Consider this scenario. You track down a web design company online with great pricing and a nice portfolio. You exchange a few emails and get a quote for custom web design work. After careful consideration, you decide to partner with the design team.
Of course, the web design company requests a deposit for the work -so you send one. You never hear from the company again.
What you just experienced was an unprofessional web design company with one goal – to rip you off.
Unfortunately, web design and other Internet-related services are notorious for this type of fraud. And the last thing any business owner wants is to waste money on a scam. You could be their next target – so it’s critical to spot the signs of a web design scam artist.
Our 5 signs of an unprofessional web design company help you keep the fraudsters at bay.
1. Subscription-Based Ongoing Charges
The pay-for-life model certainly seems lucrative from a web designer’s point of view. But after the initial design, what exactly are you paying for in your monthly invoice? It’s something for the scam artist to know – and for you to never find out.
Always think of a website like any other piece of property. You paid for it – and you own it. And why would you continue paying for something you already own? The bottom line: any pay-for-life pricing model for web design is not worth your time – or money.
2. No ‘Real’ Office or Staff
What exactly do you know about your web design team? Do you have a point of contact connecting you with the other designers? These are important questions to consider. Many web design scam artists hide beneath the umbrella of “Internet-Based Company”. Basically, the unprofessional web design company lacks a real office – or staff.
In the modern working world, it’s common to see some level of a virtual workspace. But more often than not, web design companies without an actual office or real team spell trouble. Always search the web designer’s site for employee profiles and other evidence the company is legit.
3. A Poorly Designed (or Template-Based) Company Site
Think about it. You’re paying a web design company to create your website, right? Obviously, it’s their job to make your site – and your business – look good. In the same breath, shouldn’t their website look good, too?
How can any web design company offer you a custom design without doing the same for their own site? If the unprofessional web design company didn’t put in the time to create a custom site, then it’s time to move on.
Always visit the web design company’s own website to assess the quality you can expect from their work. Don’t let a company dupe you into thinking you’re getting a custom job when it’s just a template.
4. Poor Search Engine Rankings
Search engine optimization is a challenge for any business. Sometimes, it’s tough to get your site ranked competitively for your targeted keywords and phrases. But remember, a telltale sign of a good or bad web design team is the company’s own rankings.
Quality web design leads to increased rankings. If the team is well-established and good at what they do, then you’ll find them in the search engines. That’s why poor search engine results page (SERP) placement is a major red flag. You could be dealing with just a pop-up company looking to scam you.
Poor search engine rankings may not always be a dealbreaker. However, it’s wise to approach all web design companies with this word of caution in mind.
5. Outdated Web Styles & Samples
Web design trends move fast. While it might be tough for you to keep up, it’s a web designer’s job to stay ahead of the trends. If their site or samples seem out of date, what will that mean for you? Most likely, it means you will get an old-fashioned and unoptimized website.
Don’t be a victim. Select a web design company that works to keep up with the trends and design changes of modern websites.
A Little Homework Goes a Long Way
In the end, the age-old recommendation to do your homework still holds true today. Finding the right web design company means doing a bit of legwork on your end. Take some time and do a bit of research. When in doubt, opt for a web design company with all the following qualities:
- High ranking on search engines
- Legitimate reviews from satisfied clients
- An in-house staff
- A professional, well-designed parent site
Your hard work will certainly pay off with a better web design company working for you. The end result is a quality website to help your business succeed even more.