Watch Out for “The Guy”

By Mamie Patton | August 23, 2017

“So, who’s managing the back end of your web site?” “Oh, we got a guy.”

And thus strike the gongs of doom. More often than we’d like, clients come to us because they used “A guy.” It conjures images of a self-taught, one-man shop working out of his basement to make websites on the cheap. The company hired him because his price was way lower than other proposals. Turns out, there are reasons for that, and the client got what they paid for: too little. In this post, we discuss why low-cost web development isn’t really low-cost at all.

RLM’s experience with low-cost web development

One company asked us to fix their new website. It was less than 3 months old, but it didn’t provide a user experience that enabled them to get leads. After analysis to understand their business needs and how the site needed to deliver, it was clear the site could not be salvaged. The company was forced to pay for a brand-new site, built from scratch.

Another client opted for low-cost web development. A year later, the developer had disappeared, along with the access information.

Yet another client had their site hacked, and their data held for ransom, because the developer was hosting the site on their own servers, which were not as secure as they should be. But his price was really low.

See a pattern here?

We don’t like seeing businesses suffer the consequences of shoddy website development or maintenance.

It reflects poorly on our profession. We’d much rather be helping clients grow their business, instead of fixing problems that should not have happened in the first place.

That’s not to say there aren’t some terrific one-man or one-woman shops out there who are highly qualified and professional. But they are not doing it on the cheap. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Imagine your company has outgrown its offices and the board has agreed it’s time to build new headquarters that will better serve the business. Is it better to cast about for Some Guy who says he can build it cheaply, or to consult with experienced architects? Do you hire the cheapest construction company, or the one that will do the best job within parameters of cost, time and quality?

Websites are complex.

Behind even the simplest site is an extensive web of design, code, and plugins. Additionally, there are changes on the internet almost daily that can affect your site, requiring disciplined monitoring and ongoing updates. Good sites are not inexpensive. The only thing more expensive is a poor site built on the cheap.