emember when Google had their famous cooperate motto "Don't be Evil?" As it turns out, in 2018 Google removed this from their code of conduct with little to no announcement. This is likely due to their new connection to the pentagon as they begin developing AI and sharing customer data with other tech companies. We at ESO-EXO have seen a steady degradation of the morals within the tech industry with Google being far from the first and certainly not the last to turn to the 'Dark Side' as it were. Companies like Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and Amazon have started to slip into the same poor business practices of sister industries. These tech giants used to defy expectation by resisting the temptation to implement questionable business practices, but in 2020 it feels as though it was inevitable from the start. Bright eyed Zuckerberg had promised an ad-free platform which valued the users of Facebook above all else, but his recent testimony to Congress seems to suggest this goal has become a distant memory. It seems that greed and a insatiable quest the be the most powerful within their sphere of influence has caused these market leaders to make drastic changes, transforming the landscape of tech.
We see these same changes within the industry on a local level as well. When the forerunners of the internet decide to sacrifice their moral code, smaller companies seem to view this as an excuse to do the same. Web development companies seem to be the biggest offenders. treating customers poorly and using unsavory practices to retain business. Our owner and many members of our team come from companies like this and ESO-EXO was founded with the idea that "Don't be Evil" would never fade from our code of conduct. Of course we aren't selling intellectual property to the pentagon, but we are still responsible fro holding ourselves to a certain ethical standard when it comes to our clients. Small businesses deserve a web development partner who holds their interests in high regard while ensuring their trust is never compromised.
Here is a list of warning signs we try to avoid ourselves when talking to new customers:
- Extended contracts - Contacts should not feel like a trap. These should be earned and only after a customer feels as though they can trust their developer. A year-long contract is not indicative of wrong-doing, but some web developers will use these rigid commitments to slack off and fail to maintain a healthy partnership over the lifetime of the contract. If the developer feels very present for the first 3 months and last 3 months, with a very clear deviation through the middle portion, this is a bad sign.
- Extra Services - Most small businesses don't need SEO immediately and frankly, many of them don't even need web service at all. If the organization is just starting out, there are many other things to take care of such as photos, storefronts, logos, business cards and content. If none of these are in place, it can be foolish to spend money on a website that will ultimately need these items anyway. Any developer who does not check to see if these first few steps have been taken, is likely not looking out for their customer's best interest.
- Templates - If you hire a web development company who purely uses a template or theme to crate the entire website, then it cannot be called custom. We do not fault those who re-use code, but websites should be tailored to their owners, not recycled from another design entirely. If a company does this, then their customers are better off with a free website creator tool.
- Lack of Support - Once the website project is finished, this does not spell the end for the working relationship between the developer and their client. There should be a maintenance plan in place and multiple follow=ups to ensure the website continues to be as effective as it was day 1. If the web developer treats the project as a means towards a paycheck and not a long term partnership, this is a problem and will continue to be for the life of the website which can be up to 4-5 years.
- Low Communication - This is an extension off the last point, but has more to do with the idea that a web developer is unreachable at any stage other than the initial sales portion. A 24 hour response window is reasonable. Anything longer than this means the company doesn't care about their clients as much as they should.
At ESO-EXO we use the motto "Web Design Redefined." not because it sounds cool or because we want to re-imagine how to approach developing websites. Rather, this is more to indicate that we have redefined how the relationship between developer and client is handled. We'd like to say it is a return to form more than a completely unprecedented set of business practice. If you had a positive experience with web developer in the past and recently these encounters have soured your opinion on the tech industry, we are hoping to to redefine web developers in your mind. Our approach has and always will be three-fold: Earn your trust, earn your business, and then continue to earn it every day. We ask you to give ESO-EXO a chance to reverse the stigma of web developers in 2020. Call us for a free consultation and review of your online presence.