Website Professionals Who Should Be Run Out Of Town
Posted 13 August 2009 - 11:14 AM
Sometimes they don't even know that their methods are crap and will be ready to fight if you suggest that there is anything just slightly wrong with their service.
Yesterday I went to the office of a friend who is a very professional and competent person. He knows that I am all about websites and he was excited to tell me that he just got a website for his practice. We do a quick visit to it while I was at his office and he asks me to "take a look and let me know what you think" as I go out the door.
So, I go home, a bit afraid to check out the site and, yep it was bad... it was worse than expected.
-- Hidden text on every page.
-- Description and title tags are horrible (incorrect capitalization, grammar, punctuation)
(not what you want on the site of a very professional person)
-- The webservice company is listed as the registrant of the domain
You have probably been asked to "take a look and let me know what you think" before... How do you reply when you find this type of work?
I am just going to be factual and say.... "Your webdesign person owns your domain and they have hidden text on the site that could get you banned from Google." Probably a good thing that I discovered this at home and have an opportunity to cool off about it. If I would have seen it while at his office I would have been cussing
Those you who work on websites for a living are in an even more awkward position than I am... because if you say.. "the person who built your site is a rat" it will look like you are trying to steal their business.
Posted 13 August 2009 - 11:41 AM
However...I *never* offer advice unsolicited.
The awkward thing here is when the friend is obviously excited about their new web site and it's an atrocious piece of crap...it's never fun to burst their bubble that painfully.
But that's why I provide my response in as professional a manner as I can -- I want it clear that I'm addressing their web sites issues from a professional angle, NOT from an "I'm a personal friend" angle. I feel that setting the stage in a professional manner from the beginning helps maintain a separation between friendship and business -- even if there's no actual financial transaction being made.
Posted 13 August 2009 - 12:17 PM
Perhaps you should always immediately turn the question back on the website owner and say:
I'll be happy to do so. To make sure I cover all that you would feel important, do you have any aspects that you are not sure about?
When I came back with my considered opinion, I might start off as follows:
Perhaps I can mention that a website is always more complex than it may appear. In some ways it's like a high-performance racing car. For it to perform well in getting visitors via search and in giving them a good experience when they visit, there's a lot 'under' the hood that must be tuned.
In this case, ...
After all you're on their side really so if you can get the message over without anyone losing face, that's all to the good. I think it is important to realize that website design can be enormously complex even for relatively simple designs. Just think about all those cross-browser compatibility problems. Unfortunately the average website designer does not know all that they should.
Posted 13 August 2009 - 01:15 PM
The craziest advice was from her host (who may have made the first site) who said to put the website in a subdirectory and redirect requests there, as it makes it easier to upgrade the site. Huh? Soon put an end to that sillyness.
Posted 13 August 2009 - 02:58 PM
I gave her my honest opinion.
That may have been the last honest opinion I ever gave.
Posted 13 August 2009 - 03:07 PM
If you only want complimentary advice from friends, perhaps you should carry around a card with a series of descriptive phrases on it. You then tell them it's a multiple choice question for which only one answer is allowed but they can choose 'I'm Not Sure'.
Posted 13 August 2009 - 03:32 PM
Man, it makes me so mad to see this happen to small business owners. No matter how many site audits we do (a service we offer) I never fail to be amazed at the garbage bad companies get SMBs to invest in. It's so much worse than when a site is funky because it's homemade. When I know that people have given their hard earned money to these bad guys, it steams me.
Be bold, EGOL and tell it like it is. It's bad enough for your friend to have a site like that right now. It will be even worse if he still has it 3 months from now. Every day spent with a bad site is a wasted day.
Posted 13 August 2009 - 05:08 PM
Posted 14 August 2009 - 01:29 AM
I have given two "honest opinions" of websites in my time - both to friends of mine, (still friends! ), both websites were for small businesses they had started up.
Because they knew me, (yikes!), and I told them I would be blunt "about things" - they knew what to expect. I won't go into detail - but they were both "dreadfully awful" websites to one degree or another.
The best reaction I got from one friend was from someone else in his business who said, (about me) - "Wow! He really knows what he's talking about!". The other friend said "Thanks"
Honesty, (as long as you tell them "up front" that you are going to be honest about your opinion), is, I believe, always the best policy.
Posted 14 August 2009 - 03:00 AM
But, I have a pal building a site at the moment, and he is still using the tables, inline styles on each page etc, no proper navigation. Thr site is crap. I have tries to tell him, but he is not listening. I used words like "you need a professional website for your business, I'll be happy to do it for free". But he enjoys tinkering away. What can I do? Forget about it!
Posted 14 August 2009 - 06:34 AM
If he is smart he will ask... What should I do?... I think that my advice will be... First, find a registrar where you can get the domain transferred. Then make a friendly call to these guys and have the domain transferred to your registrar in your name. Once it is in your name at your registrar change the password and lock the domain from transfer.
Once he has that he can deal with the other issues, knowing that his domain is safe. If it was my site I would hire someone competent to rebuild - but not in a CMS that ties him to development with a single company.
Since the domain has not been used before it has no backlinks to worry about.
Posted 14 August 2009 - 03:07 PM
What a headache.
Posted 14 August 2009 - 03:42 PM
Of course usually there is no specification if you are buying a work of art, like a painting or a sculpture. Perhaps therein lies the problem. A website is not just a work of art.
Posted 14 August 2009 - 03:46 PM
Posted 14 August 2009 - 04:55 PM
Posted 15 August 2009 - 01:23 AM
On an aside. I worked as a project manager for a construction contractor who repaired concrete walls. He would always walk around the office saying "I want to get paid again for doing this job. It only needs to last two years. Don't do a good job. I want to be out there doing the repairs!" I got up and walked out on a monday morning after hearing the song "I Can See Clearly Now" by Johnny Nash. I was smiling because I did the right thing for me.
Posted 15 August 2009 - 06:45 AM
Thanks for sharing those stories.
I used to own a terraced property that has several hundred feet of hand-laid stone walls. I am glad you walked out on that contractor. Good for you!
Posted 17 August 2009 - 12:04 AM
Posted 17 August 2009 - 01:21 AM
Best of luck.
Posted 17 August 2009 - 07:51 AM
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