Oops, You Hired the Wrong Web Guy

The Wrong Web Guy

I ran across this list of 9 Signs You Shouldn’t Hire THAT Web Guy today over at CSS Zone. I felt like it was worth re-posting over here. Those of us who really ARE web professionals know these folks all too well.

1. He Calls Himself a “Webmaster”
Any web guy that calls himself a “webmaster” probably isn’t a master of anything. The term “webmaster” has become a translation for the word “amateur.” The web has diversified into so many different realms that webmaster is no longer meaningful (was it ever though?)

2. He’s a FrontPage Expert
Any developer / designer with a degree knows that Microsoft FrontPage most definitely isn’t a professional tool. FrontPage will pass for Mom and Dad who want to create a website dedicated to their dogs, not someone who’s trying to do business. I’d argue that a solid Web Developer should work at code level.

3. He’ll Submit Your Website to [Inflated Number Here] Search Engines
Submitting your website to hundreds of search engines would be great…10 years ago. Websites are indexed by relevant search engines by how rich their content and keywords are. Search engine optimization is big business and submitting sites to search engines simply isn’t the way to get to the top of Google.

4. He Wants a “Designed By ….” Plug on the Bottom of Every Page
You’ve paid this person to create a marketing tool for you — not a billboard for him. Your website is a launch pad for your business and Poindexter McScooner is simply the man behind the curtain — keep him there.

5. He Created a Cool Website for [Insert Family Member / Friend Here]
Your business needs someone who’s been there before. The most common answer to my “Who was he and what business did they work for?” question is “Oh, he did a website for the CEO’s daughter’s [insert lame organization here].” I honestly hear that friend-of-a-friend story all the time. Choose someone with a sizable portfolio that can provide references.

6. He Can Make You a Great Splash Page Flash Animation
Translation: “I can spend dozens of hours wasting your money to create something that will take too long to load and will be skipped more times than dessert at a bad restaurant.” Consistency and website flow are important to web design — not meaningless animations that waste visitors’ time and your money.

7. He Mentions He’s a HTML Expert
Who the hell isn’t? I would argue that dropping any language acronym on a customer (PHP, Ruby on Rails, ColdFusion, etc.) unless they ask is meaningless fluff. A mechanic could use a banana on my car if it would fix it. Keep your tools, especially HTML, to yourself — the customer doesn’t care.

8. He’ll Fit a Cool Counter on Your Site
You’ll add an ugly relic of the early internet on my site so that my competitors have an idea of my web stats? Sweet!
Counters make a website look as unprofessional as possible — don’t use them.

9. He’ll Place a “Best If View in…” Message on Your Website
Any real Web Developer knows that he doesn’t make the rules. Follow standards in the initial build and then fix it in Internet Explorer — that’s the flow. No responsible programmer would place a “best if view in…” message on the front-end of a website.

I think we could probably throw a handfull more in there like…

10. He’s A Charter Member of the HTML Writers Guild
Again, anyone who’s familiar with the HWG knows that all you have to do is sign up for membership, you don’t have to qualify, test or do anything to prove your skillset. Anyone who feels the need to inflate their status with bogus credentials is probably someone you wouldn’t want working on your project. Find someone with some real credentials that they had to EARN.

11. He Thinks Comic Sans or Papyrus Would Be Great Fonts to Use for Your Site
Pretty much every designer I know cringes at the thought of having to use Comic Sans in their project. In fact, there are even websites devoted to banning the overuse of the font. The untrained designer still thinks that Comic Sans is fun and original and that everyone will appreciate it’s playfulness. In reality, it’s overused and the bastion of the mom & pop website. Papyrus isn’t quite as egregious, but it’s still way overused and we’re tired of seeing it everywhere we turn.

Any other ideas out there? I’d love to hear them.

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