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The Pitfalls of Hiring a Website Development & Online Marketing Company; as told by a small business owner

INNOVISION

The Pitfalls of Hiring a Website Development & Online Marketing Company; as told by a small business owner

A Small Businesses Owners Struggle To Find The Right Web Development Company & Why They Chose InnoVision   It is our hope with this letter, to document and describe the extremely challenging times our company has endured trying to find a reputable website and marketing company. Our goal is to ensure that no other business entity […]

A Small Businesses Owners Struggle To Find The Right Web Development Company & Why They Chose InnoVision

 

It is our hope with this letter, to document and describe the extremely challenging times our company has endured trying to find a reputable website and marketing company. Our goal is to ensure that no other business entity has to deal with the same challenges, and to help other business owners avoid the unnecessary “pitfalls” we endured on our long journey to develop a website presence.

We began our search for a website designer and developer five years ago, in early 2009. We used what we believed to be appropriate due diligence in finding just the right person. We looked at samples, checked references, had several interviews, and filled out pages of paperwork. We thought we found our perfect designer. This person worked out of her home in the California Bay Area and we felt very comfortable when we hired her. We learned many a hard lesson in the process. We found out that it is very difficult if your desire is to have useful information on your site. We also learned that no one is willing to write or edit copy for you (although most say that they do). We tried three “professional editors” but they simply weren’t up to par, so we had to write and edit everything ourselves. Most companies want to throw up a few pages with some cool art in an attempt to get your business phone to ring, but finding someone to work diligently on producing a great site – well that’s another matter. The industry standard seems to be to pay your chosen company (provider) up front, thus, you are committed no matter what happens. The first person we hired had given us the impression that our website was being built, after months of thinking this, our designer notified us that they were having health issues. Even though we had paid up front for the website, we had to look for another company.

At this point we decided to try someone more local to us. We felt that we might have more control of the process and were hoping to support a local business owner. Specifically, someone we could get to know in person that would champion our new site. Again, we did our homework, researched many options, interviewed, called on references, and found who we believed to be our perfect, “web fit.” We liked their sample designs, filled out a lot of paperwork, and jumped in with both feet again.

This person had a great “web” presence and was all the talk at some local networking events. We hired this company, paid the “industry standard” down payment (mostly all up front), and began what we thought was to finally be the completion of our website. At this point we are into year two, had spent $5,000.00 and still were without a website presence. They started out strong, but then within a couple of months began to have personal/family challenges. We then learned that this person was working out of home (which we are not saying is a bad thing), that caused distractions with our project. We tried our best to give the designers everything they needed. We even tried to work with their preferred editor. We spent hours on the phone and were always told it’s going to be great – until we started expecting completion. Bottom line, we had already paid handsomely for what turned out to be a shell, with no copy. To us it really was more of a shell game. We had to argue and threaten legal action just to get that. Now we are into year three and another $3,500.00 dollars went down the drain – and still no website.

Another lesson we learned about web developers and common practices, is that they generally all have, “background” people who do most of the copy and/or technical work and that they try to feverishly limit your time with these professionals. It’s kind of like, “If you want to know more, or want one more hour, you need to give us your credit card.”

At this point we realized that we would only now deal with a “brick and mortar” establishment regarding our website. We wanted to work with a company that we could meet with in person and who was credible, a company with which we could build a real working relationship. We found that person. He was working with a company in the downtown area, had a beautiful suite of offices and was extremely professional. He spent several hours with us on the phone and in person, got to know us, and we began a new and what we believed would have been the end of our “no website dilemma.”

No such luck. Just as the site was about to, “go live,” he left this company to become the Managing Partner of InnoVision a new web design & marketing company. We stuck with this company because they had actually done work on our site, and of course, had already been paid the bulk of the fees, up front. We promptly were left with what turned out to be a series of incompetent substitutes. After another year of hours and days spent trying to get our website live with this company, (and another $3,000.00), their servers got a virus and the project slid backwards, again. Then our key, behind the scenes person took what was described as a medical leave. We were advised to just let the site go live and “We’ll fix it later,” but when we were able to review the work it was hardly ready for prime time. We were told, once again that if we wanted more work done to make the site what we had expected it to be, then we would have to pay another large sum just to keep the project alive. Bottom line, there was still no website and no way for us (from the outside looking in), to then decide which direction to go next. However, as luck would have it, we did some research and were able to locate the person whom was really the only one up until that point who had actually helped us. Hope at last!

The good news, by renewing our working relationship with him, it was confirmed that he truly is the professional we had thought him to be. He gave us the answers we needed, and made good on everything. In fact, better than good! Finally, we knew that we were in good hands and had met not only a professional, but someone who has a capable team behind him. He worked out a reasonable financial arrangement for us (in light of all we had been through), and even set the stage for his entire management and technical team to make us a priority, until our site was fixed of all of the bugs and missing items. Together, they all worked to set a timeline for going live. That date was October 15, 2013, a day which will now be historic in our corporate calendar.

For the couple of weeks our company worked with these professionals. We were never told that something could not be done. In fact, every question we had and every request we made was met with open arms and a “can do” attitude – backed up with results. On October 15 our site went live. We simply cannot say enough good things about the: professionalism, team approach, complete and total integrity, and attention to detail that we received from everyone we had contact with at our new web company, “InnoVision.” We especially would like to compliment Jeff Irvine for being the Champion that he is, and Julian Wilson Holmes, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes. He has a boundless work ethic and the personal integrity to get this job done for us – which he did, expertly and efficiently!

Here’s to InnoVision, who finally got the job done when no other company had been able to. We highly recommend InnoVision to any company, business or individual who is contemplating hiring a Web Design and Marketing company.

Due to anonymity, this client asked to remain anonymous. 

When choosing a web development company or marketing agency, do your homework. Just because companies appear to know what they’re doing, doesn’t mean there isn’t chaos internally that can effect your project. At InnoVision we deliver.

Jeff Irvine
Partner at InnoVision