Should Web Designers be Expected to Know About Revenue?

I used to think it was all right for a web designer to submit a quotation for a website which listed what was to be done and how much it would cost. Now, with opportunities for revenue, or at least for cost recovery, such as Google Adsense and banner ads (I know, they ‘don’t work any more’, but bear with me), I believe that any web designer who wants to stay in business should look seriously at including some ideas on revenue, along with the costings.

That pre-supposes the designer will know what she or he is talking about.

What’s brought this on? Well, this morning an email arrived from the management committee for an investment property in a large complex. There was a quote attached for a new website. For reasons too boring to recount, we resisted the inclination to say, why not have a blog, at much less cost, instead of this fancy pants website? But we did suggest that the committee and the designer look at some cost recovery through, say, Google Adsense.

The designer was obviously on the email distribution list, because an email flashed back, commencing with the following paragraph:

‘Google Adsense is good for driving visitors to your website but it is at a cost. Generally those who list in the Adsense categories have websites where products or services can be purchased.’

No, that’s Google Adwords you’re thinking of. And you want to charge us over a thousand dollars for the site?

The statesman Clemenceau famously said that war is too important to be left to generals. Is web design too important to be left to web designers?

And to be fair to web designers, clients sometimes (often?) don’t really brief them clearly on why they want a website, what they hope to achieve from it, or what design parameters are to be set. But isn’t it in the designer’s long term interest to educate the client about those things?


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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.


  1. Anonymous says:


    Building alliances so that you can draw in the skills when you need them is another way. For example, rather than trying to be an seo expert, I have an arrangement with a service provider whose knowledge and expertise in seo I have high respect for.


  2. Anonymous says:

    i have to agree with you. to be successful in any business over the long term, you have to think about the profitability of your customer.

    yes, a good web design team should have knowledge about aesthetics, design, html and tech skills, knowledge of methods to increase revenue for their customers (including ad sense, if you must, and basics as where to place a link to double the conversion rate), sales perspective etc. because the core responsibility is to ensure that the website generates revenues for the owner of the website. having said that, getting all these skills in one single person is desirable, but not always possible. the web design company should have people with all these skills working on every single project.


    lalit saraswat

  3. Chris

    Point taken, but it was a very simple website and there are a lot of micro businesses that can get this sort of rate for a simple site. The web design people should in my view know enough or be professional enough to check the Google website and find out what adsense really is: I did and it took 10 seconds.


  4. Yes, but Des, any webdesigner who is only charging a grand for a website shouldn’t be expected to know too much about anything. This is a designer who is not unlike a local shopkeeper – too busy turning over small margin items in the store to have time to think about what he is selling…