Caring about the client

I was just reading this comprehensive guide to redirecting old web pages on the Hobo blog, and once again, it brought home to me how badly served we are by many web designers. The article demonstrates what a complex subject web indexing is, and I’m not surprised that most web designers don’t want to get involved with it. But like so many aspects of website management, it’s not good enough for them to ignore the topic and hope that the client won’t be knowledgeable enough to even know the issue exists.

At the very least, every new website should be delivered with a list of things that the designer has not done, with a recommendation that the client engages SEO or coding experts to finish things off. Naturally, this doesn’t happen, and the client gets left with serious problems which may not materialise for many months. Any return to the web designers will be met with: “that sort of thing’s not us, it wasn’t in the job specification” …which is true, but not very helpful. Or professional, to be honest.

Last week we started work with a company that had launched a new website two months before, and now wanted to start promoting it through PPC advertising. I obtained access to the Google Analytics account, and discovered that all tracking had stopped when the new site was launched. The Google Analytics code from the old site simply hadn’t been transferred over to the new one.

We contacted the web design agency – quite a professional-looking outfit. What had happened? Could they please reinstall the Google Analytics code? Their response was: “That’s the sort of thing which marketing people do. We don’t normally get asked about that.”

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe caring about the client’s business just isn’t good business practice. Unfortunately I can’t change.


  1. Andy Harris

    On the general subject of what web developers should do on site handover, absolutely agree that there should be some sort of standard check list. What we find (apart from issues of redirects) is that various items of tracking code are left out by developers.

    These can be the obvious (Google Analytics) but more often (developers tend to remember to do Google Analytics) it’s other code, such as our own, or heat mapping software etc.

    If we get a phone call from a client saying “I can’t see the companies who visited my website anymore” then 99% of the time there’s been a web developer who has updated/replaced their website but hasn’t put our tracking code (and others) back in.

    Having said that, we are all human and although in theory web developers should have some sort of check list, I guess it’s up to us suppliers of tracking code to pick up on such things and proactively contact our customers to note that they’re missing. There is also a bit of a need for each business to be more proactive. At the very least, each business should have some sort of automated reporting (from Google Analytics, our system, or others) that gets emailed to them each week so that, if they stop receiving that, they’ll know something is wrong.

    In the case of us it’s easy because people would soon miss the lack of seeing companies that visited their website (so it’s picked up on quicker) but something more generic (e.g. a weekly Google Analytics report showing numbers of visitors) is more likely to be routinely ignored as not so important to the business.

    Tough one – not sure what the ultimate answers are.

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