The reason I’ve had to do that is because:

  • Web Agencies are shit
    • They are not built to serve startups
      • what is in scope and what is not in scope is a very blurry line that never works in your favour
      • ‘we do agile’
      • i’ll put it into ‘our’ schedule for us to do for you when we feel like it
      • they work in a waterfall methodology and they are not interested in or built for rapid iteration or learning
      • they are expensive and work on an hourly basis (not deliverables basis) – and when your budget runs out there is no sympathy regardless of whether they’ve done their job or not
      • they spend their time on beautiful looking mocks rather than actually building useful products – i.e. focus on the wrong things
      • they are usually run by non-technical people (e.g. sales people) who aren’t able to properly understand what it takes to build quality products
      • they are lazy – they work with what they know – if that’s Shopify they only do Shopify and are blind to everything else regardless of whether that’s the right solution for you
      • don’t expect them to care about you once they’ve delivered something, you’re all on your own then – whether it’s patching updates or fixing something that’s crashed
      • they are not invested in solving your problems or your customers problems, if you are non-technical and haven’t done your research on your customer or know the language these guys are going to rip you a new one
      • basic tools to ensure basic running of your website and uptime will not come with your website
    • Examples:
      • “cowboy coder” – small agency (less than 5 people) – well intentioned and cheap
      • Facts:
        • initial build: 3 months – $16K
        • architecture: joomla + custom development
          • website was hacked into after 2 years
          • couldn’t get google analytics, e-commerce tracking to work
          • couldn’t get google tag manager in
          • had to rebuild the website again – took a few months
      • but:
        • no follow-up service and very slow to deliver – often weeks without hearing from him once website was delivered
        • doesn’t always follow instructions correctly and limited knowledge of how to do things often relying on subcontractors to do the bulk of the work, especially custom development work
        • no documentation for anyone to take over the website
        • built off a free platform but hacked into core files which meant upgrading and patching was impossible unless you rebuilt the entire website – leading to unsecure website with our website getting hacked and learning that we were off an infrastructure version of 1.8 and the latest one was 3.6
        • built pages off the core templates which meant any patching or changes could inadvertently adversely effect the overall functionality or look of the website
        • no direction on U/X

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