The Small Business Association said in March 2019 roughly 30% of businesses failed during their first two years of opening. At the five year mark about 50% failed. At ten years around 70% had failed.
Remember this is ALL businesses – not just web businesses. I’ve seen many go under in the years since 1998 when I started in this business. Usually that news comes from our new web clients – who don’t even know what happened to their past developers – they just became unreachable or unresponsive.
Obviously there is no sure thing – no guarantee – that any business is always going to be there. That being said, there are many things that measure the likelihood of success. Look at factors like five to nine employees versus few or none. Look at employee longevity. Look at how they get their business – through referrals versus constant advertising. Look at whether they have a handful of web clients versus many.
Don’t risk having someone handle your web presence who won’t be there for the duration. Common sense dictates that a company that’s been around over ten years with a team that does most of its business through referrals for many, many clients is going to be way more reliable for you in the long term.
Our exposure to thousands of web clients has shown us many folks who’ve been exposed to scam artists, fly by nights, and outright crooks over the years. We’ve had clients that had paid money down to previous developers with no work done whatsoever.
Luckily, most legitimate reliable web development businesses have ethics. Part of building confidence in one’s client base is doing what is necessary to be a legitimate business. Fly-by-nights don’t bother with registering their business or any of the other numerous details of doing business that being a legitimate business entails.
It’s very simple to check to see if a business is legitimate – i.e., registered. Here are links to websites where one can check out businesses in several states in and around New England: NH MA ME VT
Doing a little research like this can save you a ton of headaches later. Dealing with a business that is willing to do the initial work of operating legitimately greatly increases the odds they are going to be reliable and honest in their dealings with you.
While there’s never a total guarantee, coupling this with other items in our checklist helps narrow the field to give you the best odds of developing a good business relationship.
It’s increasingly difficult sorting the good companies from the bad ones on the Internet. There are still ways to find the best, reliable web development companies. We’ve compiled this recommended checklist as a starting point. The order these are in isn’t necessarily important since ALL the points are very important!
Check to see if your web development company:
□ will ensure that YOU own your website when it’s paid for
□ is legitimately registered to do business within its State: NH MA ME VT
□ has been in business for at least 10 years
□ has several or more people
□ carries Workers Compensation on its employees
□ carries liability insurance
□ maintains a committed presence in networking groups
□ is accredited and has a good rating with the Better Business Bureau (https://BBB.org)
□ understands your community and reciprocates by referring business to you
□ has a phone contact where one can at least leave messages
□ has an email contact where one can send information
□ provides automatic site updates at no additional ongoing charge
□ backs up websites every night for at least a month
□ provides website encryption (SSL) at no additional ongoing charge
□ does not require hosting or domain contracts
□ does not overcharge you by selling sell inflated monthly maintenance plans
□ provides partial hour web work billing (9 minutes work charged 9/60 of hourly rate)
□ can respond to most maintenance requests in 3-4 days
□ has general familiarity with trademark and copyright issues
□ is proficient with WordPress through experience and training
Over upcoming weeks check here for details about each. Contact us with any questions, we exist to serve you!
Do-it-yourself website builders make it sound SO easy! And they can be. But there can be a steep price to pay.
I see ads every now and then boasting about how you can build a website in an evening with no previous experience. Several times a month we have people who have fallen into that trap, then contact us to help them out of it.
The biggest issue with these do-it-yourself sites is that you don’t own your site! The platform/servers the site is built on is proprietary – so you’re locked in to that company. Couple that with the fact that the site can’t be easily customized. Also, your site looks like numerous others. Many of these sites are not found well in the search engines. They have layers of coding that makes it easy to make changes but harder for the search engines to “see” what they’re about.
Do-it-yourself sites are generally not through local companies either. So if doing business with local people who will send business back to you is important – that’s another reason to avoid them.
When thinking of having a website built, take the time to ask a developer about options. Simply ask, “Do I own my website?”
Charles Oropallo, CharlesWorks founder and owner, Peterborough NH
Welcome to The Web Corner!
Charles Oropallo from CharlesWorks in Peterborough, NH will be bringing you articles on popular web topics with helpful hints. Most are expected to be simple and some are for the more experienced. All should be useful and educational by many readers. We will address:
- Passwords with our focus on making them secure – yet easy to remember.
- Common Internet scam information about domain name renewals to perhaps save you a lot of grief going forward.
- More Internet scam information about Directory Listing scams to again save you a lot of grief.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in layman’s language and how it works.
- Current web design products like WordPress – a free content management system for building websites.
- Some information about spam and how you get onto those spammer’s lists.
- Common myths and misconceptions about domain names aimed at helping you protect your online brand.
- The ease (or not) of website self-maintenance for do-it-yourselfers.
- The importance of shopping local and supporting your own community.
- Things to know about email security on your phone or on your computer or on your tablet.
- Website hosting and the advantages to local servers vs cloud storage.
- The occasional pitfalls of having your friends help you with your web needs.
- Reviewing your website now and then.
- A little about email etiquette and things to avoid.
- A common email extortion to ignore.
- Secure Socket layers (SSL) and the surrounding hype.
- Some tips and thoughts about choosing domain names.
- Free counters and issues surrounding most “free” web stuff.
- Info about a common “you need to update your email” scam.
- A brief explanation of “the cloud” as applied to the Internet.
- Social media – Facebook in particular – and how it relates to your web presence.
- How long you have to get site visitor’s attention.
- Who owns your domain and info about domain ownership.
- Checking up on your web content and the minimum needed.
- Checklist to help you find the best web developer.
And more! We’ll try to keep this page updated over time with the topics we cover each week!
There is a lot to share!
Feel free to email Charles with questions/suggestions. Check out The Web Corner each week here to see our new articles!
Charles Oropallo (Charles@CharlesWorks.com) started CharlesWorks in Peterborough NH in 1998. His team has provided website design, hosting and related web services for thousands of web clients on four continents.