How To Know If Your Web Guy Is Ripping You Off
I’ve heard so many “web guy” ripoff stories from my clients in the last couple weeks I have to break the silence. This may tick off some people (even some I consider friends), but the madness has GOT to stop.
See if this sounds familiar:
1) You need a slight change to your website, so you send your web guy an email
2) A week goes by and you don’t hear from him
3) You send another email and/or leave him an irritated voice mail
4) He finally makes the change
5) A week later you get a bill for $200 or more for something you know took him less than 5 minutes
I call it “1990’s Web Guy Syndrome” – and it’s out of control.
1990’s Web Guy Syndrome: when an unsuspecting spa owner continues to pay outrageous fees to their web guy, even though they could be paying much, much less. 1990’s Web Guys prey on the fear and ignorance of the spa owner, knowing that the spa owner thinks all things related to websites and the internet require PhD’s in computer science to understand.
If you suspect you are paying WAY too much for web design, graphic design, web hosting, “consulting fees, email, etc. you’re probably suffering from 1990’s Web Guy Syndrome. The 1990’s were the heyday for web guys…the internet was still a new thing, spa owners were being told they needed a website, but didn’t have the foggiest idea how to build one themselves.
Any geek who learned HTML code could waltz into the local Chamber of Commerce meeting and walk out with a handful of business cards from unsuspecting business owners willing to pay thousands – sometimes tens of thousands of dollars to “get their business online”.
That was then, this is now.
We’re no longer in the 90’s. Things have changed. Prices for practically just about everything related to owning a website: web design, graphics, hosting, email…has dropped considerably. But a lot of spa owners didn’t get the memo.
It’s no longer necessary to pay ridiculous fees to do ANYTHING related to online marketing – ESPECIALLY something as simple as a website for a local business.
How Web Guys Commonly Rip People Off:
1. Charging You Ridiculous Fees To Make Changes To Your Own Site: this is a very common mistake that starts from the beginning of your relationship with the web guy. If you’re paying a web designer to design a site from scratch for you, YOU’RE SIMPLY ASKING TO BE HELD HOSTAGE IN THE FUTURE.
This is why you should REQUIRE your web guy to design your site using an interface that’s at least somewhat user-friendly, like WordPress or Joomla (although I’ve used both and WordPress wins by a longshot). This way, with a little training, you can log into your website and make changes yourself. There’s no need to know HTML code. But if you allow your web designer to “code your site from scratch”, you’re just asking for ridiculous “website modification” fees later.
Plus, to make matters worse, when a web designer has designed a site from scratch, spa owners are reluctant to change web designers. I see this all the time…the owner thinks the only person who can make changes to their website is the guy who originally designed it. They’re afraid hiring someone else to make changes to the site will “screw everything up”.
Even worse, I see web guys who prey on this line of thinking. Just this past week a new client told me he’s been paying his web guy almost $1000 a month to make very simple changes to his site and do a few graphics for him.
As part of the new client’s agreement to come on board as a Ultimate Spa Marketing System Platinum client, we agreed to take over the management of his website, and let the web guy continue doing the graphics.
Of course, when he revealed his intentions to the old web guy, he received an email basically warning the client that he will have issues of “quality control” and how a “third party developer won’t be familiar with our site structure”. He even went so far as to tell the client that the few times this had happened in the past, they were forced to “put in more hours consulting” or had to “go back and undo their code”. In essence, telling him he was going to charge him even MORE money if he left him and had to come back for help!
This is like a shady car mechanic telling an unsuspecting soccer mom that the rattle she hears under the hood of her minivan is a “serious issue best left to certified technicians who are trained specifically in the repair of this make and model”…when he knows darn well it’s nothing but a loose belt that any grease monkey with a ½” socket could fix in 5 minutes.
Let me clear up this misconception right now. You OWN your own website. You have a right to let ANYONE work on it that you please.
If you’re concerned about making a switch from one web guy to another, give your potential new web guy a test. Give him access to your server and have him make a page or two and prove to you he can make changes, add pages, etc. with no problems. Chances are very good if he knows what he’s doing, it’ll be a piece of cake. And you can tell the old web guy (and his ridiculous fees) to take a hike.
