Don’t get hog-tied by a Cowboy web builder!

It’s a wild wide web out there and many a tale have been told about poor goners that have forked over their hard earned dinero on a web builder only to find that they have been had by cowboy. Don’t worry though, the good folks at the Kalexiko ranch can help help you jig up these rogue frauds with some up the water advice. Now gather round the fire and I will talk about how to spot a cowboy web builder a mile-off. That way you know who you can trust to take care of your website.


What’s their tale about?

The best place to begin is by doing some proper research on the web builders you may hire. What do we look for you say? Well there are a number of things you should consider when doing your research so you can spot a cowboy before he makes the first draw. Once you have found a web builder the first thing you should take a look at is their website. You can judge a lot about a man by the scars on his face they say out here in the west and that’s true when you are looking for a web builder.


Firstly take a gander at their website. A good web builder should have a website that is full of brazen brass goodness. You want to know that the guys you will be working with are not only good at what they do but are also passionate about it. So you should look through all their own website and take into account whether or not all the functions work flawlessly, if the overall design is sound and if it is visually appealing. Of course, not everyone likes a man for his tales and you need to remember that sometimes it’s just down to taste. Try and find a web builder that adheres to the ethos of your business and can produce you a website along the lines of what you would like.


Secondly you should take a peep at their client lists. You want to make sure that your web builder is sound on the goose in terms of what they can deliver. Take a look if there are any clients that you recognise or in a similar line of industry. Obviously a web builder in your industry will be able to produce the best results as they have rode them plains before and know what to deliver. Sometimes you can’t always get a man like that for the job. In this case take a look at their client list, check out their client’s websites and any testimonials or reviews. If people are shooting off scuttlebutt about the web builder than you know to get on your horse and skedaddle fast. If the web builder doesn’t have any clients listed, but you really think that they are the man for the job then you should ask them for some examples of their work. Sometimes a web builder is just too played out from running errands for good townsfolk to be able to constantly update his own site. If this is the case then they will no doubt have a record of their clients and a good web builder will be more than happy to share them with you. Once you have examples of their work give it a test and a review. Ask yourself if the website has good overall usability, do they look smoking hot and try searching for the website in Google. If it shows up well in search rankings then you know you got a man of the first water!


Out here in the west it pays to judge a book by its cover. Many a poor amigo have been lost to the sands for not doing their research. Make sure you don’t get smoked out on the first ride and do your research on potential web builders.


Do they seem like a chiseler?

Chiselers are everywhere in the west, they will cheat you out of every dime you have without delivering. The only way you can spot if a builder is a cowboy, a chiseler or if they don’t care a continental about your needs is to meet them in person. There are a few things that a cowboy will try and do to get the upper hand on you when you meet them.


One thing you should always be careful of is a mans and his promises. If it sounds too good to be true then it usually is. A web builder with integrity and honesty won’t promise you the world if they can’t deliver it. I have heard many a cowboy claim to be do good at SEO services able to get top Google rank in two days and never deliver. Many cowboys will snare you in with promises that can’t be fulfilled, so stay vigilant and realistic.


Sometimes nothing gets the truth out a man like a good ol’ interrogation. When you choose a web builder you want to be sure that he knows what he is talking about, so don’t be afraid to fire off a round of questions at him. Get stuck right in with the technical details and see how he replies. If he seems bedazzled then you know you may have a cowboy on your hands. The same follows for the him too. If a web builder doesn’t ask questions about the service you want, how will he know exactly what to deliver? Many a cowboy have a tendency to say yes at a meeting and worry about delivery later on. Avoid these guys at all costs.


Watch out for the Jack

Every pack of cards has a Jack lying in there; Jack of all trades that is. While it may seem all good that a developer is a real renaissance man and has a lot of know-how in a lot of areas these guys usually turn out to be the biggest cheaters of them all. There are many ways Jack of all trades will cheat you. In some cases they may be a dabbler in all areas of web building, but no professional. In other cases he may outsource work to freelancers who only want to make a quick buck and know nothing about your company. In this case you will end up with a website that looks and feels like a mix up in the mud rather than coherent and consistent. A way to overcome rogues like this is to request a meeting with the whole team, that way to can address your specific needs to each member specifically. You wouldn’t want your copywriter coding or your accountant solving acronyms, so it’s important that you meet the full house and not a Jack of all trades.


Fleecing, the oldest trick in the book

As is the case for most of life’s lessons; fleecing is the oldest trick in the book but the hardest for a client to spot. This is because there are so many ways a cowboy will try and cheat you and you can bet your bottom dollar he knows them all. Sometimes this can be as bold as charging a bullion for a little job; to conning you with elaborate software solutions (usually ones you have never heard of). Sadly my friend the only way to stop this happening to you is to do your research. Shop around, far and wide and compare quotes and remember; if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.


So a cowboy got you?

Almost everybody in these parts knows an unlucky critter who has been had by a cowboy. Sadly, once a cowboy has gotten your money he has probably galloped off to another prairie looking for more unlucky scamps to cheat. Through travelling these parts far and wide and hearing many a tale I have a few common cases of cowboy treachery you can spot and how to deal with them.


Make sure there’s no inline Javascript or CSS

One common problem that crops up with cowboy builders is  not making sure that Javascript and CSS are contained in external files. Using external files generally produces a website faster than a healthy steed. Javascript and CSS inlined in HTML documents get downloaded everytime there is a request for the HTML which reduces the number of HTTP requests needed, but will increase the size of the HTML document. If the Javascript and CSS are in external files the size of the HTML is reduced without the increase of the number of HTTP requests. So partner, the key is the frequency in which the external Javascript and CSS components are cached is relative to the number of HTML documents requested. So if users of your site have multiple page views every second and your pages re-use the same scripts and stylesheets it will be more beneficial to use external cached files.


Make sure stylesheets are in the header

Again, if your website is running slower than a three legged horse then you know a cowboy has done you a bad deal. One way to resolve this is by making sure that the stylesheets are in the document header. This allows the page to render progressively. A good web builder wants his pages to load progressively. This is important with pages crammed with content and for users in the stone age with slower connections.  This wont be the case if stylesheets are near the bottom of the document. Placing them here will prohibit progressive rendering in many internet browsers and leave the user with a blank white page. HTML specification states that stylesheets are to appear at the head of a page. If this isn’t the case and your seeing a white blank page or an eyesore flash of unstyled content you know a cowboy has had you.


So keep your eyes peeled

So partner, now you know how to spot a cowboy builder and a couple of tips to check if you have been had. Remember, it’s wild out there and there are plenty of cowboys out there that want to take advantage of who they can.