What we've learned about the website design business

We've been in business for 10 years and, as any successful small business, we've certainly learned a few things along the way. Some of these lessons were easier than others but all of them have value for today and tomorrow.

Ten facts learned from a decade in website design and development

1. Good designers are hard to find.

We’re not being trite or patting ourselves on the back. We’re acknowledging a fact: good designers are hard to come by! Maybe we should rephrase that to say “smart” designers. We truly believe that a smart website designer understands coding and technology. He understands marketing and how to create a design that meets the needs of a particular audience. She is able to balance the “pretty” and “cool” with the functional and bottom line needs of our clients.

As we've looked for design talent we have found a lot of people who say they are good designers, but they just don’t bring the whole package to the table. We can say with confidence that when you work with TBH Creative, you are getting good, smart web design. We design sites that are balanced and support your brand. We pay attention to the details and never forget the goals of a site’s design. Ultimately good design helps communicate a message in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and accomplishes a goal. High quality website design is one of the things that has set TBH Creative apart over the years.

2. There are a lot of web design firms in Indianapolis. 

This might have been one of the first lessons we learned at TBH Creative. Our market is saturated with website design firms at all levels of service and results. It may surprise you to hear that this has been good for us. We rely on our strengths of quality and service to stand out from the pack. That’s why we’re here ten years later writing this article.

3. Always do great work.

We certainly wouldn’t still be in business if we didn’t learn this important lesson. We give our best to every level of every project. From strategy to design; from content structure to application development – we love what we do and (we think) it shows. We have built some amazing partnerships with our clients and in the process, created an impressive portfolio – a portfolio of great work.

4. Listening and learning is the most important part of our job.

No, people don’t hire us to be good listeners. They hire us to be good designers and writers and developers. However, to be good at what we do (or to play off lesson #3 – to be great at what we do) we have to listen and learn with each project. Our best work comes when we understand your audience and your goals. That’s why we start every project with a strategy session. Listening and learning is important to us and we have learned that it produces the best results.

5. A lot of people have had a bad experience with a website firm. 

If we had a dollar for every time we have heard one of the following comments over the past ten years, we could retire:

OR 
“They said changes would be quick and easy, but it takes more than a week and sometimes we have to ask several times to make sure it gets done.” 
“We had one meeting focused so heavily on technology that I didn’t understand what was being promised but what was delivered isn’t what we asked for.”
We have discovered that we're in an industry that is sometimes built on lofty promises with less-than-lofty results.  It's one of the things that inspired us to go into business – the belief that we could do this differently and better. We’re not like other website firms and we don’t want to be.

6. A well-designed website is something worth paying for.

When we first started TBH Creative, we learned some hard lessons around competitive pricing for our services. We've never been the most expensive website design firm in the area but we've learned that offering smart solutions and excellent service is of value – and worth investing in. We invest in our talent. We invest our time and skills in our client’s projects. And the websites that yield the best results are usually the ones that were equally invested in by the client.

7. Everyone is a potential client.

Some of our best business has come from referrals – referrals from past clients but also from people who know us professionally but haven’t done business with us before.  You just never know where an opportunity will come from and we’ve learned the importance of walking the talk everywhere we go.

8. Not every client is going to be a good fit.

And that’s okay… on both sides. It’s hard to say no but over the years we've learned that it can be necessary. Our style doesn't work well for everyone but it works for us and it’s what we’re best at. We’re not willing to sacrifice our talent to try and force fit a situation. A good fit is important – and it's worth being selective.

9. The learning never stops.

This list of learning will stop (soon) but our learning never stops. The website design business is a fast-paced one. Technology changes at such a rapid pace that we have to keep learning to be successful. We actively follow industry experts on Twitter, read blog articles, watch trends, and attend conferences. Time away from work seemed counter-intuitive when we were starting out. Now we know that it’s some of the best spent time of our week.

10. Technology changes. 

At the start of every project we research your industry, learn about your audience, and utilize the latest in web design technology. The result is a website that addresses your goals and should be evaluated for changes regularly. Yes, we think our best work should always be monitored. The clients with the most successful websites are those who watch analytic reports, use their content management system to make tweaks, and talk to us regularly about what’s working, what’s not and what’s next.

Wonder what we’ll learn in the next ten years…

We'd love to put these learnings to work for you!

TBH Creative has been in business since 2004 and some of our team has been working in the Internet since its very inception. Interested in putting our talents to work for your company? Contact us to get started.
Tatum

About the author | Tatum Hindman

Tatum is the president of TBH Creative and is responsible for building long-term client relationships. She enjoys the strategy behind web design and sitting down with clients to define online marketing goals. She likes to blog about questions or topics that clients ask about as well as sharing new tricks.

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