HOW TO INSULT A GOOD WEB COMPANY
It amazes (and disappoints) me if a client makes the statement “that’s very expensive” or “that’s more expensive than x,y,z” with regard to our web or design services. It amazes me because that couldn’t be further from the truth, and it disappoints me because that statement grossly undervalues the quality of the service and design that we provide.
It’s an insult of sorts, although we know it’s never intentional. It’s not necessarily a client’s fault, and it’s very difficult for the client to know the in’s and out’s of what goes into a successful web campaign without us boring them to death with talk of SEO protocols, design processes and latest technologies. It does happen though and it’s a shame because it’s all down to the confusion & ‘Dumbing-down’ of web services created by inferior (often big-name) companies that blind clients with cheap prices and effective marketing campaigns. Don’t let this be you. It’s more important to ensure that your investment receives maximum ROI and that you are with a company you trust to deliver quality & results.
If you are the type of client that is looking for a beautiful, intuitive, content managed and search engine optimised website for a price south of £1000, you’re either crazy or you believe the ‘hype’ orchestrated by companies such as Yell, 1to1 Business or one of the other many generic (non-specialist) web companies out there vying for your business. These companies have fantastic marketing departments and (often misleading) slogans that do tend to ensnare the average, unsuspecting client. If that is you, I apologise, but you have been duped my friend. I don’t blame you; their shiny tv ads promise an awful lot (while understandably ignoring the shortcomings of their service). Ask them about their design service (is it tailored or basic template), after sales, SEO, ongoing costs etc. Then come back to us and ask us the same thing.
What happens when (and I mean when) you are tied into a contract with one of these companies and you realise you’ll be paying them every month (or year) for a service that doesn’t really amount to much? If you leave them, you’ll then need to start all over again. For instance, is there a point in having a website if nobody can find it on Google? If this isn’t a concern for you, why not fire on and get a website with one of these companies. Nobody will ever get to see your website (apart from a few people you direct to it) because its’ SEO will be non-existant and you will have little-to-no control over anything to do with the site. It’s code will be replicated in hundreds of other websites and you will be very likely to be ignored by search engines as a result of this. These companies don’t design your website around your requirements, to achieve your objectives or with any concern for what you want from your website. They are faceless companies willing to take your hard-earned cash for very little (if any) input. I’m not afraid to say it, hopefully you aren’t afraid to listen.
That is not us. If that is what you are looking for from a web company, we wouldn’t even take you on as a client. What we are about is time, effort, design, quality, communication, listening and results. Any good web company would be. The reason it appalls me if potential clients ever say ‘you’re more expensive than (insert generic service provider here – i.e. Yell)’ is because it assumes that the service we provide is a ‘like-for-like’ service. I can assure you, it is not. It also assumes that the quality of design of these companies is as good as ours. Again, it is not. And finally, it assumes that you value our service at the same (or lower) price as these half-assed, generic, poor or faceless companies.
This is where the real insult is.
Now, that may seem like a rant aimed at half of the web companies out there, and maybe it is, but I have a lot of respect for a handful of excellent service providers in our industry and I would never denigrate their quality of design, programming or service.
Good companies care about you as a client. Companies like ours will take your brief, listen to your objectives and tailor your service package around these. You will often have one point of contact in this type of company and will be given excellent service because of this. The design of your website will be unique and tailored specifically around your corporate identity and desires. Companies like ours will also put an emphasis on good SEO protocols, whereas with a generic website from a generic company, you get generic quality (i.e. zero SEO). Did you expect anything more?
There are a handful of really good web companies out there (I’d estimate 5% of companies fit this bill, at most) and if you are looking for a website that is of the highest quality, you should be prepared to invest a fairly hefty sum of money into that. If you are not willing to do this, you will likely receive something that is of a poor standard; either visually (design), structurally (intuitive navigation) or mechanically (good, clean coding). There ain’t nothing that sums this up better than the old adage;
You get what you pay for”.
Most of those ancient sayings tend to be pretty spot on for the most part. Your website should be an investment for your company, it should work for you and you should expect it to make your money back hand over fist because it is designed and programmed to the highest standards.
So here’s a few pointers for you, as a client…
Have Respect for Quality –
Don’t take your brief to a specialist web company (or any other design agency) and expect their price to be the same as Yell, BT, Vistaprint etc. Don’t expect a ‘like for like’ service or quality of product and then expect the price to be lower, because the service and quality will be much higher and the price will definitely correlate to that, and quite rightly so.
Be Realistic –
I find a lot of clients vastly underestimate the time and labour that goes into the planning, design and execution of a successful website. Don’t be one of these clients. I can tell you now that regardless of the price of your project you will be getting superb value in terms of the hours put into it. If you are getting you’re basic 4-page website for around the £1000-mark, you are doing very well as a client. Add another 4-6 pages onto that along with a Content Management System and be happy to outlay around £2.5-4k. You are still getting great value.
Shop Around –
Speak with a number of companies and/or go with a company that is a good fit for you. You may get on well with the company representative, you may have been referred by a colleague or friend, or you may just ‘like’ what they do. Those should be the driving factors when you make a decision as to what web company you choose, not price. If you are solely going on price you will be greatly let down (whether you know it or not). Either the quality of design or service will not be there (and of course, you will hopefully recognise this) or else the quality of programming or SEO will be missing (and sadly, you may never realise this, at least not until it’s too late).
Demand The Best –
Don’t settle for poor quality design or service. Never forget that your website is supposed to promote and work for your company, not just sit idly in case anyone visits. Let companies like ours show you how your website can improve your marketing, increase traffic and ultimately profitability & efficiency for you. These are the little touches that make up to a huge difference to your marketing success. The little touches that inferior companies just don’t (or can’t) offer.