Recently we ran across a company who had an advertisement in a local newspaper. It was a nice full page ad and at the bottom was a web address. Just the day before I was frantically searching the net in every search engine I could think of with no luck for this type of business. I was more than intrigued to pay this site a visit. Upon visiting the site I found a page in which I was supposed to be able to submit a request for an estimate. I spent quite some time explaining & detailing what I wanted & got to the bottom of the form where it said “press submit button to send”. I looked & looked & looked again. No submit button! I spent a good 10 – 15 minutes carefully thinking out what I wanted to say and now I can’t even get it in their hands because of a careless error?
I was fuming! Luckily one link on the site did work, the “email us” link. I took a minute to conduct myself & composed another message to the webmaster about how it isn’t polite to treat visitors in that manner. I inquired “how many people have responded to your website? If you would like it fixed we can help!” The answer I received back was timely, cordial and apologetic. Nothing like the impression the website gave of this company. A long talk with the owner revealed why. . . . .
It seems this business owner had contracted with a “webmaster school” down in Florida. Now one thing we wont do unless absolutely necessary here at LRS Marketing is name names so they shall remain nameless for now. If they show us any further problems as we try to get the domain transferred we may have to! What this school had done to this poor business owner is sad. They promised him things they couldn’t deliver such as a merchant account & secure order processing. This lead to them taking the submit button off of the estimate form leaving no way to send the information at all. Only part of the estimate form had anything to do with submitting payments but they removed it all anyways.
The website according to the owner was working properly the day he approved & paid for it. However the school let the students keep working on it and now they have it entirely screwed up. There are broken picture links, the form to download a referral list gives a file not found error, and they loaded about 30 photos on one page because the only allowed him a 3 page site. No wonder they had never received any requests for estimates or email requests for contact. The impression this site left was a bad one. It was harming them not helping. If I hadn’t been a webmaster wanting to fix this website I never would have gave this company the time of day. I cringe to think about the business they have lost.
To make matters worse the business owner has spent hundreds of dollars in long distance phone calls to try & get anything on his website fixed. He gets the run around or they go in again & mess up something else & leave the original problem still unfixed. They were supposed to insert meta tags onto his pages & submit him to the search engines for the outrageous price of $225. They never even completed that either. Which at this point is good. LRS Marketing has adopted this site and is dedicated to getting it up & running so we can announce it to the world correctly.
Well give you future updates of the progress of this site & their success under our wing! We don’t want to name them now because they are embarrassed by the site & don’t want to attract anymore visitors until it’s fixed. We are planning on featuring them on our website makeover page showing the before & after sites. It should be interesting. . . stay tuned for details!
The moral of this story is that you get what you pay for. This business owner never imagined the low price he paid upfront would turn into such a nightmare. He didn’t realize the students would have access to his website & be able to change it at will without his knowledge (I can’t even believe they do business that way). What business owner would allow unqualified students to tinker with something as important as your company image? The business owner who doesn’t know! And they aren’t going to tell you either!
My strong advice is to go with a reputable company who knows what they are doing & can fix problems on the fly! Preferably while you on the phone with them! There are good webmasters out there who are reasonably priced you just have to look. Know what you are getting into by reading everything on their site, their contracts, etc. If everything seems in order check out a site or two that they have done and if all is okay feel relatively safe in going with them.
If you decide to go with a “school type” design team research them thoroughly. Make sure you will have sole control of the site after it is complete or at least that nobody can tinker with it without your approval. Read the contract thoroughly for hidden charges & disclaimers. Then all you can do is hope for the best!
*This article written by Lisa Schmeckpeper of LRS Marketing and published in their free newsletter, Website Success Monthly. To receive a free copy of this informative e-zine just send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.lrsmarketing.com. Copyright 2000 [LRS Marketing]. All rights reserved.