The #1 Biggest Mistake Web Designers Make Selling Websites.

By October 23, 2014 27 Comments

People often ask me how we manage to sell and launch 40 or so websites every month.

I don’t have a team of 100.

I don’t spend more than $2,000 per month on advertising.

And I don’t churn and burn clients.

The answer is simple…

We don’t get all wound up about the platform the way almost every other web designer does.

Or the bandwidth.

The host.

The technology.

The colours.

The features.

The plugins.

Argghhhh it does my head in when I hear how designers are pitching themselves to prospects.

All they do is talk about all this functional, technical, platformy crap.

The main culprits are WordPress designers and developers if I’m completely honest.

Why does WordPress have such a cult following anyway?

I mean, yeah, it’s a great platform but IT’S JUST A PLATFORM people! Hello?

And it’s one of many.

I know a ton of small business owners who loathe WordPress and find it really clunky and tiresome to use. And I know a lot of other small business owners who love it too.

Good for you if you’re a WordPress fan, I have nothing against it, but you’re reading this because you want to know how to sell more websites and I feel compelled to tell you where you’re going wrong.

It makes me sad that so many web designers are saying they want more clients yet they fail to get the basics right.

Most designers and developers go on about WordPress like it has some Superman like, platinum-plated, super natural power that will make a business a screaming success overnight.

It’s complete BS.

Every platform has its kryptonite — yes, even WordPress!

And don’t get me started on how many web designers bang on about the fact that, and I quote:

“You can take it and host it anywhere because it’s open source.”

Why the hell would you want to encourage your clients to leave you and host it with someone else?! You’re pretty much subconsciously saying this:

“Hey, I’m probably going to let you down at some stage and piss you off so much that you’re going to want to leave. So as an added bonus, when you really can’t stand working with me anymore because my service is so crap, can you take your website wherever you want and F-off in a jiffy, okay?”


Whatever happened to blowing clients away with service so incredible that they NEVER WANT TO LEAVE YOU?!!!

Uh-huh. Exactly my point.

The platform is NOT where it’s at people.

It’s like the tyres on your car…

Do you really give a rats whether you have Dunlop, Bridgestone or Goodyear tyres on your car so long as when your foot hits the brakes, you stop? Of course you don’t.

And website platforms are no different.

Clients don’t care about the platform.

They couldn’t give two shits about it. It actually makes them feel stupid when you start talking about it, did you know that?

And so help me God if you use acronyms and jargon! Where’s my ruler?! I need to slap your knuckles right now! LOL

Most clients don’t even know why they’re asking for a WordPress website — it’s just because some nerd told them they had to get one so they can take it anywhere. *Face palm*

They don’t know what bandwidth is. Nor do they care.

They don’t know how much storage they need. How would they know that?!

And the vast majority certainly don’t understand why it is they need a ‘so called’ superior platform like WordPress.

They just need to know that it’ll work. Period.

Stop asking these stupid questions about technical shit and stop carrying on about the platform and you’ll finally be able to stand head and shoulders above your competitors.

Because I guarantee, most web designers around the globe are all the same.

They’re all saying the same spiel, talking in jargon, selling on fear, uncertainty and doubt and trying to make people feel stupid. Not intentionally, but that’s what happening.

Seriously… if you sell on these things I’ve mentioned — then I’m sorry to tell you my friend, but you’ve got it all wrong.

So what do you talk about?

I’m so glad you asked!

You talk about how you’re going to make them money.

That’s it. I told you it was simple.

Because all they really, truly, deeply want at the end of the day?

Is to make money.

So that they can achieve true business success, take their kids to Disneyland, explore the world and achieve the freedom they so desperately want. The whole reason they started their business in the first place!

“Website success is not about the platform.
It’s about the strategy.”
Click to tweet.

And the marketing. And the design. But most of all… the strategy.

Does the typical small business owner know how to make money online with their website?


So it’s your duty as their web designer to show them how.

And produce a website that makes them money.

A website that makes them better versions of themselves.

One that produces leads. Sales. Conversions. Opt-ins. And RESULTS!!!

