We all need to start somewhere. When I first started building websites it was still acceptable for your design to look like this:
Thankfully, I didn’t build that website, but I can’t say some of my early designs in the 90s were much prettier. But this post isn’t about webrings, hit counters, and Netscape Navigator.
I’m here to talk about having your friend’s uncle’s cousin build your website.
Maybe your business is brand new and you don’t have a budget for a website. Maybe you shopped around and were horrified at some of the five-figure quotes you received. Maybe you were simply intimidated by some of the arrogant douchebags who insist on utilizing 2 cent buzz words to further inflate their growing ego’s while they’re selling websites to people who don’t know any better.
Whatever your circumstances, it rarely seems to pay off when you find that
poor soul nice person who agrees to build your website for free.
I regularly receive calls from business owners who had a family member or family friend build their website, only to have them so frustrated they’re willing to do anything to get out of it.
Either the person built the site for free, so they feel entitled to never update it (touche). Or they did it for cheap, so they feel entitled to never update it (touche).
Sure, there are exceptions, but generally speaking, it never seems to end well.
There are even circumstances where “free websites” can do some pretty ugly damage. Whether it’s bad SEO that gets your website blacklisted from Google, letting your domain name expire and get auctioned off, or forgetting to update the security plugin on your school district’s website, only to have the home page filled with porn and viagra ads…
I’ve seen it all, and it usually leads back to an incompetent developer, or an ugly or inappropriate client/developer relationship that probably shouldn’t have existed in the first place.
I’ll end this post by pointing out that there are also plenty of bad developers who charge way too much money. Someday I’ll write an entire post on that. I’m not one to judge anyone’s pricing structure, but when a bakery who does zero online sales is being quoted 50K, there’s something seriously wrong.
The Bottom Line:
When you hire someone to build your website, if you want it done correctly, it’s usually not going to be free.