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jason

New Member
Lately I've been noticing a significant number of leads only interested in the cost of getting a website, etc done. The reason I post is because this is starting to become the norm, and something thats hard to ignore. What do you do when a lead isn't interested in a proper web strategy, standards compliance, search engine ranking, and are aware of the neon signs on the web offering templates for under 100 euro.

The majority of people out there don't understand the web other than they need a website and just want to do it as cheaply as possible. Personally I wouldn't want my name associated with poor quality work, so what can one do when respect for quality is diminishing in the rising concerns over cost?
 

link8r

New Member
We're getting a lot of this. I gave a talk on Saturday at Bizcamp and tried to cover it. I've met about 30 new start-ups this year and this is my experience:

First of all people think that they can get a website for next to nothing, that it can just be drawn up in Photoshop. Then, there is a whole group of web designers that believe that they can deliver on this to build their portfolio, and when everyone sees their wonderful work they'll charge €2k a day.

Another set of people believe that they can setup an online store and take on Argos/ebay/BT for €2k.

Almost everyone believes that when you build a website (with a really good design they have drawn out themselves, make it simple like) then they will be doing a better job and therefore their site will be a massive success.

The worst thing to hear is "Well, I dont have a budget over €2k for my global travel site development and SEO" - well where did you develop this budget from? WhoTF told you could??? FFS. Just cos you can build a site for buttons doesn't mean it will work. Its not you, its the web.

You're better off just ignoring these. They are absolute chancers and aren't interested in your opinion. They'll get nowhere. They just haven't realised it yet. They don't unserstand the web and they're not about to let that come in the way between them and billions of online revenue.

The last category of people, the smallest to be honest, who have paid a company up to €15k/€20k for an online store that doesn't even have a CMS for the content pages. They can't add in things like a discount scheme, free shipping over x%, change page titles, add special offers, multi-language content, multi-country content. I'm sorry but what they did pay €15k for? I've seen too many this year, it's scary. Yes, you can blame the web owner, they didn't do their research, absolutely - but who the hell is getting away with this?
 

jason

New Member
Well said ;)
We're getting a lot of this.
Yes we are

You're better off just ignoring these. They are absolute chancers and aren't interested in your opinion. They'll get nowhere. They just haven't realised it yet. They don't unserstand the web and they're not about to let that come in the way between them and billions of online revenue.
What is bothering me and what provoked me to start this thread is that unfortunately these kind of people are starting to take up the largest slice of the pie chart. I have met 4 different groups/individuals this month alone that I have had to walk away from because they wanted me to do very unprofessional work for <= a few hundred euro, in one case €40 (yes that was an entire website). I did my best to help them understand the web and how it can be used to help them, but they were not interested. In one case my lead made an appointment to meet me, and I turned up just before the appointment time and waited until they were ready. They told me they had just given their credit card details to a crowd abroad that were getting a really slick template and a "CMS" that would let them upload content. They then asked me to help them set up this template for them which was absolutely terrible and had IMO nothing that could have been reused in a proper project. Think unseamless background tiles and poor flash boxes, with music and the weather placed on the home page of a website that would have nothing to do with either music or the weather. I told them that I couldn't work with it, and asked were they interested in working with me. They were ademant that this was the solution they desired and got extremely annoyed (raised their voice) when I tried to give them professional advise. Although after they raised their voice I decided I was out of there and left them to their pile of muck they still needed expertise to errect.

The way I see it, the problem is largely to do with the fact that a lot of businesses (more than I would have thought) have no idea how to approach the web, or how to benchmark quality in terms of hiring professionals. The people that raised their voice, thought their circa '98 template was the shiz because it had a bit of flash, the weather & music.

I could start asking well how do you pitch to such people and win work, but I think that's only part of the problem. I've seen government agencies, recently publish reports advising the private sector on what to look for when choosing a web agency and to be honest they actually have some good stuff in there, but not many people in the private sector know anything about it. There seems to be a real lack of education and I think while it stays that way then people are always going to want an entire site done for €40, and there will be people who think they know what they are doing that will give it to them, while telling the customer that the rest of us are just out to rip people off. Sure why wouldn't the customer not listen to them, sure they don't know any better.

