Why You Shouldn't Practice Web Design Attribution Links

January 20, 2011

Often when you finish a web design and launch it then you want to tell the world about the work you're proud of. This urge is common, but how do you tell everyone and reap the benefits of the self promotion? Obviously you can add the work to your website or online portfolio, tweet/post about it, write a press release and sign the work with an Attribution tag back to your portfolio. We've all seen them, the "Web Design by SuperDuper Interactive" line at the bottom of a page - essentially a signature of your work. Artist's sign their work why shouldn't designers?

Example of an attribution link

First, you were hired to create an web design and brand (along with a usable interface!) for the client. By completing the work for them you are giving them that brand, not claiming it as your own. When you sell a painting you are still selling your image, not the buyer's. This is main reason I don't advocate using anchor tags—the brand is no longer yours, but transferred to the client.

Second, You are taking search rank from your clients. For most clients SEO is important, adding the 'web design by…' line does not benefit your client, even if you are adding a rel="nofollow" property.

I understand this can be a powerful tool to obtain more work—but I think it is even more powerful to give your clients the best web design you can and then reap the benefits of referrals.