In my line of work, I am asked many times to create a website for a client that is an exact replica of an existing website. It is hard to explain to the client “why” they cannot have the website they want and have sold their heart and soul to.
The truth is that any client of mine can have any website they want, but unfortunately I do have to say “no you cannot have that website” from time to time. Often it is in words that often goes right over their heads. They do not get it.
Let me state it clearly here. I am a web designer. I am not a web copier. I make my living designing websites not copying them. I can make you a website that is made up of any components you want, but I cannot make you a website that is a blatant ripoff of another person’s work. Derivative, sure. Complete knock off? No, it is not going to happen.
So if you come to me and ask me to design you a website, I will say, “yes.” If you then proceed to tell me that you want “a website just like this one” you better be prepared for the response, “no.” You cannot have that website, it is not yours to have.
I am happy to figure out what you “like” about that website and why it appeals to you, but more than likely the “content” and information that you have about you and your business will not work with that website design as it is. We can work together and figure out which elements will work best for your business, fitting your needs and and trying to match your wants.
Often your ideal website is a combination of elements from two or three websites and we just need to figure out what appeals to you and what will work best with what you have. For example, if you do not have a lot of pictures, a website that it is rich in photo content is not going to work for you. You are going to have to focus the design of your website to be more text content heavy at least for the time being. This does not mean that your content will not change in the future, it just means that right now you have to meet your current needs.
Please understand that a “no, you cannot have that website” from your designer does not mean that they are trying to sabotage your website design plans, it means they are often looking out for the best interests of everyone involved. It is in everyone’s best interest to not receive a cease and desist letter from the original website and have to remove your website entirely.
Remember it is okay to take inspiration from a website, but it is not okay to completely copy a website. It is also not okay to completely cut off lines of communication with your designer when you think that they are not doing what you asked for. In this case, your designer is doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing, they are protecting you and your business from future ramifications or fall out from copying someone’s work. Please know that they do not want to have to remove or deactivate your website because a large corporation has decided your website is too similar to theirs.
Small businesses may not pursue you, but larger corporations can and will go after smaller organizations to protect their brand and identity. You do not want to spend time tied up in court when you could be spending it focusing it on your business. Please take your web designer’s word when they tell you, “no.”
Trust that your web designer knows what they are doing. Remember your website is for your users, not you.