I shouldn’t even be writing this right now. But I had to – I just had to. I literally had 3 different clients tell me horror stories this week that made me mad. Very mad. As I was sharing these stories with my business partner, I had the idea to start sharing these stories with you. The title for this series of blogs came to me at the same time: “Confessions of an Honest Web Marketer.” I hope you don’t see it as a pompous title because I really do see myself as an honest guy and business owner. It makes me mad when I hear horror stories from my clients on how they were, or currently are, being treated by their existing web marketing company.
I have a client for whom I have done work on a project. He came to me this week with another opportunity to build out a website for an organization that he now leads. The organization has a website that has been online for a number of years, and they have been using a web developer to handle updates. They aren’t terribly pleased with the website as a whole and, for that matter, the web developers’ handling of website updates. They’ve made a decision to shop out a new web build. Because of my relationship with the owner, he naturally thought of me.
Baked into the existing website is a search feature that allows users to search for members of the organization. It was communicated to me that this search feature spits results out depending on the search query, and there are over 1500 members that are active in the organization. I communicated to the client that it would be ideal to get access to the back-end of the existing website so that I could see the code for this feature, and ascertain whether or not we could utilize it in the new website. With that, they reached out to their existing web developer to ask for access – to their website.
Side note: this developer didn’t create the website, she is the person that ended up getting the opportunity to work on it after the original developer declined in the ongoing business. As such, this is a non-proprietary open source platform and no honest developer should have any issues with giving their clients access to the code.
So you can probably guess what happens next. The current web developer has decided that she doesn’t want to provide access to the website. She is holding the site hostage because she doesn’t want to lose the on-going business that she has been enjoying over the last few years.
Can you believe it? I mean, REALLY? She has no legal claims to this website. She doesn’t own this site. Yet she is refusing the client access to the back-end. Horror story. Dishonest web developer. Shame, shame, shame. I hate it when I hear about stuff like this. It reflects negatively on my industry as a whole and it just makes me mad to know that there are web developers out there who pull these kinds of shenanigans. I want to tell you something: this will never happen to you if you partner with Brew City Marketing. I cannot even imagine pulling these kinds of games with my clients.
PULL THE WOOL OVER THEIR EYES
Just today I had a prospect call me to tell me that his existing website provider had informed him that they could no longer host his old, outdated website and that he “needed” to update it to a new platform. Mind you, I know this provider, as they are also local in this market, and I know that they host their websites on a 3rd party server. Disclaimer: there is no server IN THE WORLD that will kick your site off because it’s old.
The prospect also told me that the company said that they will triple their monthly hosting fee until he upgrades his website. The guy was confused and upset by the time he called me. He didn’t understand why they were forcing him to update his website, but he wasn’t entirely sure if what they were telling him was actually true. He also told me that he was one of their first clients and had been with that company for 14 years. He said that he was happy paying the monthly hosting, and a couple hundred dollars each year for updates, but didn’t feel right about what they were trying to do to him.
The site was surely outdated and not mobile friendly. I told him that if he were my client that I would also recommend a new website but that I would never force his hand and raise his hosting until he committed. I am simply flabbergasted that this company is out there telling their clients this B.S.
We have a plan of attack though: I am going to email this other web company and tell them that the client is requesting that we host their website for them. The client was wary of trying to do this on his own because he knows that they’re aware that he doesn’t understand all this web stuff. I will be contacting this other company to get the website files so we can put them on our server. Once they are on our server, we can access the domain and redirect to the new files – on our server. The client will not HAVE TO update their website, unless they want to. Their hosting fees will go back down to a reasonable rate and the client will never ever have to worry about his website provider pulling the wool over his eyes.
It makes me sick when website companies use confusion in our industry to get dollars from clients. I made a promise to myself when I started this company that I would always be truthful and respectful to my clients. I know without a shadow of a doubt, that even if that promise loses me some dollars in certain instances, in the long run, that approach will make me successful. I am an honest website developer and I will always tell it to my clients straight.
From Mark Dalnodar