Just having celebrated our 10th year in business here at 2 Dogs Media where a large part of our business includes WordPress website design and development services – we found ourselves with our very first request from a potential client about our “award winning designs” in our portfolio.
We have never won a website design award, nor do we care that we haven’t.
We suggested they look at our portfolio of web design projects, to which they said they had and they noted that they liked our work, but they really wanted an agency that had won awards. When we asked why, they alluded that they wanted a prestigious brand to work with that can give them – and we quote “all the bells and whistles”.
We were not sure what that meant, but realized they may not be the best match for what we do, and that is OK. We want them to be happy – and we want to be happy, so off they went in search of an award winning web design agency.
Do we often turn away potential business?
Well, it actually happens more than we like to admit, but the truth is we want every client we work with to be dog gone happy!
If a potential client has a set vision in their mind of how the process should work or what the outcome should be – and we feel we cannot meet that or do not feel it is in the best interest for their business, we let them know we may not be the right fit for them.
The last thing we want to do is spend a budget on a website that we know in the end will not be beneficial to them. If a client is not flexible or does not want our professional advice and experience, that is OK – but our decision to not work with them is the best option to avoid an unhappy client in the end!
So, why do we not care if we ever win a design award? Let us count the reasons!
1) Most design awards are a pay to play action. You pay for each submission you make in these award programs. Prices can range anywhere from $50 to upwards of $300 a submission.
We found an answer on Quora that showed some of the many awards websites that are out there with their submission pages so you can see just how expensive some of these are.
For us, it is just not a cost of business that makes sense. An award cannot determine our professionalism, service or want to build a site that converts for our clients.
2) Many of the websites we see that do win these awards in our opinion are not user friendly and can often be very lacking in basic usability techniques. Things like hidden menus, hard to read typography and too much animation can lead to longer load times and higher bounce rates. While some of these websites are jaw dropping – for most of our clients it could be detrimental to their business.
Here is the Site of the Day page on the Awwwards website. Click through some of the websites that have won this award and see how difficult they can be to navigate – or even to know what the website is about!
3) Websites that win awards are not usually created with a focus on usability and conversions. They are typically more geared towards fancy features and beautiful imagery. This in turn can cause more people to leave the website since it is not easy to use and even less people to take action since it may be hard for them to find what you want them to do.
When clients come to us, we want them to know that we focus on usability first, and not just that but usability for their specific demographic. Our work in the nonprofit community has us dealing with a variety of demographics and we know that a design style that works for one group may not work for another.
We design for purpose – not awards.
- Here are just a few of the many things we think are critical to great web design, and in no way does it include winning an award.
- Does the website clearly tell what the organization does in the first few seconds?
- Can users easily find the navigation?
- Is there a clear site structure that outlines the organizations services?
- Does the website load quickly?
- Is there easy access to conversion based pages like contact form, buy now or donate?
- Does the aesthetic of the website match the branding of the organization?
- Is there a “story-telling” aspect that engages and makes users want to learn more?
These are just a few of the many elements we think about when creating a new web presence for any client!
Our web design portfolio offers a variety of design styles but what they all have in common is a level of simplicity that makes it easy for users to navigate and use them.
That is what we focus on – usability and messaging.
So, will we ever win any awards? Probably not.
And we are perfectly OK with that.
The clients that have worked with us, are perfectly happy with our non-award winning portfolio – and our level of service, and to us that is all that matters.
Jill Caren brings over 12 years of WordPress and SEO experience to help you improve and grow your website. She has spoken at several events on SEO and has been published in several top SEO publications. You can contact Jill here.