Right, here's why I have a soggy shoulder: The temptation for small businesses to use the inexpensive services of web developers in India, Pakistan, the Phillipines etc is too great. For a fraction of the price that I quote, they can get their site built by Sanjiv in Delhi. If they are lucky, they will get a really good Sanjiv who will deliver (on time) a beautiful, cleanly coded website that works like a dream in all browsers. Well done, you've found a bargain and I am genuinely glad for you. But that is not a common experience.
I have clients whose projects have gone adrift for any number of reasons: Shodddy workmanship, language barriers, cultural differences, poor planning, brief-creep etc.
Honestly, what did these people expect? I've already moaned about the fact that any Tom, Dick or Harry can set themselves up as a photographer/designer/web developer. And that is what has happened - except that Tom Is Sanjiv, Dick is Abdul and Harry is Anil. The internet is almost log-jammed with badly designed websites thanks to the DIY crowd and the plethora of Far Eastern people trying to scratch a living by building websites for naive westerners.
I'm not having a go at the Far East for taking our work away. Not at all. I use Far Eastern suppliers from time to time but that is because I can tell the good from the bad. I can also communicate far more efficiently with my Pakistani developer because:
- I would have made sure in the first place that there are no language obstacles. I want to easily understand and have understood what is said on the phone and in emails.
- I will have had a look at previous work from a much more technically aware perspective (that's usually where the problems occur)
- I would have designed the website so that the developers are not going to be given unnecessary hassles
This is my advice: Talk to a local professional designer (okay, me!) face to face. Together you can develop a brief, set expectations and determine a budget. Then let that designer build your website for you, using, if he so wishes, subcontractors and specialists he knows and trusts. People who have a track record with him. If those people are in the Far East, that is of no concern to you - all you need worry about is the result.
Finally, which is cheaper:
A) Scrapping a website that is not up to scratch and starting again with local designer (that would be me, once again ;-) or
B) Having a crappy website that doesn't work properly, that people don't like to visit or use?