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At last that moment of elation has arrived. It’s been a long time coming but finally your website is online. Although it’s easy to underestimate all the work that goes into designing and building a website hopefully you’re happy with your site and although the process was a little time–consuming—all that effort was worth it.

Now the site is up–and–running this is not the end. Quite the opposite: it’s the beginning. Amongst the flurry and excitement you get an email from your web designer (or web company) asking if they can have two things:

A link from your site to theirs (e.g. Designed by Texelate)
Your site in their online portfolio

You may ask yourself, is that a good or a bad thing? Well, there’s no yes or no answer; it really all depends on the circumstances. I maintain in most cases it’s a good thing. First, let me cover the core two instances when I think it isn’t appropriate.

‘Cheap’ or ‘cow boy’ web designers and companies often drive down prices and cut corners buy designing their sites based on a core template. This means they save time by using a standard style and layout and just change the colours and content to fit your site; this saves them time and subsequently money. If potential customers or clients click through and find that your site is practically a carbon copy of many others that won’t do your business’s credibility any good. Similarly, if you’re positioning yourself in the market as a professional company it damages your credibility if you link through to a ‘Sites from £199’–esque site. Most credible web companies do not put prices on their site.

The other reason where it’s not appropriate is far easier to understand. Some organisations (particularly the public sector) can’t—or don’t want to—admit that they used a third party to create the site. That’s fair enough; it’s their prerogative and should be respected.

So now to answer the actual question: why have your website in your web designer’s portfolio?

Just as a link on your site to a poor web designer’s site can damage your credibility, the reverse can be said of a good one. Any potential clients/customers clicking through will see that you chose to work with an imaginative and exciting company.

If the designer is linking to your site from the portfolio (which they should do) you’ll get some free traffic. Okay, it won’t be targeted but if only one of those visitors turns into a customer or client it was worth it. Furthermore, a good quality link back to your site is another gentle nudge in the direction of good search engine optimisation.

Finally, when us web designers have created a site we’re really proud of it makes us smile to be able to show it off. You may not think this is a direct benefit to you but it contributes towards a good relationship for the future—in case you need to make any updates or redesign the site.

Remember, when all is said and done, the site is something you paid for*. It’s yours—and if you don’t feel comfortable having a web designer’s name on your site—or having your site in their portfolio—just tell them.

If you’d like a site (regardless or whether or not it goes in my portfolio) call me on 07843 483 078 or get a free quote online.

Tim Bennett is a freelance web designer from Leeds. He has a First Class Honours degree in Computing from Leeds Metropolitan University and currently runs his own one-man web design company, Texelate.