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Website Designers Hard Work needs rewarding

Here is a website design owner that was ‘persuaded’ by a ‘cheap’ website design company to move their website / website project to them, they were warned that this wasn’t correct business behavior (in the middle of a website project) and after a year the results are that they lost 1/3 of their website visitors. Some offers are just too good to be true, this is as true online as it is in real life. So in summary if you get offered a cheap website redesign project from a cold call or from an unknown company via email please ignore it or get in touch with us so we can demonstrate what you are risking.

[Website Design Team] Your bandwidth limit has been breached again, its been enlarged 3 times now (from 3gb to 9gb), this was fixed by the server team at 2250 on Thursday, can you tell us what you are doing to cause this as we don’t want the website to be down again, see error message before the enlargement.

We have been made aware of your attempts to transfer the domains to your own hosting account, we will be happy to agree to do this once you settle your invoices. Once the two invoices are settled we will transfer them for you immediately.

[Website Owner] You’ve not got back to me regarding the first one where I do not owe anything, proof was sent. Also my “account” with you and you’re ridiculous charges to “close” it. You will have my reply sent ASAP regarding your breakdowns.

[Website Design Team] All of us here find it hard to imagine that you believe you do not owe the final payment on the first invoice that was completed nearly 6 months ago and included all the onsite / offsite SEO work to your site (including adding SEO updates to over 1000 products on your eCommerce pages that took many hours and was partly responsible for your website visitors increasing by 25%). If you read all communications between us you will hopefully feel that this is a pointless argument in attempting to avoiding payment of your invoices for agreed tasks.

The SEO program was completed fully for you when you made the first two payments, if you are saying that your ‘proof’ is that an email sent saying ‘hold fire’ until you have paid the first payment I suggest this is beyond ridiculous, the term ‘reasonable person’ is a term a solicitor uses regularly and its one that should be used when looking at the work / communication between us if that’s what you are going to use.

To move matters along I will propose you pay the first invoice fully and we don’t charge any standard ‘account closing fees’ and reduce the invoice for the updates and Product Improvement Project. Subject to you agreeing this and paying the invoices (charges will be reduced and can be re-sent on agreement) will be happy for you to move and for us to close your account.

[Website Owner] I’ll make it clear now I am not willing to pay for the task I asked you to not do as shown in screenshot I previously sent. I did NOT receive 6 months worth of SEO.

1) I didn’t ask you to do those headings until our meeting
2) as previously stated, I agree with all charges in the first invoice which I am willing to pay for except the ridiculous amount for the new optimised / redesigned pages (40 in total). I did not confirm to go ahead with other pages. Therefore only willing to pay a nominal fee for developers time for this particular task.

Both domains are in my name as I bought them before I even let you access my site. I have no “account” with you.
Keeping my domains means you are infringing copyright on my trademark and can easily get my domains back even if I have to go through ICANN and wipo which I am already in the process with as they are in my name and I own them also. As agreed with yourself I am willing to pay for the first invoice.and SEO / Updates is I appreciate this was in fact time consuming this would take me personally a lot of time

[Website Design Team] Thanks for this email, this is starting to sound like we can come to a compromise, I admit to not chasing for you for this payment, in retrospect this was probably a mistake but expected you to pay it at some point but that never happened. Regardless of that here is my thoughts.

Regarding SEO (initial invoice)
I will suggest though by re-reading the emails about SEO and knowing what we did that you will find you got very good value for our time /effort / skills and knowledge and have acknowledged this and the SEO project within emails

SEO is such a big concept and I would like to suggest it was myself that had the foresight to suggest then migrate the .co.uk pages to the main domain .com pages (as it would be SEO friendly for worldwide sales) and recommended that you change the way products are featured on the site (multiple colours / weights / sizes)

Example Emails about SEO

We have started the H1 headings on all product pages. Very annoyingly time consuming! As there is not automatic way to add them all.

We have also installed an SSL certificate so now you will see the website is https without a ‘not secure’ warning and with a padlock icon in the browser bar.
The browser address bar now has a padlock icon, this is good for security / essential now for all eCommerce websites and great for SEO.

These tasks are what you are paying us for and we have SEO Admin that can do this.
Quick update, most of the products now have a search engine friendly page title and main heading (H1 Heading) on the page, will update when fully complete
Quick update, website very healthy in terms of performance and visitor numbers, we are resuming our technical SEO next week with the goal of investigating / tweaking / improving the site further
For interest you have a very high mobile usage for your site, of the 80% of website visitors using your site here is the top mobile devices using the site
We have noticed you have a very successful Social Media (Facebook / Instagram) to website entry profile, this amounts to about 25% of your visitor numbers, I suggest keep doing what you are doing as its really good and great for the website visitor numbers / sales.

Good news, we have made quite a big improvement for your site (Security /
Performance) in updating it to PHP7.

We have updated the site to use a new / the latest version of the language PHP (PHP7.3.10 currently) this should only improve security / performance and no obvious change should be visible but if you see any difference in the site / performance / function please email / phone and we can address this. For interest previously it was on 5.6.

Feel free to test / check all aspects of the site and report back anything unusual or anything not working

Few big updates on the site recently if you see anything unusual / not working / wrong please message us

As part of the SEO updates we have installed and configured a performance enhancing system that should speed up load times for the site which is a major ranking factor, the fact that we have done this with the upgrade to PHP7, the SSL certificate and continuous server tweaks / improvements that should form a firm base for further improvements / updates / enhancements

Additionally

1 We have kept on top (daily) of all plugin / theme / WP framework updates and even upgraded PHP from 5.6 to 7.0 to 7.1 then to 7.2 then to 7.3 over the months and this has meant the site is secure and performance enhanced

2 We have also fixed your website as your plugin update disabled the admin system on a weekend / bank holiday night and have increased your bandwidth past your allowance 3 times.

