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We've all encounterd the Weekend FP Hack right? - Typically someone that makes a few sites for friends or family using FP, Pagemill or some other such editor in their spare time and then does nothing much more...
How does this affect your business? Do you run into these guys often where you are?
A good few pro's use FP, I'm not knocking that in particular. What I find is that many a small business here in Denmark have there website built by 'someone who knows about computers' and it's invariably rubbish.
Getting past the 'well my son can make websites' is for me, a waste of time.
This is a legitimate concern, especially given the economy right now in the US. IT has been scaled back, and the web, which senior management never understood to begin with, is even less important to them now. If they get it in their heads that they should have a web site, unless they have the sense to hire it out it winds up looking like my father's sites.
When they say, "my son could do it" I always answer that "we could also do our own plumbing, wiring, carpentry and dentistry, but there's a reason we don't.
So, yes I do miss out on the short term opportunity to build and position the site, however, by keeping in touch with these folks, I do get a lot of business later.
Then she contacted me recently, wanting to do a proper job of it this time... she'd written a whole bunch of new content to try to prevent the stupid questions she kept getting via email from her old site, and some nice photos, etc. Then, a couple weeks later, she emailed to tell me about all the compliments she was getting on it... and how glad she was to finally get it done right.
If you treat them nicely, let them live with a bad/amateur site first, and make sure they know how to get ahold of you later, the customers worth working with will come around eventually. (I flubbed up on the "know how to get ahold of you later" part on this one. Luckily, she's one of those people who saves 'important' email forever... so she still had an email from me from two years ago sitting on her HD.)
Couldn't agree more. Have a very big client who had its web site developed by an ad-agency. No titles, no descriptions, frames with a NOFRAMES tag that reads 'get a new browser'. Horrible to navigate. But this client was inclined to listen to my arguments--2 months ago, that is. Since then, they've passed on my remarks to the ad-agency who is doing nothing with it because they simply don't understand that part of building web sites...
They seem to have the attitude of "this whole internet thing hasn't payed off for us, why spend more money on it?" I guess that's were good sales skills come in. Convincing this once burned, twice shy customer.
quiet-man - Is this just a hypothetical example or the actual figure? If it's the actual, do you have a source for it? I've been looking for some ammunition.
In general, bad sites don't help anyone. Whether they're cheap and thrown together, beautiful and expensive but non-spiderable, all graphics and slow loading, or entirely in Flash, clients don't like to hear it... and I lose prospects because they don't want to spend the money to do their sites over again and pay for SEO too.
I've been talking to an ad agency about optimizing a client site that is in redesign. The new site hasn't yet been built, but the copy's been approved, and just asking them to change that is a major, major request.
There's an odd disconnect too... they keep thinking they can hand me any site, and somehow I can optimize it without touching the content... and they're not talking about cloaking. I think I've even gotten them to understand that meta tags won't get them rankings, and they still think that somehow I can optimize the site without touching it.
What I see happening is that all the things they've ever heard about all the different forms of search engine optimizing and marketing get blurred into a bunch of fuzzy notions, and the process of education is tremendously difficult because of the huge amount of misinformation out there, and the large political mass within the agency and all the departments in the client company that have got to be brought on board. I've almost put more effort into education thus far than I would have to simpy optimize the site.
And so, I've turned down more than one job because of the fact that it would open a gigantic and costly can of worms and the client was only willing to pay for a tweak. (And I refuse to use FP myself as it causes more problems than its worth. If you are a hand coder, don't even fire up FP and look at your site's files with it, trust me on that one).
And then they leave happy, all marvelling at how much faster their little site is all of a sudden, and give me good word of mouth... and I've done a little part to make the web a cleaner, faster place. ;)
They do it when they feel like it.
And my 9 year old daughter can probably do better, and she doesn't have a degree in computer science. It's amazing what some kids can do. Their flash is killer.
The little lady and I have a condo in Florida, and last time we went down, I brought the laptop to work on some designs while on vacation (yes, I am aware that I am a nerd). I visited the website for the management company which runs our condo and thought it may be fun to design a new website for them. I noticed that their current site was rather... *cough* ..."dated".
So, on a nice sunny day, I clicked a bunch of photos with the digital camera, worked out some easy-to-read content and mocked the whole thing together. I lumbered over to the manager to pitch the "new" website to him, and low and behold......his GRANDSON designed the website for them (because "he's taking a computer course in school")
Oh well, you live and learn.
Since then, I have actually had positive results with businesses who have had the FP'ers design their sites. Usually, these people are very interested in creating a more "professional" look for their company and understand that it will cost more than what they paid their neighbours-friends-cousins-brother-in-law, who does web design out of his basement apartment.
No offence to anyone who works out of their basement apartment.
<added> Hey, there's a ShyGuy here now, too! Welcome. Now all we need is a SighGuy ;)</added>