I had a potential new client call me up the last week, and, as I do right after (or before, if they leave me a message) I speak with a potential new client (PNC), I checked out their web presence. A lot of PNCs don't have anything (hence the phone call to me), but some do, and are looking to upgrade/update what they have.
Now, on a lot of sites I design, my clients, as a courtesy to me, allow me a small link at the bottom advertising that I indeed designed that site. This is not uncommon. I'm a sucker for these links--I'm always curious to see what the competition is.
So this particular PNC had a website, and there was one of those "designed by" links at the bottom. I click, and--oh, eew. I'm taken to this run of the mill, website "factory." I say factory, because the designs, well, they look like they came out of one. And when I checked out their pricing page (oh come on, you would too), it seems they charge for every. little. thing.
Sure, smaller sites start cheap. But guess what? Custom graphics cost extra (and sorry, but this really confused me. Why would custom graphics--such as oh, I don't know, a menu bar--cost extra??! When you "design" a site, don't you kind of create those when you're designing?). Need some animation? Sure, that'll cost you too--and 1 hour's minimum, by the way (which is a little obscene. What kind of animators do they have there that can do their work in under an hour?).
So you're really not getting the great price you thought you were. At the end of the day, you may be way over what you had budgeted. And then what? Cut the custom graphics? Why, so your site could look like every other bad site this place has designed?
Sneaky sneaky, bad web design factory. Sneaky, sneaky.