Since 2008 I have offered white label WordPress design & development services. This means I’ll build your website without ever speaking to your client, asking for any credit, talking about the project on Twitter or highlighting the cool functionality we built in case studies.
A lot of freelancers and design agencies like the idea of outsourcing to someone they don’t have on their staff and their clients will never know about, but when you stop to think about it, it doesn’t always make sense.
White label does nothing for your client
In the last couple of years WordPress has become more complex, as has the Web.
Mobile browsers, conversion optimisation and the never-ending need to produce quality content means that a WordPress site (or any site for that matter) is never quite finished.
Your client, the website owner will always need a Web developer on hand to tweak themes, upgrade software and offer advice on how best to present content to the world. If you’re not that person, I should be.
In a white label world this process is disjointed and laborious. The website owner has to email requests to the designer, who has to email me. I reply by email to the designer, who emails my reply to the owner.
I’ve seen it take a week and 30 emails to solve a 10 minute problem. This doesn’t help anyone’s productivity.
White label does nothing for your (our) marketing
I’ll admit it, I would like to be credited on some of the amazing WordPress projects I’ve built. Who wouldn’t? But this post is about you, so I’ll put my ego aside for a moment.
You, the designer, are shooting yourself in the foot by not fessing up to collaborating with a WordPress professional. Here’s why:
Clients like specialists
If you tell them you specialise in UI design and outsource your development work to a respected WordPress theme developer, clients know they’re going to get a great website for their money.
Specialists charge more
Speaking of money, clients appreciate that hiring a specialist costs more than hiring their next door neighbour’s nephew. Feel free to put a premium on my reputation – unless you’ve heard something bad
Professionals help each other
If you promote me to your network, I will go to the ends of the earth to promote you to people who I think you can help. That’s what professionals do for each other when they have a good working relationship.
I run a WordPress maintenance service where I’ll dig into a client’s site on a monthly or quarterly basis, make sure everything’s running smoothly and make a few recommendations to improve the site’s performance and security.
For this service I charge a fee. It isn’t much, but if I’m maintaining a site for your client, you get a share of the proceeds. Passive income FTW!
But we don’t want to share
There will always be a few projects where clients definitely don’t want people to know who built their site. Whatever the reasons for this, I always have and always will respect the wishes of my clients, and always recommend a non-disclosure agreement.
I’ll be honest, I’m seriously considering stopping white label services. I believe that in an age of collaboration they do more harm than good, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Am I right or wrong? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter. If you’re an existing client and you’d rather discuss this in private you may want to email me instead.