how to spot a cowboy

How to spot a (website) cowboy

I’m Aaron Taylor, CEO and Co-founder of Six Two and I think the web design industry is broken. I’m going to give you 5 ways you can spot a web design cowboy to help you to make better decisions when you’re buying a website.

Going on to Google and looking for web designers in your town seems like a logical thing to do but there is a high chance that you will end up talking to a cowboy due to the amount of amateurs in the industry.

These 5 tips I will talk you through will help you figure out whether they are a cowboy up front before you go too far down the line where money, time and effort is involved.

  1. If they won’t meet you face to face for a meeting and refuse to talk to you through any other medium except email.
  2. If they take forever to get back to your emails or won’t answer your phone calls.
  3. If they don’t ask enough questions in order to find out about your story, your business and its needs, the problems your website will solve and what you’re hoping the potential outcome will be.
  4. If they don’t ask about your customers and how you want/need to serve their needs.
  5. If they are talking about visuals too early – if they talk about fonts and colours in your first meeting then they will not solve the problems at hand instead they will just make something pretty which has no use to your business.

To hear about these 5 tips in more detail, watch the video below.


WEB DESIGN IS BROKEN! Thought I was gonna wear the sunglasses all the way through didn’t you. No. Today I am going to talk about cowboys and I’m gonna give you five ways to spot a cowboy when you are trying to buy a website.

So you’ve probably gone on google already you’ve typed in web design Shropshire. You’ve found two maybe three people that you think oh these guys are kind of cool. This is the bit which so many people miss out on because well, hey the information just isn’t out there there, is a very high chance because of the number of amateurs in my industry that you will end up talking to a cowboy.

These five tips are gonna help you to figure that out up front before you end up going way too far down the line and then wasting time money effort and getting stressed out because a project falls apart. Okay so let’s kick off:

Number One: if you cannot get a face-to-face meeting you are dealing with a cowboy especially if they’re local to you. I can understand if you’re looking for a web designer in Kent but you live in the highlands, yeah a face-to-face meeting and it’s gonna be kind of hard. If they refuse to talk to you on any other medium than email that chances are you are dealing with a cowboy there. How do you expect to to take your business on this digital journey with someone who should be a consultant for you who should be there trying to understand your wants, your needs your problems that you’re trying to solve. If they won’t even talk to you face to face can it straight away.

Number Two: if they take forever to get back to you and I’m not talking like you know a couple of days I’m talking like weeks go by and your emails go unanswered your phone calls just never picked up they seem to vanish for long inexplicable periods of time. If they take forever to get back to you the chances are that their organizational skills are not going to be up to scratch for what you need it’s it’s really gonna be a thing that derails it completely and means that the whole project just takes five, ten times longer than it should do or because they couldn’t get their butts into gear and respond to an email.

Number Three: they don’t ask enough questions. This is a tricky one especially if you’re doing this for the first time because how many questions is enough questions? If they I don’t know give you a form to fill out with five or ten questions things like “what’s your domain name”, “please upload your logo” generic things like that, and they don’t follow it up with some more in-depth analysis; if you don’t feel that you’ve had the opportunity to tell your story to share your vision your goals for what you want your website to achieve then they probably haven’t asked enough questions.

The whole point of of a website is to help you overcome a challenge, it’s to give you greater capabilities within your business and so the web designer, the person that you’re talking to should be trying to understand your challenge as clearly and as fully as they possibly can. Because then that’s going to give them the information to go away and creatively solve it with a website.

Number Four: they don’t ask about your customers. Now this sounds kind of obvious but you would be surprised at how many people in my industry missed the point of your business which is to serve your customers. So if they’re not asking about your customers, if they’re not asking about what challenges they’re trying to overcome, how you make things better for them how you serve their needs; if they’re not asking about that then they are gonna completely miss the point and it’s going to end up being a bit of a vanity piece for you, and you’re gonna turn around in six months time and go “well hey this isn’t actually doing anything that we hoped it kind of would”. Cowboys don’t care about your customers; they only care about a quick buck.

Number Five: They’re talking about visuals too early. I know seeing the mock-up for the first time seeing what your website is actually gonna look like that’s the exciting bit; that’s the bit that it’s tangible that’s when it becomes real. But how it looks is always a slave to how it works. If you jump into how it looks too soon then you end up with something pretty that’s ultimately useless, and frankly just a waste of your time and money – if you want something pretty go and buy a picture – you’re trying to create capabilities for your business, you’re trying to serve your customers in a better way.

If you find yourself talking to a web designer and the first thing they want to talk about a colours fonts and visuals: run a mile! They’re a cowboy. They might be good at designing things they are not gonna be the ones to help you solve your business problem. So that is five ways that you can spot a cowboy and run a mile real early … I guess there’s a sixth way as well, if I’m honest, which is they’re wearing a Stetson and they turn up to the meeting on horseback…

I’d definitely love to see that … I’m Aaron Taylor helping you to have better conversations and make better decisions when you’re buying a website. Till next time.

This is episode 2 of Web Design is Broken, a series where our CEO Aaron explores the issues with our industry and helps you to make better informed decisions when it comes to your website. Our company, Six Two, specialises in website design in Ashford Kent.

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