Branding Blog

Why web design is a sham - stay clear of the snake oil!

Written by Dale Berkebile | Fri, Apr 01, 2011

It is amazing how much the web has changed over the last 17 years or so that I have been building website. Since the web started out with people with no formal training, it will be a long time before the industry matures and there are degrees for this stuff. Part of the reason for this is schools just can not keep up with changing technology because things move so quickly.

Yes, I know there are degree programs now, but honestly they are still 2 years behind the curve and in internet years, this is a lifetime.

So I am giving a presentation tonight at a local business organization. As I walk through the lobby I pick up a little junk advertising rag for local businesses to advertise in. After the presentation mostly on blogging and social media, I pick up this rag to flip through since it humors me from time to time.

Anyhow I run across an add for a website professional that used the big headline WHERE DO YOU RANK? So this intrigued me and I thought I check out the site to see what I thought. Running a quick test I found out this site ranks pretty low. Sadly this SEO Expert gets a website grade of 16% out of 100. Not so good. Worse the traffic rank of the site is roughly 21 million when the goal is to be as close to the #1 as possible this seemed like a pretty long way to go for a web expert.

The reason I bring this up is because anyone can say they are a web expert as long as they are able to either find a template or learn some basic html and build their first site. This is fine and we all have to start some where. The problem comes when a consumer is shopping for a website expert and they work with an amateur that is a self proclaimed certified webmaster, seo expert, social media marketer or whatever the current buzz is. How are consumers supposed to know who is legit and who is out there peddling their snake oil?

Well it is very hard for people to know the truth and find quality web experts. Sometimes you can tell by the quality and ease of use of their website, but sometimes a great designer can make a beautiful website that is not able to be found by search engines.

So what do you need to look for in a web designer?
Here are a few items.

  1. Do they have a website? If so is it professional or cheesy?
  2. Do they have a blog? If so how often do they post articles- daily, weekly, monthly or a few times a year? Look for someone that posts weekly.

  3. Is their blog attached to the website or is it external and different from the original site. Look for a blog on the same domain name as the website like www.coke.com/blog.
  4. Are their articles interesting, educational and do a lot of people write comments on their blog.
  5. Do they have a social media accounts - linkedin, facebook, twitter, stumble upon, digg, plaxo, etc. The more they have the more knowledgeable they may be. Also review their profiles and are they active users or just update once every few months.
  6. Do a search for web deign in the area they serve so do something like Fort Worth Web Designers and see if they come up on the first page of google. Or try Fort Worth SEO Companies. Obviously replace your city with the local area this company works in. When it comes to SEO experts, they had better be listed on the first page, isn't that what they are getting paid for?
The point of this article is not to bad mouth the company I saw advertising, but to warn the buyer and teach them how to find the best vendor. If you go through these 6 tips, you will be able to weed out the snake salesmen from the true SEO Experts and inbound marketers. We hope you find this informative and helpful at finding your best vendor. Best of luck and happy shopping.