June 21, 2017

“You get what you pay for”

Is your cheap website a lemon?

Is your cheap website a lemon?

You have heard it over and over – if you want a high quality product or service, it is going to cost more than the cheapest you can find.

This is very true when it comes to website design, SEO, and all types of internet marketing. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shop around for the best prices, but you should be prepared for some unintended consequences if the price tag is your main concern.

I have never been the “Buy American” type and believe you should try to get the best compromise between quality and cost. But I have grown to have a rather  negative view of “offshore outsourcing”.
Ker Communications doesn’t do it. Ever. We have never found an overseas provider we could trust with our reputation and the quality of services we offer to our clients. Not even for the simplest SEO tasks like directory submissions.
I think what happened is a few years ago, there were plenty of developers in India and elsewhere who would gladly do acceptable quality work for much less than we egotistical, arrogant North American web designers and developers would do top-quality design and development. You would have to spend a little time fixing up spelling and grammar, but it was often worth it. Then hundreds, or even thousands of people in these other countries found out they could make lots of money if they learned a few basic skills, and US business owners hoping to get something for next to nothing happily hired them. Or maybe they received scary emails about how poorly their website was performing in the search engines and how this cheap overseas company could get them thousands of backlinks for just $99.  Then their websites stopped working properly, their ranking in search engines dropped due to having nothing but links in spam-filled blogs or no real optimization was done at all! And then they had a tough time finding someone to fix their broken websites because the original code was written so poorly that to make it right would require rebuilding the site from the ground up.

Now here’s the really bad part:
It is easy for me or any other US based web design and online marketing service provider to bash the offshore outsourcing scene. But it isn’t just coming from India. We have had a high number of new clients coming in with sites that are terribly outdated, broken, not upgradable, can’t be indexed in the search engines or any number of other bizarrely amateur problems. And they are coming from right here in Pittsburgh!  Some are from part-time hobbyist webmasters whose good intentions were not matched by their knowledge, experience or abilities. But what is more troubling is the high number of clients with lemon websites who paid a local internet service provider thousands of dollars for underpowered, non-functional, search engine unfriendly and sometimes downright ugly websites. The ISP was sold, and the new company offers little to no support to these legacy clients. Your ISP knows how to connect you to the internet, your phone directory publisher knows how to list your business in print and even online, but do they really know what they are doing when it comes to designing and developing a quality website or online marketing strategy?
And how do you suppose they are able to offer so-called search engine optimization as a $29 per month add on? Outsourcing, or even cheap domestic labor that is just doing paint by numbers SEO work, is just not going to be effective in helping your business succeed.

It isn’t just the ISPs and hobbyists – the web design and internet marketing “professionals” often outsource, too. If you are shopping for SEO or a website, insist that there will be no outsourcing of anything related to your website and see if the price quote goes up.

Maybe I shouldn’t complain – fixing all this shoddy work, whether from home or abroad, keeps us busy. At this point well over half of our clients fit this description – they have already been burned by poor quality web design, outdated search engine optimization tactics, or complete SEO rip-offs that either did absolutely nothing or did things that did not even make sense.

I often make comparisons between web design & development, internet marketing and auto repair. Sometimes you try to fix your car yourself and have to go to a real mechanic to get it fixed, hoping they will have mercy and not make you feel foolish for messing it up yourself. I know. I get it. I have tools and the belief that I can fix anything if I can Google it. Been there, done that.
At Ker Communications, we don’t shame, ridicule, or judge you when you bring your lemon of a website in for an overhaul. We just want to make it right. Sometimes we can fix it. Unfortunately, sometimes we’ll have to sell you what you thought you already paid for. We do our best to educate you on what went wrong, what can be done about it, and make your website a valuable asset to your business. And we keep it cost-effective while maintaining the high quality you deserve. If you really can’t afford the absolute best web design or search engine marketing, we do know which corners to cut to save a few bucks without doing harm or locking you in to a money pit of a website – and we’ll do it without outsourcing.

Do you have an outsourcing or shoddy web design horror story? You are not alone.  
Share your story in the comments section below!
Or if you aren’t into the support group talk-therapy thing, contact us and we can discuss it one on one. 

  • Hi Nick – Just ran across one of your comments to a contributor on G+ and followed your link back to your blog … You have EXCELLENT content, hope you not mind if I share some of your knowledge (silly question) … Regarding this post, one recent experience comes to mind. We have a client (law firm) that was paying a nice chunk of change for a “custom CMS” that was supposedly; 1) Super user friendly, 2) MUCH more secure than a standard CMS / Joomla / WordPress / Drupal and 3) Search optimized … First, #1 – NOT TRUE, #2 – The previous consultant has a FELONY from a previous life for being involved in a Nabster type scandal/site, he spends 90% of his time saving his clients from hackers and 10% doing marketing, and #3) his version of SEO was 6 keyword-domains that had ZERO (I mean ZERO) search exposure, perhaps they worked at one point in time and then Google EMD cut them down. Nonetheless when the consultant found out the client was switching to us he indirectly threatened the security of our site and our clients, I spent a whole weekend installing the latest/greatest Joomla and WordPress SQL Injection prevention plug-ins and changing my table name prefixes for a host of clients. Nonetheless, the happy ending to this story is that our client is FINALLY getting search exposure, traffic and some conversions!!! I was beside myself when this guy insisted that his strategy of 6 domains with dedicated landing pages was the search marketing solution du jour for the client!

    • Hi Michael

      Glad you found the site and by all means – share away!

      You hit on a recent pet peeve of mine: Developers who sell a completely unnecessary “custom” CMS that can’t compete with an out of the box solution at all. The only unique feature of most of them that I run into is that it ensures that the client absolutely MUST go back to the original developer to change anything because it is just too screwed up for any another developer to to figure it out. Unfortunately, they then charge high fees to change the site, or in the case of SEO, they will argue that fixing duplication issues, adding OpenGraph meta data, rel=author or any number of other things are not needed and refuse to cooperate. Big egos or just a sneaky nature keep them from making improvements or even acknowledging the need. Yeah, I have a big ego too, but I will at least acknowledge when I don’t know something. There are times when a specialized site does need a custom CMS, but those are increasingly rare.

      And the security issue: This site recently started getting lots of hack attempts, which coincide with a really sloppy attempt at negative SEO (IPs of perpetrators are available. You think your Fiverr buddies and linkspammers won’t rat you out for a few bucks? Your name is mud).
      Some people just can’t get by on their own abilities and have to resort to childish and criminal behavior. Rather than trying to improve themselves, they try to make others worse. Pathetic souls who taught themselves a little about the web years ago but didn’t keep learning, and allow their own arrogance to be their downfall.

      But enough ranting…
      Happy to hear you were able to pull your client out of web-scammer hell and into positive territory. Feels good, doesn’t it? And you got to learn a little about securing