Of course, this assumes you can actually get FTP access to the server where your site is hosted. Which brings me to my next point…
2. Not Giving You Access To The Server Where Your Website Is Hosted
You should absolutely have the login details to where your website is hosted. Remember it’s YOUR website. You MUST have control of your website’s files in case of disaster. Think about it – if your web guy falls off the face of the Earth, how are you going to make changes to your site if you don’t know where your site is hosted, or how to login?
You MUST have these four bits of information about your website: the link to login to the cPanel (control panel), and the 3 Critical FTP details: Host, User & Password.
3. Charging You For Hosting – When He’s Not Really Hosting Anything
I’ve never met a web guy yet who actually OWNED his own server. But I’ve met tons of them who RESELL space on other companies’ servers. This means he pays around $25 a month to the company that actually owns the servers, puts your site (and every other site he’s created for anyone) on the same server, and charges you and everyone else $25-$50/month- for basically doing nothing more than being a middle man.
On the rare occasion when there’s a problem with the server, he simply calls tech support and asks them what’s wrong. He then turns around and tells YOU what they told him, making it sound like “he’s working on it”, when in reality he’s doing nothing but waiting for the hosting company to fix it. There’s nothing he could do to the server even if he wanted to – he doesn’t own it and has no access to it.
4. Charging You For “Domain Renewal Fees”
First of all, let me clear up some confusion about what your DOMAIN is. Your domain name is just the name of your website, like “AngelsofBlissSpa.com” or something. The “internet gods” require that you pay around $10/year as a yearly renewal fee to a domain registrar (like GoDaddy) so you can keep ownership of your domain.
If you’re paying any more than $10 to renew your domain, you’re being ripped off. There’s no need to pay a web guy to renew your domain for you. You can easily set it up to where you’re notified if your domain is about to expire so you can pay the renewal fee. Even better, simply purchase your domain for 5 years at a time, so you don’t need to worry about it but every 5 years.
5. Charging You WAAAAAYYYY Too Much For Hosting
A server is nothing more than a computer sitting in a warehouse somewhere. There are literally MILLIONS of servers all around the world, with tens of thousands of companies selling space on them. Your website is simply a collection of computer files sitting on the hard drive of the server.
There are basically 3 types of hosting: 1) dedicated 2) shared 3) virtual private server (VPS).
For your spa website, you’ll NEVER need a dedicated server. It’s overkill – there’s just no need for it. Besides, the cheapest you can get a dedicated server is around $175/mo.
A virtual private server (VPS) is sort of a mix between shared and dedicated. You share the same server with other companies, but a section of the server is “partitioned” off just for you. Again, VPS is probably overkill for most spa websites, but if you like the idea of faster loading speed for a graphic-heavy site, it’s around $40/month.
A shared server is the cheapest and the most common. You can get shared servers for as cheap as $4 a month if you pay in a year in advance, or $7 a month if you pay monthly. The only downside is since you’re sharing server space with a lot of other customers, your website’s load time could take a little longer – but probably not enough that the average person would notice.
How To Get The Web Guy Off Your Payroll For Good . . . Get a Great-Looking Website YOU Can Make Changes To Anytime You Want (for free) . . . And Pay $7 a Month For Hosting…or Less
If you’re reading this and you’ve decided you’re sick and tired of being ripped off…of feeling like you’re at the mercy of your web guy, but you’re not sure what to do…we have a solution.
As an Ultimate Spa Marketing System client, you can get a NEW WordPress-based website designed for a one-time setup fee of $497 (up to 15 pages, $25 for each additional page).
- You will OWN the site, regardless if you remain as an Ultimate Spa Marketing System client.
- You pay for your OWN hosting. We recommend Hostgator, where you can get shared hosting for $7.16/mo or even less if you pay for a year in advance.
- Anytime you want to make a change to your site, simply contact us and we’ll make changes. This is included as part of your regular monthly fee as an Ultimate Spa Marketing System client.
- You will be provided instructional videos showing you how to make changes to your OWN site if needed if you want.
No more waiting on anyone to return your calls or emails to make changes to your site.
No more paying ridiculous fees for someone making simple changes to your website.
Put your website under YOUR control.
Contact us today to learn more and to see samples of websites we’ve created for spas just like yours.