Do clients look at a designer’s website?

This is such a no-brainer question to ask … designers spend time and energy designing their websites. Is it time spent well, or is it time wasted?

The 2019-20 UK What clients think survey found 92% of clients claimed not to have visited their design supplier’s website in the last few months. Is the same true in Australia? And if they do visit a website, what do they look at?

This is the fifth article about our August 2020 ‘What clients want’ survey. We surveyed Australian clients from a wide variety of industries, with budgets ranging from a once-off project fee of $3,000 to an annual marketing spend of $1m.

Well, do clients look at a designer’s website?

Yes they do, mainly when they choose a design supplier. Some seem never to return…

Only 13% of Australian clients claimed not to look at a designer’s website at all

And it appears clients around the world are much the same. In the UK 65% of clients reported looking at a designer’s website during the selection process — in Australia that leapt to 87%.

Why do clients look at a designer’s website?

Nearly 50% of clients read a designer’s complete site to decide whether the designer is a good fit

This correlates with one of our earlier articles: What clients want to hear in a pitch: nearly 60% of all respondents did not want to see a designer’s current folio. From these results, chances are it’s because a majority of clients have already seen the folio online and are looking for new insights. They want to hear something different. Remember 22% of all clients said they’d prefer to chat – most probably to test the relationship, not to talk existing clients or projects.

And perhaps clients appreciate the opportunity to view a folio in their own time and pace.

Our results in detail

When faced with this question: Designers put a lot of time and effort into designing their websites. We’re interested in how you view them. Do you… clients responded:

So, what does this mean?

The take away is that while half of the clients who responded did read their design suppliers complete website, many did not look, or are not dwelling on the home page.  Clients are diving into the project page, or the client list, but bypassing the home page. That’s a problem because I know many designers hone their home page, treating it as an introduction to the rest of the site.

So, if you have a philosophy or values you consider intrinsic to the type of clients that you want and the industry sector you want to work with, perhaps don’t just explain your how and why on the home page. Perhaps you could weave that information into other pages – specifically your client and project pages – to ensure it is read.

And be proactive attracting current clients to your website. Remember the insight from last week’s article … designers who initiate discussions, who share insights and research and who communicate regularly exceed most client’s expectations. Proactively share news to draw existing clients back to your site.

And it also correlates with What clients want to hear in a pitch: clients wanted to talk trends specific to their industry sector or about case study — the best project a designer ever produced, regardless of the relevance to their client sector. Best practice is always getting infront of a client but we know that’s tough. So perhaps consider including (and sharing) case studies on your website.


Want more?

Here’s four more articles about our What clients want survey:

  1. Do clients think designers are proactive or reactive?
  2. What clients want to hear in a pitch
  3. How clients find designers
  4. How clients prefer to meet designers
  5. A summary of our 2019 UNseminar – we invited three clients to be grilled by designers.

As always, happy to discuss, just email.

Carol Mackay

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The Design Business Review is Australia’s only online design management magazine. It’s professional development information written specifically for Australian designers by Australian designers. Best of all, it’s free.

After 30+ years running a graphic design firm, I pivoted from client-focused projects to consult to the design industry. Now with the Design Business Council I use my experience, and research, as a design mentor and coach. I help designers build robust, sustainable businesses, and help businesses integrate, and profit from, design.

The core of the DBC is the building a design community – over 85% of designers work in businesses with less than 5 employees, many less than 3. That means designers don’t have the same support network of other professionals. The DBC’s solution is supplement paid gigs with research, mentoring breakfast meet-ups, informative UNseminars and practical workshops in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

An archive of my previous career is at
My current work can be viewed at and

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