Beware, and Be Aware, of Web Design Scams
The fields of web design and development are saturated with service providers who blatantly take advantage of their clients’ unfamiliarity with the way that these projects should be handled. Unnecessary fees, overages and devious ways to make residual income are unfortunate traps that clients can get caught up in.
Listed below are the top 10 most prominent scams and swindles seen in web design and internet marketing…don’t fall for them!
1Monthly Fees: One of the most common scams in the industry is found when a client pays for ANYTHING dealing with web design or internet marketing at an ongoing monthly rate.
This tactic is implemented to create residual income for dishonest contractors, but it winds up creating endless ongoing costs for the client. In short, any web designer or marketer who comes with a monthly fee of ANY KIND is a scammer.
You should always be able to update your own website once it goes live. As for search results — they’re in Google’s hands, not your contractors.’
Don’t believe any ‘warning’ about ongoing work being required to keep your site visible on search engines. It’s a sad but common scare tactic that dishonest internet marketers use to pad their monthly coffers. Remember – once your site is built and your marketing plan has been executed, there’s no reason to ever see or hear from your contractor ever again!
2Forced Web Hosting: Web designers who force you to pay an ongoing monthly fee to host your website on their server, after the job is done, are extorting you. Obliging a continued hosting plan is immoral.
Any honest web design contractor will stop short at simply suggesting or offering you a better deal for a monthly web hosting rate. A scammer will oblige you to migrate your site to their server for their own residual income.
3Confusing Industry Jargon: Some service providers like to “snowball” their clients through the use of confusing industry jargon so that the client feels as though the job being performed is far more complicated than it actually is.
This scam is most commonly found with SEO (search engine optimization) services. For instance, any web designer who advertises services like “search engine submission” are showing their inexperience. Either that, or they’re hoping you’ll believe that’s an actual feature.
4Corner-Cutting Carelessness: Many low-cost web design contractors use the same exact web design template across the board of their entire clientele list. It saves time on their end, increasing the number of jobs they can complete per week.
A fatal design flaw such as this will result in a website that is running far below its full potential, with no strategy behind its design nor layout. Additionally, numerous identically-designed sites will leave a ‘generic footprint’ that search engines notice, which will negatively affect their ability to rank in search results.
5Rookie Mistakes: Inexperienced web designers that are not proficient in SEO (search engine optimization) frequently make bad judgments when creating client websites. Websites must be tailored to conform to acceptable, strategic SEO practices.
Using incorrect, outdated practices will greatly put a website at risk; especially in a time of day when search engines like Google are ruthless sticklers. If your web designer doesn’t know what they’re doing, it is going to cost your company in the form of Google penalties.
6“Black-hat” (Illegal) Marketing Practices: Some website providers employ illegal or “black hat” tactics that run a site at extreme risk of losing rankings or being banned entirely from a search engine.
Many practices are blatantly performed wrong, such as excessive backlinking (creating links that point back to a website in an attempt to rank the site for those terms), promotion of your site on shady “bad neighborhood” sites (such as gambling, porn and illegal download sites and forums), keyword stuffing (excessively repeating a keyword on a page to forcefully persuade a search engine to rank the page for those terms) and injecting the code of your site with outdated scripts that will hurt its ability to rank or load properly.
A tell-tale sign of a potential black hatter can be seen when the service promises “top of page Google rankings.” These rankings are either for worthless terms that don’t bring traffic, or will attempt to achieve those rankings through illegal practices that today’s search engines can (and will) notice in the short-term, if not, the long-term. Re-instating a banned website on a search engine is an extreme challenge — it’s simply not worth the risk for your business.
7Poor Design Skills: Nothing makes a client feel like they’ve wasted money more than receiving a website that looks like it was designed in the 1990s. This all-too-familiar issue can be your burden with the wrong designer.
The quality of a web designer’s work can be seen in their own business website. Many web designers have taken on the job as a way to make quick cash without having any prior experience or design skill. The end result: a website that deserves a full refund. What’s worse is that these sites are practically never compliant across browsers (IE, Firefox and Chrome), nor usable on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
If your designer isn’t a seasoned marketing professional with extensive graphic design experience, the chances that your commissioned website will be ineffective and give a bad impression are high.
8Copyright & Trademark Risks: Where is your web designer getting your web graphics from? Unless those images are public domain, purchased or custom created for you, your business is opening itself up to legal action for infringement.
Now that search engines including Google are able to find ‘copies’ of images on the internet, trademark owners can easily find stolen versions of their work (this is also true for copyright holders, who are able to use plagiarism scanners like CopyScape to find stolen versions of their website text!)
Unfortunately, many web designers cut corners and save time by stealing unwarranted images from a Google search — don’t let your company fall prey to the potential fallout, if caught.
9Bloated Features: When browsing the list of services included by your potential web designer, be wary of the “bloated” lists they create which make it appear as though you’re getting a lot, when you’re not.
For instance, any web designer or developer offering things that should be protocol like “contact forms”, “optimization” services, email set-up or spam protection are charging you for elements that can take less than a minute to implement, or are already a standard part of the software being used to create your website. Never pay extra for these!
10Billing Surprises: Hidden fees of any kind are deceptive. If your web designer isn’t providing you with a ledger of their hourly breakdown of services rendered, you’re counting on their honesty in regard to what they really spent those hours on.
The proof is in the time sheet — demand one, if it’s not being provided! Many website contractors bloat their number of hours for jobs that took far less time to complete, in order to inflate the bottom line in their own favor.
Last, But Not Least…
Never, EVER go with a low-cost “create your own website online” service. These days, most domain name and web hosting companies offer it as a perk. However, it’s nothing more than a money mill for them.
Beyond looking amateur, the websites you’ll create with them have a generic footprint that guarantees they’ll never rank for anything significant in search engines. Also, they’ll never be your “property” (read the fine print!) and can be taken down unexpectedly at any time by the company hosting them. This is why you must own your OWN website as a reputable business.
Your website is the online representation of your company. In the wrong hands, it is highly probable that you’ll simply never rank for any relevant terms on the internet, or worse yet, become banned from a search engine due to careless practices.
Click On Us has a deep level of understanding for clients unknowing of the ins and outs of search engine optimization and internet marketing who turn to services like ours for honest advice. We abhor bad business practices commonly seen in this industry, and detest web designers who blatantly take advantage of their clients.