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Avoid the Pitfalls of a Dodgy Web Developer.

How to Avoid the Pitfalls of a dodgy web developer.Checking out your competitors is a must for any small business working online, even in our field of web development. By following businesses in the same marketplace as yours, you can keep an awareness of your competition’s offerings and keep abreast of changes in your industry.

Recently, whilst developing a new pricing structure for Rusty Mango Design, I have observed that there are a few unscrupulous practices that some web developers are engaging in. The products and services that they are offering are not exactly what their clients are paying big bucks for. These operators are the equivalent of the dodgy used-car salesman.

Luckily, by following a few simple tips, you can avoid the pitfalls of working with one of these so-called “web developers”.

Watch out for cheap templates being sold as “custom” website design.

The most common trait of a dodgy web designer is the practice of purchasing and using cheap templates and passing it off as their own work.

Purchases these themes from sites such as Themeforest might be fine for some however, as themes can often be bought for less than $60, it seems very wrong that a “web developer” can charges hundreds of dollars for work that they aren’t doing. These operators generally have no knowledge of website coding and, beyond adding pretty pictures, will not be able to modify or customise the site.

The major downside to this – your site will end up looking exactly like thousands of others who use the same theme.  

Rusty Mango Design uses a base theme for our websites called “Rusty Mango Responsive”.  As you can guess by the name, we developed the theme ourselves and it provides a solid foundation from which we build our customised websites, tailored made and coded to our client’s individual requirements. You can’t buy our theme online.

Shop around for the best Price VS Services.

Don’t accept exorbitant fees for website development simply because “that’s what it costs these days”. A web design doesn’t have to break the bank and eat your entire marketing budget. Most developers offer a free quoting service via their websites so use these to your advantage and compare what can be done and what at what price.

With the number of designers competing for your business, you no longer have to pay big city prices for a website but on the other hand, don’t expect to get a customised site for $99 – it just ain’t going to happen.

Use a Local Developer

The most effective websites are the result of clear communication between the business and the developer. Goals are clearly laid out at the beginning of the design and constant adjustments are made in consultation along the way.

This communication can take many forms but it is important that it is ongoing. I’ve heard stories of web developers being very communicative during the initial discussion of a design but once the quote has been approved and site is developed, they aren’t heard from again. After launch support is important – without it the site becomes stale and the business loses out in the long run.

Using a local web developer can avoid the pitfalls of lost communication. You can visit the developer, be an active participant in the design process of your site and, when it’s all online, receive training, support and assistance to keep the site fresh and performing optimally.

Best of all, if you don’t hear from them – you can turn up on their door step 😊

Finally,

How to Avoid the Pitfalls of a dodgy web developer.Always insist on a Pre-Design Agreement or Detailed Quote.

NEVER hire a web developer who hasn’t clearly laid an exact description of the work they are going to do for you and the service they are going to provide afterwards. This may be in the form of a signed contract or, if you work with Rusty Mango, a detailed quote that describes exactly what is going to be done and for how much.

Be sure that any changes to this document are also documented using Change Orders and keep a close track whether these changes tie in with the initial quote. Without this proper documentation, a dodgy web developer can possibly rip you off for thousands of dollars.

Five Simple Tips to help manage your Small Business Website

It was once optional for a small business to have a website. Nowadays, having an 24/7 online presence is mandatory to remain competitive in a global marketplace.

But keeping a website current and up-to-date is often hard for a small business. Your employees often have little “spare” time for tasks such as site updates and, as a result, websites can easily be forgotten – left on the “do it tomorrow” pile. Without this required attention, a stagnant site will soon start to repel potential business customers, rather than attract.

Luckily, with a little planning during the development stage (and a regular dedication of time), these problems can be easily avoided and your website can become a strong marketing hub for your small business that doesn’t drain your resources.

Five Simple Tips to help manage your Small Business WebsiteIntegrate a Content Management System (CMS) from Day One

A user-friendly Content Management System allows site owners and managers the ability to update and create new content directly on their websites. By integrating a CMS as the framework for a new website, you are instantly putting yourself into the driver’s seat to control what goes on your site and how “fresh” it stays.

Learning a CMS is not hard either. The basics of WordPress CMS can be learnt in a matter of minutes, as the editing functions are styled like that of a Word Processor. As I often say to new clients – “If you can create a document in Word, then you can update your own website!”

Use a Content Calendar (and stick to it)

A content calendar (also known as an editorial calendar) helps to plan out new content for your website or social media feed and details when it will be created. This weekly, monthly or yearly calendar should be an integral part of your business’ overall marketing strategy.

By planning content in advance, you (or whoever manages your website) can commit to producing site-worthy information that is suitable for your target audience. By putting a due date on it and ensuring that date is adhered to, working on your site becomes part of your everyday business schedule.

Automate Site Updates and Customer Interaction

If it is possible to time aside for working on your site’s content, take advantage of tools such as the content scheduling that is built into WordPress. Create five blog posts or page updates at one time then use the schedule to program the dates that you want the content to be released onto your website.

Here’s the secret: this blog post you are reading was one of five that I wrote over a recent weekend. I have set the schedule in WordPress to release one every two weeks. Blog Posts for next 10 weeks – done!

Schedule a Post

Allow an Employee to take ownership of website management

Although small businesses don’t have employees to “spare”, it would be ideal to assign the maintenance and upkeep of the website to one person – a web-savvy employ who could take care of both website and social media posts.

Giving ownership of the site to an employee (with guidance of course) ensures that the site will be monitored and “fed” new content to keep your online customers, and Google, happy.

Five Simple Tips to help manage your Small Business WebsiteGet your Web Developer to care of updates for you

If all else fails and managing your website is just not possible in-house, look to a professional. Many web development companies offer a monthly plan which includes website content updates. Caution though, if you are taking this option, compare the plan price against the everyday (hourly) rate of the company to ensure that you are getting a decent offer.

You will still to need to provide content via email but a professional will get it online, make it look pretty and ensure that it gets the right sort of attention.

As discussed in a previous blog post, an out-of-date website that is uncared for will cost you business. Prospects visiting the site will get a poor first impression and Google won’t care for your site either. With the tips above, your site remains “fresh” and acting as a positive reflection of the small business that it portrays.

Rusty Mango Design

Rusty Mango Design