Recently a fellow hotel owner contacted my company to design a website for his new property. While we are discussing his needs and our services, he expressed deep distrust in companies offering website development. I asked him to elaborate. This is his story. “A web designer contacted me from India and offered that he can do my new website for only $700.00. That price included design, hosting, own server, maintenance, emails, marketing and social media. Complete package for only $700.00. He said that a relative of mine gave him my contact information. He mentioned a recent family weeding I know this relative attended and the hospitalization of another relative.
He seemed genuine and pleasant. He even congratulated me on the purchase of our hotel and offered me to make the website for us for a good price. I thought it was a great deal and also I wanted to help him out and paid him over the phone using my credit card so he can start working. Next day at the gas station my card was declined for insufficient funds.When I called my bank, I found out that my account has been wiped out clean. Of course I never heard of this guy again. I called my relatives in India and they said, they don’t know such person.” This is one of the most popular scams from India. Scammers pose as relatives or hack into your social media- you can even befriend them on social media- learn some personal information about you and then contact you with a great offer.
Once you give them your card number, they are gone with your money.” My client was quite upset about the event. I tried to console him by telling him that he is not the only one who has been scammed. I hear similar story almost every week, in fact, recently I hear so many, I decided it is time to say something about it. So how can you tell when you are being scammed? How can you tell if a web design company is legitimate or not? To begin with, if the person who calls you claims to be “long lost relative”, explore it. Ask for a number to call back and call your relatives to confirm his/her indemnity. Second, if a deal appears to be” too good to be true”, that’s because it is. You are being scammed.Check for online reviews of this “business” and with Better Business Bureau for business ratings. More. A website company with established track record and humane practices will charge you a fair price for fair service.
Designing a website includes different components, handled by professionals who specialize in their respective field. A reputable company will have on staff a website programmer, SEO specialist, creative content writer, a photographer, graphic designer IT security and maintenance, marketing specialist and social media specialist, the least. One person cannot do all of these jobs and do them well. If you only care to have a website, you can build one yourself using free website platforms. But if you want a business website that brings you leads and turn that leads into paying customers, you need to invest in professional team and services. Employees need to get paid and good employees need to be paid even better. So, if someone tells you they can build you functional website for $ 700.00, run and take your cards with you.
Most professional companies in the United States charge from 6 to 10 K for a good hotel website depending on the amount of pages, content and the features you want. Only the content writing costs between 2 to 5K. Also it takes about a month to build one and a bit more time to test drive the website and to ensure security. Any price offer for less than 6 K, regardless of how “special it is” would make me very, very suspicious. We discontinued our basic package- priced at around 3K last year, when Google rolled out the Hummingbird Search Algorithm, because a website which is not Hummingbird compliant is,well…useless.
My other suggestion is that if you want to avoid this scam, go to Ancestry.com, discover your true relatives and then memorize their names and birthdates. That should help…unless you are truly related to scammers. I’m just kidding. And of course remember, you only get what you pay for.
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