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How to Choose a Web Developer for your Website

Choosing a website developer can be tricky.  It’s not like choosing a plumber to fix a leak, or an attorney to help you out with an issue.  There are not a lot of people you can ask for a reference, so normally, one would go online and choose from the look and feel of the developer’s website, or get a reference from an agency like Thumbtack. How do you know if this developer is going to do the right thing by you?  Most of us are not technical enough to know if they did a good job or a bad job, until a problem springs up.

Questions to ask a potential web developer

We put together this list of questions you should ask your web developer. If they hesitate answering any of these questions, you should move on. This is a BASIC list of low expectations you should have for someone who will build your front face to the world.

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These Spam Customers/Criminals are Getting Out of Control

WARNING:  Any small business online if you have an email or cell phone listed you may get this text or email:

hi can you do a website for me i have all the content already and i know what i want it to look like.  can you send me a proposal and do you take credit cards?

Next, you will write back that it sounds great and would like to have a call and they will respond something like:

i’m hard of hearing and in the hospital.

What they want you to do is they will pay with a credit card a HUGE amount, then they want you to write checks back to the people who supposedly wrote the content, etc.  Yea – they are stealing. They are giving you a stolen credit and then they are stealing from you. I have been getting these texts and emails for over a year not, but now they are getting really out of control – they have big balls now!!  Read on!

DO NOT FOLLOW THEM DOWN THIS RABBIT HOLE

They just tried to rip off my step father by sending him a REAL check for $3,370, asking him to cash the check and keep $370 and send back to them $3,000 because they wrote the check for too much. When he responded that they had to deal in money order, they replied immediately:

You are stupid

So he sent back and emoji of an American Flag.  That ended that.

 

Here is a recent conversation I had via email with one of these scammers..  Warning signs:

  • “I need a best of the best layout design” (First, no one calls is layout design that’s weird and I need best of the best is just stupid talk)
  • “Can you handle that for me?” (Of course I can HANDLE this for you no one asks that question ever.  Do you ask the grocery store if they can handle selling you some ice cream?)
  • “i need something more perfect than this” (No one describes a website like this and they capitalize proper nouns!)
  • “i have a project consultant” (They want you to pay them out of the money they give you)
  • “My budget is xxx”.  (No one tells you how much they have to spend off the bat)

BE WARNED!!!!!  Don’t engage with these criminals!!!


 

From: Jason George <jasongeorge040@gmail.com>
Date: Friday, July 28, 2017 at 7:58 AM
To: Jennifer Carello <websites@techcarellc.com>
Subject: Inquiry

I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in FL and the company is based on importing and exporting of Agriculture products such as Kola Nut, Gacillia Nut and Cocoa so i need a best of the best layout design for it. Can you handle that for me ?. so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible .http://www.agroamerica.com… . the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on the site i gave you to check out, the estimate should include hosting and i want the same page as the site i gave you to check out and i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site

1. I want the same number of pages with the example site i gave you to check excluding videos and blogs.
2. I want only English language
3. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as (topfarmproduce.market)
4. you will be updating the site for me.
5. i will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.
7. My budget is $4000 to $6000

Kindly get back to me with an estimate.
Thanks

Best regards
Jason


 

My Reply:

Hi Jason

Thank you for contacting us regarding your website I took at look at the AgroAmerica site and this looks pretty straigtforward. Would you have time for a 10 minute phone call today? After this I could put together a proposal for you.

Please let me know the best time and number to call you today

Jennifer Carello


His Answer:

I would like to talk to you over the phone,But i am a hearing impaired

And currently in a hospital.

please kindly get back to me with the proposal

I’ll be making the payment with my card.

Thanks

Best regards

Jason.


Oooooooh now I get it. Now I know what rabbit hole we are going down. This is SO TYPICAL!!!!!!  My Reply:

OK good luck in the hospital call me when you get out


And, his answer?  Here you go they are totally OUT OF CONTROL!

From: Jason George <jasongeorge040@gmail.com>
Date: Friday, July 28, 2017 at 9:14 AM
To: Jennifer Carello <jcarello@techcarellc.com>
Subject: Re: Inquiry

You can come suck my dick in this hospital. 


Wow.

