Bad Web Business Practices
As my wife and I were eating dinner at a quaint little restaurant last night, the owner came out to greet us. We complimented the food and she began to tell us about how they’d just redone their outside patio and were going to have live acts performing regularly.
Immediately my business mind clicked and I asked her if she had a website to promote all of these wonderful additions.
“Well we did, but our old web designer has held our dot com hostage and says we need to pay him more money,” was her reply.
Sadly this is far from the first time in recent history I’ve heard such things. In fact, since gearing up the agency after my departure from fulltime radio I’ve had no less than 10 other small business owners recount horror story after horror story of their dealings with unscrupulous web design firms.
It’s a growing trend – clients know they need a website, they find a designer who promises the world, are made to sign a ridiculous contract, and the product delivered is rarely to the expectations.
I refuse to operate in such a fashion. I think it’s not only bad for business, but it’s also bad for the design industry as a whole. Clients become leery of anyone who designs websites and often give up on their web presences in exchange for social media – such as the owner of the above mentioned restaurant who’s gone simply to her Facebook page to promote her bands.
We operate DDMI in a much different fashion that I’d really like to see more of the industry adopt. If you are in the market for a new website or a remodel of an existing site, here are a few things to look for:
- A proposal. Any reputable web design firm will provide you with a detailed proposal that should spell out functionality of the site, components required, information required for the build, all expectations verbally promised, price, and build timeline. Such proposals are vital to solidify and verbal agreements and so both you and the design firm are on the same page when it comes to final expectations.
- A contract. Contracts are standard in most any business. You just need to read before you sign. Verbal promises are worthless – it matters what you place your signature upon. We require clients sign a Web Design Contract that specifies services we will provide, what you will pay, and that all of the content we design becomes your property upon full payment. That is a gigantic difference between us and the other guys. You are paying for us to create something for you. When you go to a store and buy something can the store come back and take it away from you or – worse yet – hold it hostage until you pay some exorbitant fee? Hell no! I’ve actually seen client contracts that have expired but have survivability clauses that extend indefinitely. The long term, no out, over reaching build contract is a stain on this industry.
- Support. You need to ensure that once the project is completed someone will be there to assist should there be problems or changes needed made. We provide a minimum of one year technical support free of charge. I spoke with a client last week that wanted ONE picture changed on their website, and their design firm quoted them $50 to do so. That’s robbery. Time is money in this business but a picture change literally takes seconds to accomplish. We will never charge for minor fixes. If a client needs a big change or addition (say an online store) or need another designers website revamped, I always explain that we will have to charge – but we make that explanation up front.
- Price. The old saying “you get what you pay for” is true in the web design business – within reason. If someone shoots you a super low price, be leery. A good, mobile responsive website will run the average client between $1500 and $8000 depending on the depth of requirements. Conversely if someone gives you an astronomical price you should receive a detailed explanation of cost.
These four simple tips can save you a lot of expense and aggravation in the future.
Double D Media prides itself on its customer relations. We are simply more interested in building long term business relationships with clients than trying to fleece as much cash as we can up front.
A website is an important investment to make for your business. It needs to reflect your brand, be easily navigable, and be easily found by your target consumer. To avoid aggravation in the future, make sure you ask questions and become fully informed before picking a designer.
– Pat DeLuca