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Avoid Website Design Scams

It is my great displeasure that many new clients have come to me over the years with such scorn for website designers and developers (both company and sole proprietors). This is all due to their nightmarish experiences with previously hired web designers. I even hear complaints from fellow webmasters about working with such unscrupulous individuals. For the untrained eye, it may be hard to sort out the good seeds from the bad.

Avoid website design and web development scam artists by following this advice:

  • A web designer’s website should be a reflection of who they are and the pride they take in their work. Browse the website in its entirety. Is it creative? Is it well put together? Does it look like they put effort into it?
  • Does the website contain useful information? Stay away from developers that have extremely vague descriptions of their services. If all they do is babble on about how they offer “web design”, but do not describe specifically what that entails, stay away from them. Either they are scam artists or they may not be very skilled. The terms “web development” and “web design” cover an extremly large spectrum of services. It is hard to find any developer that does them all. So anyone who does not specify what services they offer, they may be hiring third parties to do the jobs for them… or… as I mentioned, are just scamming for money.
  • Take your time analyzing their online portfolio. Do not do business with anyone who does not have one. View as many projects as you can stand. Make sure the work is actually visible and it is not just a description. Only hire a website/graphic designer who has a decent amount of projects and clients in their portfolio. The more listed, the more they can be trusted. The projects should be accompanied by legitimate company and individual varifiable names. Do your research. Make sure those entities actually exist. Some people create fake profiles.
  • Do all important communication by email. Feel free to call and make sure you have that option, but having everything documented is protection for you in the event things go wrong.
  • Make sure the website designer provides you with a specific and detailed contract. The contract should cover all the specific details about the services to be rendered. It should not be vague. Ensure it has an acceptable refund policy and terms for communication.
  • Avoid paying in cash unless you are provided a signed receipt and you obtain personally identifiable information about the developer and/or company. Paypal offers dispute services in the event there is a problem. Bank checks are easilly tracked and used as evidence if need be.
  • Research the proprietor or company name on the Internet. The larger of a presence they have on the web, the better. The longer they have been around, the better. If they claim to have been around for many years, but they only have one website and it is brand new… be leary.
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