Take Your $40,000 Custom WordPress Theme and Shove It…..

In any business you can act on the behalf of your customer or you can act on behalf of yourself.

In the web world, I can spot a client who comes to us who has had a developer or agency acting on behalf of their own selves a mile away.  I log into the back end and what do I see: a custom theme, custom page layouts, possibly no WordPress menus, no backup, and an admin user sitting right there.

Great.

You know what prior developer? Shove it.

Building a custom theme that you (the agency or developer) will never update, that takes hours and hours to create, that ends up ruining the great flexibility that WordPress innately has, is selfish.

Now before you get your panties in a bunch, there may be times when a custom theme is needed.  But for 99.9% of small to medium business in this country, there are so many resources already built that provide such a great array of choices to any business that a custom theme is almost never warranted.  And they provide flexibility. And growth (as you hope your customers grow their business as well).  And they take advantage of the great features WordPress has to offer instead of ripping those features out.

And they cost hardly anything.

I have sat in conference rooms to take over a website that was developed in Manhattan, looking through the plate glass windows at the skyscrapers on one side and the open office configuration on the other side with lots of developers listening to their music and pumping out websites.  Now, are they good developers?  Sure!  Awesome, in fact!!  Do they care about their client? Is their product better because it comes from “the city” and it was made by young people who are tech-savvy and it’s expensive?  No. And the bill was $40,000.  Instead of $8,000.  Or $6,000.

Small and medium business owners in this country are trying to make it. They are putting their heart and soul and finances into their business to provide a better life for their family. They worry all day and all night. They are constantly thinking. Business is booming and too busy. Then it is slow. When will the money come in? Who will stiff them? Who values their product and who will screw them over?

Small and medium business owners need a developer who is looking out for their best interests. Finding a solution that is fast to implement, the least expensive to implement, that plays nicely with their other software, and that will be updated and supported going forward.

If you support small and medium business and you are an amazing developer, I beg you to put your “cool developing ideas” to use in another way and give this budding business a product that is supported, is in line with standards, and has growth potential.

 

9 Ways to Keep Costs Down While Building a New WordPress Website

Pricing from different website developers may range quite a bit.  When you go out to bid, there are many factors to consider when choosing a website developer.  One developer may charge you on a project basis and another on time and materials.

At TechCare, we charge for time spent working on the website. Years ago, we used to charge by the project, but we found that when there is a charge for the project, one party makes out and one gets raked over the coals.  Charging for time used is fair for both the developer and the client.  It makes it easy for a client to add on new functionality to the website when the project is in full swing.

It also makes it easier for the client to keep costs down by following a few simple rules:

  1. Number one this is the most important rule of all:  BE ORGANIZED!

    The most time I have wasted on website is on photos and disorganized clients.  Getting information peacemeal is very difficult to deal with.  I’ll give you some examples. One time I had a client that sent over a dropbox folder with 879 images that were all over 4K in size, many that were taken all in a row so the people in the photos were moving just slightly for 6 photos, and the client wanted us to download all photos (not a quick download – do the math!), then look through each photo and choose the 5 for the slider on the home page.  The client, who knew the photos intimately, could have chosen 10 and sent those ones to us for final choosing.  On another project, a client needed to send us a photo and then 5 key pieces of information for each product.  The images were sent haphazardly, not named the product name, the downloadables were named weird names, and everything came separately over time as the client has the information.  Trying to figure out what image, downloadable, description, table, chart, etc went to which product took hours and hours. We had to organize everything ourselves.  So the answer is, be organized.  Name your images the name of the item. Send only what you need to send. Send groups of information together instead of all separately.  This will save you a lot of time.  Now, many of my clients and I use dropbox and we organize items into folders which are named clearly and concisely.

  2. Enter your own products into your website

    Do you have a woocommerce store?  Most likely you will want to maintain the site after it is live by adding and removing products on your own.  Have the website developer add in a few products and categories so you have a good template to work off of. Then ask them to show you how to add new products. You will have to do this on you own later on, right?  So learn how to do this now.  Practice while you have a teacher nearby!  Also, you know your products better than your web developer, so can probably do this faster then he/she can do this!  This is secretarial work after the structure is set up, and you don’t need to pay for secretarial work.  This can save you a lot of time and be very beneficial to you in the long run.