I hate trying to educate people in order to give them a chance at making an informed decision and having them think I'm just trying to make a hard sell and get as much out of them as possible.
 

Spiralli

New Member
It is difficult to explain the complexity of a good website to a non-techie. Many think a brochure website is made like a print brochure, with a DTP program. Many arrive with a website made in MS Word that "just needs tidying up". I have been reliably told that a CMS is just about installing Joomla and adding a template - a few hours work max.

Sometimes I spend time trying to explain why a good site costs. Sometimes I print out the PHP code from a custom made CMS module, and walk through the logic of a randomly selected function. Both methods usually yield blank looks :)
 

jmcc

Active Member
Another set of people believe that they can setup an online store and take on Argos/ebay/BT for €2k.
One of the funniest cases of this that I've seen is where a brochureware webdev thought he was up to developing a large database backed website for a shop with a lot of items. These items are continually being updated/sold/deleted (thousands of db updates). Even to experienced database backed website developers, it would have been a tricky project. The site, ironically, is still on the web - a testament to the abuse of tables. :)

The last category of people, the smallest to be honest, who have paid a company up to €15k/€20k for an online store that doesn't even have a CMS for the content pages.
The problem is that many of these webdev firms really don't have much of a clue beyond the usual Open Source products and charging exorbitant prices.

Regards...jmcc
 

jason

New Member
I have been reliably told that a CMS is just about installing Joomla and adding a template - a few hours work max.
LOL, I've heard that too ;). I've also been told that I don't listen to what the customer wants and have had to argue that I am listening but simply pointing out problems with their proposed solution that they may not be aware of, along with offering my own solution which would satisfy their requirements. Some people just want to be agreed with, it's an ego thing. I think it's extremely important to listen to the customer and know what they want, but at the same time if they are driving fast towards a wall, don't let your reputation be a passenger for the sake of getting minimum wage out of them.

What I've noticed is that the majority of people are happy once they can see something and what they can see amounts to everything. Valid XHTML/CSS means nothing and creates blank stares.

To be honest I think the majority of us here on these forums know what we're about and are not faffing about at the lower end of the skill scale. I think we've yet to find a way to market quality, especially in times like these. I have done work in the past for friends who were happy to pay for the service, but only because they know me and trust that I know what I'm doing and have been working with web technologies for nearly 15 years.

In a final attempt to rescue a client from making a big mistake in the past, I simply asked them this one question "What do you want your new website to do for you?, to which they unsurprisingly responded "To get more business". I reminded them that simply having any 'ol website won't do that and they have to either work with me or someone else closely to achieve this. Then the problem is that they will just think that I'm trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill and quote respectively.

Another thing I noticed is that I've had clients who didn't appreciate some of the benefits I was telling them about prior to commencing work. Despite this we still got the project, and when they got the result, I was receiving emails and phone calls from several people at the company telling me it was brilliant and that they could do this and that with it, like it was news to me. The problem here is the "this and that" were features and benefits that I explained to them before starting the project because I knew that they would be extremely useful to them. Sometimes plain English isn't enough, they literally have to be sitting in front of it and reaping the rewards in the context of their own business before they finally understand and appreciate that you weren't taking them for a ride. I feel sorry for them because the web is truly a fantastic platform with the right skill and imagination holds no bounds for what it can do for any business.

Although that last bit sounds like every piece of marketing fluff that you've ever read, but the truth is, it's not. I was going to avoid asking the question "What do you do to help you customers realise they need the job done properly?", but I would like to know the answer. The simple rationale is that this is not just something that affects me, but many of you also, and I know I don't need to rant on and on to you guys as to why doing the job properly is the way it should be. Perhaps one day when the general population understands the web and understands quality, then the chancers you speak of won't have it so easy.
 

Web Templates

New Member
I think people care more about value. They want a good value, to feel that they are getting their money's worth. It is very difficult to compete on price alone, you are better focussing on providing a solid value. A quality product/service at a reasonable price.
 

nevf

New Member
I have been reliably told that a CMS is just about installing Joomla and adding a template - a few hours work max
Six hours on Wordpress - Mayo Wheelers .
Yes it's ugly, but I'm not getting paid for it, so bom chicka wah wah.

