Believe it or not, we get a lot of these email offers for cheap/affordable website design, too. I think I've done a good job setting up filters in my email and running a teachable spam filter but these emails sometimes get through. I decided to not junk one of them this morning and take a look at their work. Here's what I found:
Here are the things I instantly see:
I found all of this and it's just a simple, e-newsletter sign up form. My team would be used to seeing my comments like you see above (more in the past than now) but it's the details that matter. If you're not good at details, you won't be good with bigger things.
Personally, I don't think you should hit your users up for that first without even getting into the website to see the content. The same goes for those Facebook "like us" popups you see. No, let's get to know each other first before we take this further, ok?
Anyway, back to standards...
This company is obviously working in another country where they don't have a native English speaker checking things over for quality assurance. I even think "Sign Up" should be two words. In this case, either way works. You even see things like "Checkout" being used as a verb. No, you go to the checkout where you check out.
My team was even laughing at me this morning in a meeting because I didn't like how a dash was used in a project name. I was laughing just as much. Hey, that's the way I'm wired, I can't help it.
Since I lead the operations here at Webstix and watch projects pretty closely, there's not a lot that gets by me. We spend a lot of time internally working on our system - maybe too much. Our standards are very high and that's why we hire the best experts we can find. I can't do this all myself, so you get a team of experts working for you at Webstix.
Sure, we've made some mistakes here and there but we always fix them so that they don't happen again. This means we're experienced. When we're in sales meetings with clients and they bring something up, we can usually think of some examples where we've done that before or something similar. Our confidence shines through and I think that's why we get a lot of projects.
From day one, we've believed that our clients' websites are very often the first impression their customers get of them. We like to say, "if your website was a shirt, would you wear it?" and that's where our tag line, "Look Good." came from. It can be used many ways:
This is why we're not the cheapest firm around. You don't want cheap anyway. Cheap means low standards. We just can't get ourselves to do that - lower our standards. We see all the problems that doing that creates - you won't be happy, we won't be happy... why even go there?
Last weekend, I heard part of a radio show where they had a home renovator on and he was talking about bidding projects. He mentioned how they've lost a number of jobs because their bids were high. They felt better about being truthful with a project budget rather than low ball it, get it and then have to ask for more money when the project is only half done. That's kind of the reputation contractors have and they didn't want to be like that. I get that. Choosing something on price isn't always the best idea.
Even shirts. I stopped buying cheap ones because I'd never wear them. They would look nice in the store but you get them home and wash them and they look terrible, so I'd never wear them. Then I started buying the $80 Jos. A. Bank shirts... they feel good (great material), they wash good and I look good in them. I wear them a lot. After all that, the cheap shirts cost me more. I might have paid $20 for the cheap one but I only wore it once. I might wear the more expensive shirts 100-200 times. The cost per wear is down to like $0.40 rather than $20. You get what you pay for.
Ok, I'm rambling now, so I'll conclude...
To find out if a website design company is good - go look at their work. Check out their porfolio of websites. Look at those websites and judge them. Just keep in mind that some designs you might see are old because the client hasn't upgraded or done a redesign in a while or that client might not be good at adding new content and images... that sometimes happens. If you look at enough of their work, you'll be able to tell what they did and what might be mistakes by someone else.
Your website is super important. It can either work for you or very much against you. Don't trust it to just anyone to develop. Find a team of experts with experience and one that you know has high standards. Yes, you'll pay more for that but it's either that or pay for it with headaches. It's up to you.
We'd be very interested in looking at your project. We've even been know to work out payment plans with clients, so don't let our high standards stop you from contacting us.