  3. Move along and don’t let the project languish

    Most projects move along, or have the intention of moving along, but sometimes clients get going and then get busy with their own business. Then 9 months go by. If you are a client and call back the web developer, they have to get back up to speed on your site.  Your software is outdated, things you chose may seem less important and other things more important.  Everyone forgets where they were.  This is important for your business. Make it a priority.  This first big push won’t last forever.  Just pull all nighters and do what you need to do  – get it done.

  4. Go with the flow

    If you get caught up in small details that don’t really matter to the overall goal of a fantastic website, you will most certainly increase the price.  Being overly concerned with a section text that is centered vs. left justified, or how exactly the page lays out on desktop without thinking of how it will change in mobile, will slow the project down and cause the developer to spend time working on things that most likely only you are worried about.  Get the project done, and then if there are a few items at the end that really bother, you, ask for changes.

  5. Trust your website developer

    You hired your website developer because you believe they know what they are doing.  Now, follow their suggestions.  Most likely they know what is in “style” and what will make your site appear old.  They should know how to structure the menu so that you will provide the best user experience to your visitors.  The web developer will give you tasks to do that will help your site succeed. They have a vested interest in creating a phenomenal website just as you do! Follow their lead!

  6. Pay your developer quickly and in full

    If your developer receives your payments immediately and in full, they will continue to provide you excellent service and will complete your tasks quickly and efficiently.  If you get behind on your payments, your website developer knows this. If they have a choice to work on one website or another, they will work on the clients who pay – happily.  Besides, it is only right and honest to pay for work that has been completed per your request.

  7. Be nice

    Being nice goes a really, really long way. I have learned a lot of things from my clients, and there are a few in particular who are always complimentary and just a joy to deal with.  David Cingari, Paul Blanchard, Mike Shirley, and Jeff Kimball are a few people I have worked with and shown me a better way to work with vendors.  When there are a few little items along the way, you might just not need to pay for those items because of your great attitude.  I would rather charge less and work with a great client, than charge more and work with someone who it not nice.

  8. Don’t change the entire menu structure mid way through or towards the end

    OK, this is a biggie. Almost needs to be moved up to number two.  This can DOUBLE the cost of your website – yes, double.  This has happened a few times over the years – we plan out a great menu structure which is wonderful for SEO, we begin building all the pages, adding content, and then a month or two into this, the client changes their mind because it is too much work, they feel it is overkill, or someone gets their ear and they completely change the menu structure. This can be an absolute mess on the back end, wastes time, and the entire vision for the website is thrown out the window.  Just work really hard to come up with a great site map in the beginning, understand what it means, and stick to it.

  9. Have a clear vision of the end goal from the beginning.

    Understand that each time you would like to ask for more functionality, you are asking for more development time. More development time means more outlay of cash.  This can easily happen on an ecommerce website.  Once you start building you may think – “Oh, I’d like to offer a coupon only for people who purchase item x and that gives them a pop up offer in their cart when they check out” or “I’d like to offer a store locator and import all of my current locations into the software and then change the display of how it outputs” or “We would like to offer product manuals on each page that go with each product and have a way to automatically add them to each product”. These are real live changes we have made on websites mid way through. Some of these items added on during the project can cost a lot more because the menu structure needs to be changed, other items need to be linked, development needs to be done, etc.  Try to lay everything out in the beginning so you don’t have “scope creep”.

 

 

Deleting Revisions and Reducing the Size of Your WordPress Database Can Speed Up Your Website …And It’s Easy!

When you are building a website, you make changes after changes to most of your pages and keep clicking UPDATE.  Do you know that each time you click UPDATE you are saving a NEW copy of your page?  These are called Revisions.  Wordpress has a neat feature that allows you to go back to a revision if you mess something up. Yes, I have used this feature before!

You can find this feature at the top of the screen under Screen Options when you are editing a page. Just put a check in the box next to “Revisions” and now if you scroll to the bottom of the edit screen on a page, you will see a box for “Revisions” and you have the option to restore a revision.

Well, these revisions can build up and take up space in your installation!  There is an easy way to remove those revisions, while you are also performing maintenance on your mySQL databases!  You can do this manually, but there is a nice easy plugin you can use called “Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions” by CAGE Web Design that will do both of these things for you. Optimizing the database and reducing the number of revisions should speed up your wordpress website.

