Here are five ways to spot whether or not you're getting a good deal or being taken for a ride.
1. They use Gmail or other service provider email accounts, not a business domain account.
Yeah, about that; I've got a personal account that I sometimes give to clients but most of the time I'll use my "official" one because it looks professional. Imagine me emailing a prospective client to advise him of the services I offer as firstname.lastname@example.org, or something. You wouldn't be impressed. Well when some geezer styling himself "John Christian" emailed me today offering SEO services from India, I sent him on his way when I saw the return email address. Not clever, John. You just lost a customer because you claim to be an expert on the internet but you don't even have a domain of your own. Get outta here!
2. Bad spellign adn grammer
I sometimes goof up on this myself, even when I'm not being ironic. It just looks so bad, whether you're selling SEO or hosting services. SEO requires good spelling even though Google can offer you the results with the word spelled correctly. The hosting service I mentioned earlier has terrible spelling and worse grammar on its website. It's probably an elaborate phishing scheme — if it's not a lousy service provider like the one I ditched for iPage. Here's some text from the home page:
Mytruehost.com offers the best quality cPanel Web Hosting in affordable cost."In affordable cost?" No way is that American; white models from the stock photo websites don't prove a thing.
3. Ridiculously cheap
Hosting, even shared hosting such as I have, costs money because it goes on servers and those servers have to be maintained. If they're in a rickety mud hut in India with a host of porn providers and warez hosts they're not going to be as well maintained as those in countries that crack down on that kind of thing. Since they don't cost much they don't earn much so they can't afford decent tech support. Which means you get someone who can't speak English very well and is working from a script instead of the educated professional you ought to be dealing with. Trust me, I've been through this already and it's really not worth it.
4. Extravagant promises
My favourite is the money back one. You'll never see that money again. I didn't. If they can't deliver the English language on their home page (if they even have one), they can't deliver people who speak English as a first language on the helpdesk, believe me. And they sure won't deliver good service, be assured of that.
5. Amateur design
One web design company from India approached me suggesting they do the actual work while I sat back and took a fee. I said "No way" because it seems like cheating. Anything done in my name is by me unless otherwise stated. I'm not a programmer but if I require one I'll recommend him to the client and let him or her decide. The subsequent agreement is between the two of them. You should have seen their website. They were still using tables! Erm, no. No way. The hosting company that gives you "in affordable cost" has a very generic website. I think they're reselling for someone else. I'd rather deal with an original. If it's an SEO specialist, they may or may not offer design as well. If they're any good, the site will be crisp and easy to find using common search terms. If they don't even float to the top of the search results on their own name, don't bother.
Well, that's what I think, what about you?