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Putting my clients first by ditching website footer design credits

Let’s talk about something that might ruffle a few feathers amongst my fellow Designers but something I still see happening across all small business industries; a sneaky little Designer credit in the footer of websites.

Including a “Designed by/Site by” etc… credit at the bottom of my client’s website is a big no-no in my book. Let me share why and how this practice can impact your small business brand, and why I believe it’s crucial to keep those footers clean of any advertising of other brands.

Keeping the spotlight on your brand

For the majority of small businesses, every element on your website should be focused on your brand.

My clients pay me to create something that’s uniquely theirs, whether it’s a stunning website, a sleek gift voucher, or a full brand identity. It’s not created for fun or free, it’s a business transaction where their hard earned money is handed over to me and I don’t believe I should then advertise my own brand, for free, on their website for what will likely be years.

By adding your Designers credit to your site, you’re subtly shifting the focus away from your brand. Think of it like this: it’s your stage, and you should be the star of the show. Our job as your Website Designer is to make you shine, not to share the spotlight.

Drawing parallels; because you wouldn’t do this in other industries

To put it in perspective, let’s compare this to other creative tasks or fields. Here are a few more examples to illustrate why design credits on websites are a no-go:

Logos
Imagine paying for a sleek, professional logo and then your Designer adds their name to it. It would undermine the brand’s identity and look unprofessional. When was the last time you saw a logo with a designer’s credit on it? Exactly!

Hair Stylists
Picture getting a fantastic haircut, and then your Hair Stylist taps a branded sticker onto your forehead before you leave. Ridiculous, right? Just like a good haircut, a website should showcase your best self without unnecessary tags.

Interior Designers
Think about an Interior Designer who beautifully decorates a living room but leaves a flyer on every flat surface which reads, “Designed by XYZ Interiors” and they are insistent they must stay there for at least a year. That would be weird. It detracts from the space’s elegance and the homeowner’s sense of ownership.

In each of these examples, the professional’s work is meant to elevate the client’s brand or personal style, not to serve as a advertisement for the creator.

My approach: Client first, always

So, how do I handle this? Here’s my client-centric approach:

Dedicated credits page
If a client asks if I’d like to be included in the credits, I always suggest creating a separate “Loved By” or “Credits” page and encourage them to credit everyone involved in the BTS of the website; their Copywriter, Photographer, SEO Pro etc… This keeps the footer clean while still giving a nod to the full creative team. Link it from an About page or a Behind the Scenes blog post.

Social media shout-outs
Encouraging clients to give a shout-out on social media is another great way to get exposure. They get to highlight the awesome work, and I get recognised in a space that’s meant for sharing.

Referrals
I recently had a conversation with a friend who “hates it” when she can’t find who made a website she loves. When I asked her why she didn’t just ask the brand who own the website I was met with a “ugh its just extra time/faff etc…” and frankly, that’s a problem for her. Part of websites goals should never be tailored to visitors who might want to know who designed it but can’t be bothered to ask.

A huge chunk of my enquiries come from other businesses who have asked my existing client about their website/brand. If you’re putting out good work, your client will be thrilled to recommend you.

How to ask for a credit to be removed

Whether you’re in the middle of a website revamp or your Website Designers credit has been there for a good few years, if you feel it’s not in the best interest of your brand, here’s a friendly and professional way to address it:

Be honest and professional
Start the conversation by acknowledging the quality of the work done by the designer. Express appreciation for their efforts before addressing your concern.

Explain your perspective
Clearly explain why you believe the credit should be removed. Focus on the benefits for your brand, such as improved professionalism, better SEO, and a stronger brand presence.

Offer alternatives
Suggest alternative ways to credit your Designer, such as a dedicated “Credits” page, social media shout-outs, or referrals. This shows that you still value their work and are willing to help them get recognition in a way that doesn’t impact your website negatively.

Negotiate terms
If your Designer is insistent or it’s included as part of their contract, consider negotiating terms that work for both of you. For example:

a. Propose using an affiliate link instead of a standard credit. This way, you earn a commission on any business generated through the link, creating a win-win situation.

b. Negotiate a reduction in the project fee in exchange for keeping the credit. This compensates you for the years of free advertising the designer will receive from the credit.

To wrap up

In the end, my goal is to make sure my clients’ websites are all about them. Yes, a website credit is a tiny detail but you’re paying for a service, and it’s my job to deliver it in the best way possible – no strings (or credits) attached. By focusing on your needs and keeping the design credits out of the footer, we create a more professional, cohesive, and effective online presence for your business.

Becky x
Welcome to the BLD Blog

Hello! I’m Becky. A brand identity & website designer for passionate & ambitious small businesses. This little corner of my website is dedicated to sharing the 15 years of experience I have with brands, websites and of course running a small business.

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