Let’s start with a little webmaster joke. I apologize, but this joke relies on some complicated insider industry jargon. Maybe some of my fellow webmasters will get the humor. The rest of you might miss it.
Q. Why did the webmaster throw in the towel?
A. Clients exist!
Now we move on to the following creepy tales of horror. These are true stories that actually happened. You have been warned.
Scenario: Must Go Faster
Client: Remember, this is our flagship website. It’s an “enterprise” solution. (Whatever the hell that means. -Ed.) All of our livelihoods depend upon it. It must be a Lamborghini. It needs to go 0-60 in 3.3 seconds.
Webmaster: No problem.
Client: Here’s enough money to buy us a used Ford Pinto. Sign us up for that shared hosting plan at $2.99 a month. (Yes, you read that right. Two dollars and 99 cents a month.)
Webmaster: 0-60 in 17.8 seconds here we come!!!
Client: Unacceptable. Our website is too slow. That’s unacceptable. Shoppers won’t wait around for pages to load, you know! Our conversion rates are taking a beating. This is unacceptable. Unacceptable!
Webmaster: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Scenario: Too Much Money
Potential Client: I have a very tight budget. What’s the cheapest website I can do?
Webmaster: $15 for the domain name and $66 a year for a simple template-based three page website. You pick one of these open source templates and I load in your content. You can make simple changes, like color scheme and a header image, but no changes to the layout. If you adhere to these rules I perform the setup at no charge.
Potential Client: I’ll take it. $66 a year. Deal. Here’s some layout changes. Also, I demand on-site meetings and I need you to personally install the email for every single user on all of our office computers.
When I informed the client he forgot about the $15 for the domain name, he had a fit, so I ate that, too. Then my wife had to hunt him down at his place of business and threaten physical violence when he was slow-to-pay. One year later and he refused to renew.
Scenario: Jack Shit
We built a website for a fishing guide, the son of our long-time clients. We built the site for free as a personal favor and on the hopes that he would renew in a year’s time and become a client.
One year later…
Client: No, I don’t want to renew.
Webmaster: I’m sorry to hear that. Was there a problem?
Client: Yeah. The website never did jack shit for me.
Webmaster: Oh, I see. Did you put your website URL on your business cards?
Webmaster: Stationary? On the side of your vehicle? Did you even mention it to a single human being?
Client. No, no and no.
Webmaster: Sounds like you did a really good job of keeping it top secret. I’ll bet even the NSA didn’t know about it!
Scenario: Not On The Menu
Existing Client: How much to add our menu to the website?
Webmaster: No charge as long as you provide it as an electronic document so I can copy and paste.
One week later…
A physical copy of their 12-page menu arrives via Snail Mail. I had to data entry the entire thing by hand.
I want to become a client so you can have at least one who appreciates your services. Other than Mrs. Abyss.
Be careful what you wish for!