I get the occasional calls from potential clients who try to get me to work on spec or compare me to outsourcing or site builders in an obvious effort to get me to reduce my already reasonable and competitive rates/costs. I’ll admit that I’ve come across some shady web developers and internet marketers who gauge rip off clients and try to accomplish the absolute minimum. This is not how I work. I take a lot of pride in my work and want my clients to do well and don’t feel comfortable taking advantage of people. I believe you can be successful these days by doing great and honest work. However on the other side of the deal are sometimes dishonest or ignorant business owners looking to take advantage of experienced web developers. Once they mention spec work or compare me to outsourcing or how easy my job is with site builders it’s usually a giant red flag to not move further with the client.
After graduating college I wanted a job but was stuck in that common paradox that most graduates face of not having enough experience to get a job and not having a job to get experience. So I decided to start a web design company called Imagine Solutions with my good friend Ian to . We probably spent weeks on our first websites not really knowing fully what we were doing and being completely vulnerable to guiltless sharks trying to get free labour or spec work. Spec work is probably the first scam that is commonly faced by graduates. Shameless business owners will try and trick students into working for free in hopes of getting potential work or worse “exposure”. When I think about some of the things I’ve heard (and still do) from business owners trying to dupe me into free work I cringe. Now I’m not saying you can’t get great quality work from a student but chances are you won’t get the quality from a seasoned web developer. So when people try to tell me they can hire a bunch of college students to build their site for free or next to nothing I usually will cut them off because that type of ignorance is a huge red flag which I don’t even bother explaining. I might know how to make a sandwich but you definitely don’t want me cooking for your entire family.
Outsourcing is a cheap option that business owners take advantage of rather than hiring local talent. I’ve been outsourcing for years and it is now a skill I have perfected. 99% of the time if you’re not tech savvy then you’re probably going to get duped. Since I know the quality that you can get from sites like upwork.com or elance.com I would only outsource small tasks such as data entry or SEO. Websites built overseas are usually thrown together quickly with poor coding standards. 2 weeks ago I was asked to fix a website and after looking at it for 10 minutes I asked the client if he had it developed overseas. I was right. I will not compete with over season developers and don’t care to hear about what you paid for your lousy website. But when the shit hits the fan and you need a reliable developer – I’ll be here. I’m not threatened by outsourcing. I know the quality of service from overseas developers and not interested in any discussion about comparing my professional web development experience to some sweat shop in Bangladesh.
Site builders seem to be more common these days. These platforms allow anyone to login and create a website using a drag and drop interface. Weebly, Wix, Squarespace are just a few of the bigger platforms available. I’m even starting to see television commercials for them. Yes, they do allow you to quickly and easily throw up websites but how good is your website when nobody can find you online? I typically build my sites in WordPress which is not the drag and drop style that these tools offer. But I know that Google loves WordPress and it’s the widely used CMS in the world for many reasons that I’ve listed in my previous blog “Does WordPress Suck?”. I’m not threatened by these site builders because I know the limitations and quality you can expect from using them and already know the end result is likely a site that gets no traffic.
To the business owners who have the misconception that they can obtain an effective and competitive website from hiring students on spec, outsourcing or using a site builder – you’re sadly mistaken. Google’s objective is rank QUALITY websites based on quality and relevance. From experience and just common sense, websites that are thrown together without knowledge, experience or passion don’t usually rank well in the search results.
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