guarantee your project is finished on time. At worst, not having a contract means you’ll encounter many problems related to your website. For example, they might throw in extra fees or increase their price without much warning. Maybe they go back on their word, and you’re left with a basic website that doesn’t function.

Contracts protect you just as much as they protect a web designer. A good website designer will happily present you with a clear contract that determines project dates, hourly rate, and any extra fees or maintenance that they think is necessary.

3. Too Cheap or Too Expensive

It’s understandable that you want to save money, but any web designer that offers to create and design your website for under $1,000 is going to rip you off. You’ll likely be left with a very hollow website that looks basic. You’ll be lucky to get anything aesthetic, let alone fully functional.

On the other hand, however, you should watch out for companies that charge way too much. If a company’s rates are much higher than their competitors, you should look somewhere else.

Even if they promise you extra features and can guarantee that their services are worth the price, there’s no reason for a company to charge so much more than the industry average.

4. No Mockups or Prototypes

Most web designers are more than happy to present mockups and prototypes if you ask for them. They take into account your critiques and suggestions, adjusting their plan accordingly. As you can probably imagine, a bad web developer will not.

Bad web developers will come up with a multitude of reasons for not providing you with a mockup or prototype before they launch your site. They may say it’s not part of their policy or that it wasn’t part of your agreement and you’ll need to pay extra. Whatever their excuse is, it’s not worth it.

Before launching, you should be presented with a final prototype that shows exactly how your website is expected to look. If not, your web developer is probably trying to hide the end result from you.

5. Bad Communication

In business, communication is everything. Good web designers will keep in regular contact with you and ensure you can always get a hold of them. They may have set business hours where they’re unreachable, but you should always feel like they’ll respond promptly.

In web development, poor communication can take on a lot of different forms. Your developer may not be able to or willing to explain technical terms in a way you can understand them. Without clear explanations, you’re left just to trust what they’re doing. However, a good developer will try their best to ensure you understand and explain things in simple terms.

A bad web developer may also be impossible to contact. If they only contact you on their own terms and don’t give you an easy way to contact them in return, it should be taken as a warning sign that there could be problems down the road.

6. They’re on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace

Online platforms like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are great for anyone looking for a DIY handyman or babysitter. However, when it comes to a professional web designer, you should never look at sites like these.

Most web developers on Craigslist are those that are just starting out. While this may not necessarily mean they do bad work, it’s not always the right path for your business to follow. If you want a professional website, you’ll want to go to a professional agency’s website.

7. Focus on Creativity

While an aesthetic website is certainly nice, it’s way more important to have a functional website. When your web designer puts most of their focus on the creative design aspect of development, you’ll likely be left with a website that only performs basic functions with a lack of emphasis on the entire user experience.

Users are quick to leave a website that’s difficult to navigate or not functional. Even if your website is beautiful and very aesthetic, they’ll leave if they can’t navigate your site. Customers expect the entire process to be smooth and seamless. A website that doesn’t allow for a seamless online experience shows poor understanding of consumer behavior.

Good web designers try to put function above creativity, or at least create a good balance. Once they’ve made sure your website is robust and functional, they’ll work on the aesthetics. While a bad web developer will design functionality around your aesthetic, a good web designer will design your aesthetic around functionality.

8. No Organization

If your web designer isn’t organized, they won’t be able to create your website in an organized manner. Most web designers use project management systems to help them remember and organize what tasks still need to be completed and what needs to be worked on first. Project management systems ensure that the work is done correctly and on time.

Without an organization system in place, your web designer has no real way of keeping track of what needs to be done and doing it in the proper order. They may work on their favorite tasks first and save their least favorite for last. When this is the case, you may end up with a website that’s only partially functional.

9. No Strategy

Obviously, a strategy is incredibly important when it comes to web development, but some strategies are vital to your website. Two of them are conversion and architecture when it comes to web development.

Architecture strategy is just as crucial to building a website as it is for building a house. Your developer should be able to present you with a clear blueprint as to how your website will be laid out before they begin the process of building it.

Similarly, having a conversion strategy helps your developer know how to plan out your website. If you want your primary conversion source to be phone calls, they’ll work that into the build of your site. If your primary conversion is online purchases, they’ll make sure your website is equipped for such.


While saving money is important, you should never forget that you get what you pay for. Many so called experts will often be cheaper or seem easier to work with, but you’ll most likely end up paying extra for a good web designer to fix their mistakes. To ensure your website is built properly, pay attention to red flags, learn to tell when you’re getting ripped off, and know when it’s time to find another website designer.

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