Because results = money = freedom.

And deep down, we ALL want freedom!

If you peel back the layers of what clients really want, yes it’s money but the money buys their freedom. And that’s the crux of what I’m on about here.

So when you make that shift from talking about platform or technology to talking about results?

That’s when you start to sell a shitload more websites than what you currently are.

That’s when you start to get referrals left, right and centre.

That’s when you get amazing testimonials from clients because they’re raking in the cash that YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR!

It’s life changing.

You don’t just design and launch websites anymore — you change people’s lives.

You transform their business.

You breathe life into their ideas and make them a reality. Tangible ones they can touch and smell and show off to their neighbours at the next street BBQ.

And you win a client for life.

So how about the next meeting you have with a prospect you approach it from a different angle?

An angle of “How can I create a miracle for this client? What would I have to do? What can I suggest? How can I can make them a heap of money so they can achieve the freedom they desire? How can I change their life for the better?”

Because when you make that shift in your thinking and it shines through in your approach — you’ll never have to worry about selling again.


You’re helping. You’re creating miracles. You’re making people money and delivering results.

You’re not selling.

You’re transforming lives.

And it’s a beautiful thing.

It’s also how we help 40-50 clients each month.

By now, you’re probably wondering…

Why am I telling you all this when I could keep all these sales secrets to myself?

Because every client deserves a website that works.

And every hard-working web designer deserves a business that’s profitable.

And they just happen to be my top two missions in life. 🙂

So how about it? What do you say? Are you gonna give it a shot? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Sound off below!

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
  • OK I get the whole “we aren’t selling a website, we are changing lives” thing, and yeah I admit WordPress does have it’s kryptonite, just like every other platform, but which platform do YOU use?? or do you use different ones to suit each clients needs?? I used to code my clients sites, but lately I’ve been using WP because in all honesty it suits both my client needs and my own time constraints. Interested to hear what you do Bianca??

    • Hey Grace, great point! I know how time plays such a big factor here.

      I use a platform we built ourselves so it’s proprietary. I don’t use any others but I say ‘no’ to the big custom jobs these days and just focus on helping small business. I’m currently building a brand new software for small business which is a marketing and website platform all rolled into one. And we’re building it especially for designers who don’t like coding or don’t have time like yourself. It’s not the reason why I wrote the post though, hence why I didn’t mention it.

      I’m not saying “Don’t use WordPress” — I’m just saying don’t crap on about it for hours to prospects in meetings because they’ll most likely rather jam a metal prod through their leg. And when a competitor comes along that talks about results, they’ll gravitate immediately to them and you’ll lose the sale. 😉

      • Your platform sounds interesting and much needed. I like the ‘don’t baffle them with bullshit’ approach as well. 🙂

        • Yeah, we’re super excited. It’s going to be an ‘intelligent’ CMS meaning it’ll make intelligent marketing suggestions to you when you’re in smart mode so that you can improve the effectiveness of your clients websites and they can do the same. Soooo much more than just a web platform!

          Every business owner is so time poor and don’t have time to learn all this stuff they need to to market online effectively so we wanted to create something that motivated them to make improvements all the time by making it super simple to do. They can skip the learning part and just be guided by the software to ‘do’ and get great results.

          If you’re on my list I’ll let you know as soon as we have a beta version ready!

  • nodoubtfan

    I totally agree with you! Clients not only don’t care, but don’t even know what the platform is. That’s why they’re hiring a designer — to do the work for them. Why try to sell them on the semantics?

    • Hallelujah!

      I’m doing a happy dance just reading your comment. Why oh WHY do so many designers spend so much time focusing on it?! It just doesn’t matter.

      THANK YOU!! You are one of us and doing your part for the industry. Love it! 🙂

  • Again, Bianca, you’re right on and seem to have the answers all in order. I want to become a Pro partner but I’m here in the US. Are you sharing your secrets overseas yet? It’s such a tease to read your blogs and not be on the inside working it. I want in!

