Unfortunately this is old news to the Nuttifox team. Time and time again we have been approached by a dismayed business after dealing with a rip-off web designer, who’s over priced and under skilled, producing sites that I wouldn’t pay a penny for. Many times we see if there is anything of value in what they have produced so we don’t have to charge them a full build (we’re nice like that), annoyingly though, a lot of the time it’s just so bad it’s best to start again.
I could have written this article 100 times over with similar scenarios but it’s the most recent that really made my blood boil. If only I could finger point. A super Brighton business come to see us recently with a similar story, they had approached a freelance web designer to produce a responsive website including an online shop back in November 2013. Yesterday (8th July 2014), we spoke about their not yet complete website which had put them out for £3000. Upon reviewing the site it became clear how bad it was and how little this developer knew about standardised code, seo, design, usability, responsiveness, well anything really. What really put the icing on the cake was that the wordpress site was still using an old version of the system with no protection and it had already been hacked. Oh, did I mention it was also a template worth $50!
My point is not to convince you we are the agency for you, I personally feel it’s a two way street and we have refused projects because we feel there is another agency more specialised. My point is to make sure you vet the agency or freelancer properly before agreeing to work with them. I have put together a list below which you can use to make sure you’re not dealing with a rip-off web designer.
1. Ask for a proposal. Any reputable freelancer or agency will document what they will do for you along with a quote.
2. Review their testimonials and ask for references. Specifically on projects they have done that have similar elements to your own.
3. Review their portfolio. Look at the quality of the design, is it professional looking? Also look at your competitors.
4. Don’t get one quote. The cheapest is always far from best, but its not all about price. By approaching 2 or 3 agencies or freelancers you can start to build up a pattern on how they present themselves and their proposals. Normally a good start to seeking out the rubbish.
5. Check them out. If they say they do SEO, ask to see an example. Do any of there clients have a good rank in the search engines? Take a look, then contact the business to ensure they have worked with that agency.
6. Is it a bespoke design & build? Ask the question so they know you do not expect a template site. Some companies do use templates on smaller builds to offer very competitive prices, not to be confused with frameworks. However as explained above you do not want to be charged £3000 for the setup of a $50 template.
7. Transparency is a good sign. I pride myself on my company, the Nuttifox team have worked hard to produce awesome websites and design for our clients and our reputation is everything. Any agency that isn’t as transparent as us, whether it’s within the industry or not, has something to hide in my mind. We’ve put a great deal of effort into our site, ethos and services to make sure you fully understand the process, what you will get and how much your investment will be. We have prices listed on all services and are always upfront about what’s involved. If you are approaching any agencies that aren’t like this, then we believe you should move on. There are plenty of agencies and developers out there who are just as helpful and right for your business, just be sure to ask the right questions and use your head as well as your gut when making the final decision.