3 Just found that these important updates didn’t get sent to you
The performance upgrade improved load times from over 2 seconds with a page size of 4MB to 1.03 seconds and a page size of 2.6MB (see attachments)
External links to your site were created on 3rd party sites (off-site SEO)

your replies
1 Hi, thank you for the link, is my website as secured as possible?
I take it, it wasn’t before? Let me know if I can help with the headings! There are so many I am happy to sit and do some, just let me know how and I’ll be on it!

2 Thank you for the update, your work is great, really pleased so far with everything
I was meant to e mail you regarding monthly payments to keep an eye on updating plugins etc.Thank you for sending me some insight on site stats!

3 Hi ok fantastic, please feel free to do what you want/is easier for you to make the website the best it can be and let me know costs please, I want it to be the best it can be.

My thoughts / Summary on the first invoice / SEO
With all this in mind I consider a better / fairer compromise would be a payment  (where you have offered less) but I really think the full payment is justified. Just for your interest this doesn’t cover the wages I have paid for this work as we gave you a fantastic / great value quote which was under quoted you in the first place

Account
Regarding your account – yes of course you have an account, in the same way that we have accounts with all clients, we are willing to help you move domain / hosting if that’s what you decide once we have agreed on the outstanding payments.

Page Titles and Headings
These were discussed and completed right at the start of the SEO Program

Hope this is acceptable and fair and easy to follow, once you agree I can re-update the two invoices and send them to you for payment and for us to both move on. I would also like to help you move the domain / hosting if required as its not as easy as you think, depending on who you are moving to, I would be interested to what company you have chosen or if you are going to host it / manage it yourself.

Once all the invoices are settled I will be happy to give unbiased / educated / professional advice to you on any aspect of domain / hosting / website. I also have ‘rescued’ an ex-client (now current client) from a terrible website design company and will keep your files archived if you ever needed them in future.

[Website Owner] Please send updated invoices, I want it all over with and will pay them. If you had just told me what I had owed last Friday and didn’t start messing around with my admin access I would have been more willing to listen, instead, you made life difficult and I bet I’m not the first. As you can see, I asked many, many times how much to set up as a direct debits for any updates, when were you going to start telling me? Also, why do work for me in now if I “owed” you money back from previous tasks? I dread to think what you were going to charge to when the full project was completed.

[Website Design Team] Regarding Admin Access. We didn’t ’mess’ with your admin access but didn’t know why you had full admin access still on the WordPress website, that is not the correct access but ‘Shop Manager’ is the correct access for normal use, if this role didn’t give you access to what you needed we could have corrected this. Its completely wrong to give website owners full admin access to the WordPress website on many levels, you demonstrated one of these by ‘accidentally’ disabling the complete site with your full admin access and that cant happen with our access details. If my developers hadn’t been on call to fix this it would have been disabled for 3 days as it was a Bank Holiday.

No other client has full admin access for exactly this reason and completely forgot you had this access. I should have emailed and explained this as perhaps you have assumed that we had restricted your access for another reason but that wasn’t the case.

Can you please explain what you mean by you know you weren’t the first? What does that mean please? Really confused by that as we have had only one client leave for another website designer but they returned after the other website design company nearly ruined them and another client that ‘decided not to pay’ an agreed monthly amount, as they ‘have paid enough’ in their own words then after a year of solicitors talking to each other which cost more than the outstanding £1k they agreed to continue to pay, work with us and they are still a client to this day.

As far as I know, yourself and this other company are the only ones that we have had any disagreements with and when looked at by a 3rd party (Solicitors) I believe we have acted correctly and in the website owners best interest on both occasions. But I do accept we didn’t chase for the invoice or give a final project cost but told you that it would be invoiced at our standard hourly rate, hope you appreciate its ‘hard’ to get this right every time. Perhaps keeping you updated with hours worked would be the best option going forward?

We really value and support local businesses and really value working with local businesses and have over 500 clients over 13 years with huge successes, mainly all in Essex (about 80%) Hopefully you will appreciate the help / support / advice we have given you once these invoices are paid.

We would still like to continue working with you now that we are financially up-to-date, as know you wont get a better team to look after you but will leave that to you to decide, We have attached the website visitors from that website / company that left us (then returned) showing the reduction of visitor number to their website when they move away ( they lost 28% of their visitors over a year)

Updated invoices attached, assumed you are happy to pay the £900 on the initial invoice that I consider fair, that collectively now includes a discount of £400 from what I believe was fair and correct and as you can assume we have made a financial loss on your account so hopefully that shows you our level of compromise.

Reason I didn’t chase for the money was two fold (one I told your Dad) that I am guilty of not being on top of the Invoices, something I have changed over the last week and now have 20 outstanding invoices sent out. Additionally, you did repeatedly state that you don’t have much money but could pay on a Credit Card so I didn’t want to make your financial position worse).

The change of all products / categories / system of adding products was a lot of work but would be charged accordingly and wouldn’t have been more than another twenty hours on top of the 25 hours put on the invoice, for your information we have worked 32 hours already on that mini-project. You cant look at this work so simplistically as baring making it perfect on mobiles this is ready to go live and the other products wouldn’t take as long as the framework is already put in place. This is a major / important / vital / logical change that we suggested and wanted to implement for you that should have been suggested to you when setting up your original website but, as you told me, your previously website designer suggested otherwise. If we commenced this product upgrade again I would guarantee the time / cost of it and have a more senior developer / team leader to complete take over development of this section.

After a year the results are that this website lost 36% of its Natural / Organic Visitors and had to resort to PPC advertising (Paid for Advertising with Google) to maintain their sales.