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21 Ways to Screw Up The ROI of Your Client’s Website

By October 10, 2013 6 Comments

More business owners are digital savvy than ever before. A few years back, most of my web clients wanted a website just because everyone else had one, but they didn’t know what they wanted to do with it.

These days most clients understand WHY they need a website and WHAT a great website can do.

If you’re designing pretty websites and you don’t want to know HOW to improve your client’s online results then you’re in the wrong business. Harsh? Maybe, but I’ve always been passionate about all my websites working their butts off for my clients, and the good news is that it’s not that hard.


Nowadays, clients want a website that makes them money. That’s it. So how do you give it to them?

I’m not expecting you to become a digital marketing specialist; there’s just too much to do running a web design business. But, I’m constantly astounded how many web designers don’t pay attention to even the most basic SEO or conversion optimisation.

Take it from me, if you want to survive and thrive in web design you’ve got to become a digital marketing generalist; I’m going to tell you why in a minute, but first let’s do a quick test to see where you’re at right now…

  1. Do you ask what your client REALLY wants out of their website? 
  2. Do you plan out a customer journey before you start building pages?
  3. Do you work out all the site objectives before you add content to your sites?
  4. Do you set the goal page/s for each of your sites?
  5. Have you designed the site to engage and draw the web visitor deeper into the site?
  6. Do your websites visually express a single statement of purpose?
  7. Do you know how to advise your client on creating an online sales funnel?
  8. Do you understand how site navigation affects conversion optimisation and rankings?
  9. Do you know the design & copy tricks that reduce bounce rates?
  10. Do you know how to create trust signals and where to place them?
  11. Do you design calls to action (CTAs) so strong they hit you in the face?
  12. Do you understand the tactics of lead generation and when and where to place them for maximum effect?
  13. Do you understand how web visitors like to read content?
  14. Do you keep up with the latest ways Google ranks a website?
  15. Do you carry out at least basic on-page optimisation for every webpage?
  16. Do you know how to draw a web visitor to become a buyer?
  17. Do you know how to reduce eCommerce shopping cart abandonment?
  18. Do you double check every hyperlink before you send a website live?
  19. Do you ensure your clients have registered for Google Analytics when they go live?
  20. Do you educate your client so they can fully use their site?
  21. And… do you call them after their site goes live to check if they’re getting the results they hoped for?


Come on now, be honest. How many of these did you tick off? One or two? Several?

I hate to tell you, but if you aren’t doing at least 15 of these 21 things then you’re screwing your client’s ROI.

If you think you don’t need to know any of this stuff and that you can rest on the laurels of you being a kick-ass creative designer, well good for you but you gotta get with the program my friend. It’s 2013 and websites are supposed to be business generating machines, not sexy ‘brochure sites’.


The cost of NOT knowing how to design results-driven websites.

Do you know what’s harder than learning a few new digital concepts? It’s dealing with what happens if you aren’t across it.

If you don’t confidently understand how to improve your client’s online results then your websites won’t be effective.

If you don’t educate yourself and design sites with results in mind your client’s websites are going to be dead in the water, and eventually they’ll realise it’s because of you.

Once your clients realise their website is a cost, and not an investment, they’re going to be pissed. That’s really bad on a number of levels, firstly you won’t get the raving fan clients you deserve and secondly you certainly won’t get the referrals you could have. Thirdly, and most importantly, you WON’T have an impressive portfolio of bankable business results to show your next client. But your competitor down the road might!

“There isn’t anything more impressive than dealing with a designer who knows their digital stuff.”
[Click to tweet]

That’s why ignoring this stuff is a massive danger for you, and a massive opportunity for your competitors.

If you hide your head in the sand you’ll find that your annoyingly competitive web designer down the road IS generating web results for their clients and suddenly… they’ll be getting all your business.

That would seriously suck, but guess what? Getting digitally savvy isn’t that hard.

Want to design results-driven websites? You need to understand:

  1. How to attract traffic,
  2. How to engage web visitors, and
  3. How to convert web visitors to web customers.

If your business is anything like mine, most of your web clients are going to be small businesses who only need a little bit of extra business to consistently come in from their websites in order to be happy. And I assure you, with a bit of self-education you can easily handle it yourself.


Website optimisation eventually becomes second nature. 

Nowadays I can look any website and understand what’s working, what’s bringing their results down and how to turn it around.

Like I said, you don’t need to know it all down to the finest detail but you’ll be surprised what a difference it makes when you understand the all main touchpoints you need to hit as you’re creating a website.

If, of course, you get a high end client with a lot of budget who expect a lot of results, there are consultants out there who can help you, but be wary who you bring in; get references, make sure they’ve done it themselves and they haven’t just been the P.A of the guy that did… seriously, there’s a lot of hot air in this industry!


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Being a digital generalist will make a BIG impact on your client’s profits… and yours too!

And take it from a non-techy gal like myself, it’s surprisingly easy once you jump in and get your head around the bigger concepts of digital marketing, SEO and conversion rate optimisation.

One day the term ‘web designer’ will automatically mean digital marketing generalist, and there’ll be more and more tools to make your web designing life easier. But until then, take my advice, get ahead of the curve before you’re edged out of business.

Good luck!

 Bianca Board

 P.S. I teach designers how to master every one of these 21 points (and more) in my ProPartner Program which, if you haven’t seen it yet, is a complete web business in a box solution for design & print professionals. We’ve got 100s of educational videos and downloadable resources plus a super easy web builder that’ll turn you into a web design hero in a matter of days. Interested? I’m offering a 14 day free trial right now, so get it while you can! 

What do you think? Share your comments below.


Author Bianca Board

After 20 years inspiring more than 10,000 designers and small business owners to take control of their business, Bianca is now spearheading Foxley, a brand spanking new SaaS platform for designers. She is deeply passionate about helping distil the complexities of running a web design business - to make it easier for all designers to make the leap from designer to design entrepreneur. She’s a translator of web jargon, a lead generation master, a champion for small businesses and you can Google her brain for endless strategies on how to transform your business.

More posts by Bianca Board
  • Lliam

    Great blog Bianca! I loved the fact that you also back up these words with action on a regular basis. Wouldn’t have been able to get the Corporate Video Guys website up and running so quickly without Web123 taking us through all of these things right from the start. Not even one week live and already turning getting great leads through the site. Keep up the good work and look forward to reading more of these posts!!!

    • Thanks LLiam, I’m pleased to see your website doing so well in such a short space of time. I told you you’d be happy with the results if we spent just a little extra time on web strategy BEFORE we built the site, web smarts pays off every time! :-p

  • Sometimes clients see SEO and digital marketing as just another “cost” and they don’t want to pay for it: we need to make sure that we’re educating our clients properly so that they know how absolutely vital it is for THEIR success – not just their web company trying to make a quick buck!

    • Love your work Elise. Education is key… to almost everything when it comes to helping clients getting a return on their websites. And you know what? I bet your business is booming because of it. Good luck and keep on fighting the good fight!

  • Ben

    That’s a great list Bianca, and I agree totally that to help your client in the best possible way you need to be up to date on everything web. I think the key for a web designer to best help their client is to know exactly how they make money, and how they plan on increasing this using the website. Understanding this will allow you to act on the knowledge and create an effective site that will actually work for them.

    • Yep, agreed. Keeping to the basics of good business is always a good idea. Ask any business owner why they have a website and they’ll tell you it’s ultimately because they want more profits… well okay, I guess a few shrug and look confused by it all. (P.S. these are the ones I look after and educate the most as they need the most help, and they’re usually the most grateful too!).

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