Either ask your web developer to do this for you or you can do it on your own.  Install the plugin from the WordPress Repository and activate the plugin. Under Settings, you will find a link for “Optimize Database” – go there.  I like to keep the last few revisions as I am basically a hoarder, but if you like to live more on the edge and have a higher risk tolerance, you can choose 0 revisions!  Here are the options I choose (and no checks on the tables so ALL are reduced):

optimize-wordpress-database

 

After I ran this on techcarellc.com for the first time, look at my results:

reduce-size-database-wordpress

 

Wow! So run this optimizer every once in a while, depending on how active you are on your website. Do you write a lot of posts? Have you had your website up for a long time?   Just run it every now and then and see what savings you have – and see how much faster your website runs!!!

 

 

 

 

What Types of Updates do I Need to do on my WordPress Website and How Often?

Once your WordPress website is built and live, you have a few options: you can consider the project of building your website “complete” and “all set” and just let it sit there supposedly doing it’s job on it’s own, or you can view your website a living, marketing arm of your business and keep it up to date!  If you would like to have your website up and running, preventing hacking as much as possible, then you should choose to keep the website up to date.

What does it mean to keep my website up to date?

There are two areas to keep up to date on your WordPress website:

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Woocommerce Align Add to Cart Button

Many of my customers have different length titles of their products. When Woocommerce displays all of the products on a category page, the Add to Cart button or the Select Options button appears under the title of the product, which makes the buttons appear on different lines and can look messy to the eye.  I have been asked to align the Add to Cart button so that they all appear on the same row.  I looked around and tried some snippets of code and I could not find one, so I came up with this and it worked nicely!

You will go from this:

messy-add-to-cart

To this:

aligned-add-to-cart

 

Put this line of css in your style.css sheet in your child theme (you DO have a child theme, don’t you??) save, and then refresh your site.  You can fool around with the bottom value and the min-height, depending on how large your font for your h3 titles are.


.woocommerce ul.products li.product, .woocommerce-page ul.products li.product {min-height: 500px !important; margin-bottom:10px; }
ul.products li.product a.button {position: absolute !important; bottom: 100px; }


If you want to change the size of your titles on your products, you can add this to your style.css and change the font size to whatever you’d like including em.

.products h3 {font-size: 24px; }

Creating a Unique and Functional Woocommerce Store Online

TechCare has created many Woocommerce stores for clients around the United States, and we recently launched a site we thought we should highlight so you could see some of the functional and interesting things you can do with Woocommerce and WordPress.

The store Sweetie Pie Collection was a brand new e-commerce venture for the Flower Girl and Communion Dress wholesaler.  Sweetie Pie did have a website, but there was no ability to purchase items on the former site.

Features of the new Woocommerce WordPress website

Wholesaler Website: Prices not shown unless logged in

If you visit Sweetie Pie Collections as a normal visitor on the web, not logged in, you will be able to browse the collection of dresses. You will be able to read about each dress, zoom in on each dress to see detail on edges, lace, etc, and see the SKU number. You will just not be able to see
Read more →

Decisions to Make When Setting Up a Woocommerce Store

Setting up your online store can be an exciting adventure!  If you have chosen woocommerce as your shopping cart, TechCare can help you put the whole thing together. There are many decisions to be made, and questions we will have for you.  In order to expedite the knowledge transfer from you the client to us the developers, we have put together this survey that will give us a lot of information so we can build your site correctly!

 Take the Woocommerce Survey Now

 

This survey is going to ask you to make some decisions you have not made yet.  For example, we are going to ask you how you plan on charging for shipping: by the dollar amount, free shipping, by the weight, dimensions?  You may have not thought of how you will
Read more →

Menu items disappearing on WordPress Menu

This summer I have run into two instances where we were building a site and as we added more and more items to a beautiful mega menu, the items were dropping off!  Entire chunks of the menu were disappearing or getting deleted.  The primary menu box would not stay checked, so your menu locations were constantly being put back to the default.

If you are adding a lot of pages to your WordPress menu and they are getting deleted or disappearing, this is what you need to do:
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