Another set of people believe that they can setup an online store and take on Argos/ebay/BT for €2k.
It's possible. Everything is possible, but will it get hacked like a certain one did not so long ago? Yes, something will go wrong? You cannot compete with argos that have a catalog of over 1000 pages on a €2000 and anybody who thinks they can is mocking themselves.

I have put in countless hours working on ecommerce website for my employer (who owns a print shop) and all I can is that 2k is a ludicrous amount to expect a fully fledged ecommerce website for.
 

Spiralli

New Member
Six hours on Wordpress - Mayo Wheelers .
Yes it's ugly, but I'm not getting paid for it, so bom chicka wah wah.
Thats a good result for a few hours work, nevf.

My hypothetical customer would expect much more though. He'd want a template designed from scratch (with 3 complete iterations on the design) rather than a premade theme. He would also want a custom written module or two, email setup and support, SEO consultancy, half a days training and phone support. And he'd still want it for pocket money prices.

Of course, some people are on the other end of the scale. We've probbaly all met people who paid big bucks for bad work and were happy with the results.

Fortunately, I have seen more informed people coming to us over the past year or so, with a good understanding of what they want and how much that is worth on the open market. Those are the ones I like to see coming through the door.
 

Pixelcraft

New Member
Six hours on Wordpress - Mayo Wheelers .
It's possible. Everything is possible, but will it get hacked like a certain one did not so long ago? Yes, something will go wrong? You cannot compete with argos that have a catalog of over 1000 pages on a €2000 and anybody who thinks they can is mocking themselves.
No it's not, this is the type of bs that feeds clients like these. Unfortunately, the lower levels of this industry spout all this crap, so it's not really the clients fault for thinking what some of them do. All professionals can do is educate them, and hopefully they will see the value in what you can offer.
 

nevf

New Member
No it's not, this is the type of bs that feeds clients like these. Unfortunately, the lower levels of this industry spout all this crap, so it's not really the clients fault for thinking what some of them do. All professionals can do is educate them, and hopefully they will see the value in what you can offer.
Yes, but remember that while you're trying to educate these types of clients, you are also digging into valuable time that you should be charging for.

I'm by no means a professional web developer/designer and I'll be the first to admit it, but it has happened me a couple of times where I had people contact me assuming that I could design a website because I was "good on computers" - back when I was even worse than I am now. And they wanted a fully fledged ecommerce site for €500 - that was to be "something like komplett". It's happened me two or three times. And it's not the clients fault, it's just the impression they've been left with by the likes of ads in newspapers that tell them they can have a professional website in 60mins for <€50 imo.

If that was what it was like in the good times, imagine what it's going to be like in a recession.

And I hate the term "better to have a crap one there than nothing at all"
 

link8r

New Member
I've been very impressed with some new clients lately. Instead of sitting back, saying you're the expert, they're immersing themselves with online training courses and marketing and social media but still giving me the space to operate but also being able to have a meaningful discussion about the pro's and con's of different strategies.

I've also been delighted to see that since March, a lot of people have come to us and said they prefer us even if we are more expensive but have the right design, experience and so on. So I think that bodes well overall...

Is anyone else seeing a dramatic pickup online?
 

nevf

New Member
I've been very impressed with some new clients lately. Instead of sitting back, saying you're the expert, they're immersing themselves with online training courses and marketing and social media but still giving me the space to operate but also being able to have a meaningful discussion about the pro's and con's of different strategies.
Yes.
The people I do work for (and not just web) are beginning to respect the web more, are beginning to become interested, and are showing a willingness to learn - especially older people.

I've also been delighted to see that since March, a lot of people have come to us and said they prefer us even if we are more expensive but have the right design, experience and so on. So I think that bodes well overall...
No.
Everyone wants to save money. Or at least in my case anyway. But people are no longer falling for the "60 minutes website" gags that have dictated through the years. People are seeing value for money, but at the same time, don't want to spend money.
 

link8r

New Member
We decided to stop hiring and not replace people and not renew contracts since November. Some of our really good sales people and contractors got offrered jobs in other companies and we decided not to compete - so we've trimmed back. Now, we're choc-a-bloc, which is great, so instead of re-hiring as the 2003-2008 strategy, I'm just going to stop discounts and keep high quality/low volume as the way forward...
 
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