    • Awwww, thank you so much Patti! We’re not ready yet but I will have something for you very soon I promise. The new platform and academy won’t be ready until May 2015 year BUT I have something in store for you well before that that you’ll love. Watch this space.

      There’s a new blog, brand, new business kits for designers, courses, goodies and more coming very soon and they’re all designed to help you transform from designer… to design entrepreneur.

      It’s super exciting and well worth the wait, I promise! Thanks for being so patient! 🙂

      • Ok, I promise to stay tuned and I’ll hold you to your promise to deliver. You’re hitting on all the pain points I’m having here managing programmers and hosting and crap I don’t like doing. I need a solution that is repeatable and scalable. You’re where I want to be, Bianca, so when you’re ready for a US partner to champion your services over here, I’m here. Keep posting, I friggin love your candor. 🙂

        • That is the EXACT reason I started on this crusade! You’ll be the first one I call when it’s ready, thank you so much for your support! I can’t wait to hit your shores!! 🙂

  • Albert Henk van Urk

    I totally agree with you. Most webdesigners sell their product specifications, while they should be selling the benefits of their product/service instead…

    • Dead right Albert! It breaks my heart to hear what most designers are saying on sales calls. When you get it right, selling becomes effortless. It’s so refreshing for a client to talk to a designer about conversion tactics, lead magnets and funnels rather than bandwidth, platform and storage capacity! lol

  • Samantha Goh

    Agreed! Even though I am a wordpress fan I would NEVER promote wordpress over my professional service as a designer. I care about making a website that will help my client achieve their goals!

  • KP

    Totally agree ! After being in the Advertising and Design industry for many years and having consulted with literally 1000’s of SMBS in Australia and having sold hundreds of Websites and Marketing packages. I can honestly say the last thing anyone wants to do is hear about the technical elements , Web Jargon and acronyms that are a foreign language to most.

    As with anyone investing into anything, what they want to know is if its going to meet their needs and bring back the return they desire. This is where what you sell or do needs to showcase the benefits not just be a features spiel. You have to build trust also, and this is not about showcasing your technical jargon, in which I feel this is what a lot of designers do wrong. Its actually about basic rapport and being human. If you believe in what you do and are confident in your offerings, you will have no dramas.

    Best tip is to sell like you were selling to your best friend.

    Just think also is Jane the Hairdresser, Bob the Mechanic, Lorry the Coffee shop owner going to give a Shit about your open source PHP offering…haha NOPE

    Great Article !

  • Great article and I agree with you 100%. But the problem that many new designers face is not having enough work or names under their belt. Right now the drag and drop platform for web design is increasing and making everyone a web designer. Surely platforms like the one you made will do just that. In a matter of few more years majority of web design will be done using this system and there will be only work for high-end coding and it will go to bigger agencies. From my years of experience I see more and more people with no design skills making their own site and needing less or no work from a web designer.

  • chubskulit

    What a list of great tips! I am not a big fan of wordpress, too complicated for me.

    • Oh why thank you! Yeah, me neither, great for blogs but anything complicated and my head starts to hurt, I get all flustered and then angry and it all goes downhill from there! LOL

  • I’m not a designer and I didn’t know this is a common problem/issue. Good to know!

  • Well, website design is one facet of planning to actually need to focus when putting up a site. Lots of these platforms are readily available when you have a knowledge about it. Web designers should double their knowledge on how to penetrate the competition. Likewise, putting up a business website needs web designer to actually build a site according to their products and main purpose.

  • This is such a great list of tips – people should be able to read this more – eye opener.

  • Usually, I made my own website with the aid of my friends. Luckily, it’s very good if there’s a web designer to guide.

  • Shivani Balraj

    Great tips dear as web designing is not really easy to be done on it’s own. Thanks for sharing!

  • Maxwell

    Hi Bianca, I hope web123partners will available in the UK really soon, as it is so needed here.

  • popular design

    cost calculation common problem for small company’s. this is nice information.

  • Kelly Mann

    This article has changed my thought process 180 degrees and I now need to change my website to get rid of all the website jargon.

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