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But my friend is going to design my website!

Friends are great. I think that’s something we can all unilaterally agree on. But... they probably shouldn’t be dealing with your website. Rather than assume we’re just saying that because we’re biased though... you should probably have a read!

But my friend is going to design my website! image

Hello everyone! Zarte here! I’ll be with you in one moment. I just have to finish banging. my. head. against. this. wall.

There we are. Done. Don’t worry, even if I have a head injury, you won’t notice the difference.

Why am I banging my head against the wall, you may ask? Well it’s because someone has just used the exact sentence that forms the title of this very blog article. One of the most hated sentences for anyone who works for a company like ours to hear.

It’s not that we object to the business not coming to us. OK, I mean it obviously is a bit, but we’re pragmatic enough to know that there are plenty of things that where possible, businesses will try and use their connections to bring costs down.

But seriously, there are some things you just should not do that with. And your website is one of them. Why? Well here are some points from our experiences.

Primarily it is usually the smallest of businesses that take this route, or organisations who have to be the most prudent with their finances that go down this route. Charities, commonly, but we’ve also experienced it with a number of churches, and it’s those that we can comment on from experience.

You see, your website is a representation of everything you do – it needs to be accurate, and it needs to be kept up to date. For it to fall behind and become irrelevant is actually more damaging than not having one at all. And the likelihood of this happening when you haven’t paid for a service is far greater than a service you have.

Because there are several eventualities that can take place when someone does you a service as a favour, and we’ve had customers for whom all the following have happened:

  1. We’ve had customers who’ve had friends/parishioners design their website, only to become too busy to maintain it with opportunities or issues in their own life, however designed in such a way that the average Joe cannot possibly be expected to understand how to make the updates themselves.
  2. We’ve had customers who’ve had a friend design their website, only for them to fall out with said friend, and be denied access to the website, and have it taken down as the friend believes it’s their own intellectual property.
  3. We’ve had a customer who had a parishioner unfortunately pass away, leaving no instructions whatsoever for how to get to the back end of the website, who to contact over the domain name, and no notes for any other eventualities associated with such an outcome.

The most galling one though, for all concerned, was a customer of ours who had actually been a customer already. We’d dealt with their website for several years, only for them to tell us that someone had offered to look after it for them, which would be more cost-effective for them in the long run. This was all well and good, until that person moved away, and was no longer able to effectively manage the site. They handed everything over to them, but it was at this point they realised that no-one else was in a position to actually work out what they’d done with it. Their only option was to come back to us, and ask us to try and pick our way through what their former webmaster had done, which took a great deal of time, and cost them far more than if they’d just stuck with us in the first place. There are very few occasions when there’s an overwhelming urge to go “We told you so” repeatedly, but this was one of them.

So please – don’t be the next customer who loses their website, or has it actively working against them because it gets behind on relevant information, or worse still taken down altogether. Find a company who will work with you to find a functional, affordable, and ultimately stable website, with no chance of being caught short down the line.

Any thoughts? Have you had experience of something similar? Let us know!

Until next time,

Zarte