Rant: Why It's So Difficult To Be A REAL Web Developer

OK I had to post this, it’s too great of a teaching opportunity. I came across a guy, who shall remain nameless, on LinkedIn Answers with this completely¬†ignorant post. Seeing as I love a good argument, I had to reply – and here’s our set of replies to each other. This is what frustrates me to no end about our industry and why it’s so hard to find good clients and make a good living. I know I shouldn’t argue with this guy, as his opinion will obviously never change. But anyone who knows me, knows I always try to right wrongs, even if it’s impossible. Take a look at this and tell me what you think ūüėČ

The Guy’s Original Post On LinkedIn

Considering the outrageous costs for developing web pages in the US, just curious if any of you have looked to overseas companies for this outsourcing task.¬†In my experience the remote web developers truly suck (????) (#egister.com) and even if you find a local developer they seem more interested to show off how “brilliant” they are rather than design pages for you that you want.¬†In the latter case I have seen web pages morph into something far from what the original design specified.¬†Just curious to know your opinion.

OK First off….has he dealt with ALL web developers? Obviously not. Here’s my response:

My First Response

OK First off, what’s your idea of “outrageous”? It takes A LOT of time, work and knowledge to make a website, you don’t just wave a magic wand and “poof” your website appears. You have to know multiple web languages, usability and compliance standards (if the developer is worth anything) and other eons of knowledge. It angers me when people expect $500 for a full website, yet don’t hesitate to pay their lawyers, massage therapists or whatever over $150 an hour easy.¬†And no, all developers don’t suck…..if you buy cheap developers you get cheap service. Pay for a real developer and you’ll get real service. Period.

Did I sound angry? I really was.

His Response

Hi Amber,¬†I obviously touched a raw nerve, however my assertion stands.¬†I am going out on a limb (note: He doesn’t have to go “out on a limb” it says so right next to my name) to guess that you are involved with website design.¬†As a point of reference, teaching is hard work with long hours required, not to mention the depth of skills required, yet they earn very little money.¬†Perhaps if you were on the other side of the fence you might be more understanding of the realities of this particular situation.¬†Sorry to disagree with you but I have experience dealing with so-called web designers and again, my assertion stands.¬†Good luck!

OK teaching is NOT the same as web development….should we stop paying our doctors too?

My Response

I understand, yet you haven’t answered my question. What’s your idea of outrageous? The past designers you hired…did they charge $10 an hour or $80 an hour? There is a problem with my industry, as it’s easy for almost anyone to call themselves “designers and developers” thanks to software, but you have to know who you’re hiring. A person, like myself, with over 10 years of experience can charge $50-$150 an hour…and they know how to properly handle client relationships. If you hire some kid in high school….well of course you’r going to get crappy work. And going overseas isn’t always the answer…expecially if its from India…normally they charge peanuts ($100 for a full website…no way!), their code is horrible, outdated and bad for any SEO or following developer to make sense of….I’m still cleaning up clients’ website code built in tables….like I said before…you get what you pay for, and just like everything else, there’s a Goodwill of Designers and a Gucci of Designers.

His Response

Amber,¬†Here is a site I specified to be built. It was made in China.¬†raingallery.cn¬†Total cost: less than $100. It’s only 3 basic pages but I got quotes of $1000 (outrageous) for the same basic pages from high school kids, Register.com, and “professional” website designers to name a few.¬†Probably you will find flaws in them but I am the customer and the pages are acceptable to me HTML-wise. My customers have been very complimentary about the site so I see no real problem with it.¬†If you feel that this is a crappy site, it’s because I did the specifications. I chose the colors, the artwork, and ‘how” the site should behave. And I did not have to have repeated discussions with the HTML guy. Also I have complete control of this site and can easily add as many product pages as I want for no additional costs.¬†If you know of someone, including yourself, who would charge me $100 to build this same type of site, bring it on. I have two more sites in the pipeline.¬†So now I believe I answered your question. Thanks for participating in mine at LI.¬†Also, as you pointed out, there is a problem with your industry, and frankly I said the exact same thing on my LI question.¬†Sorry you took this so personally.

$100 for a CMS, Design & Coding? OK Did you see that site? The web design looks outdated, and the site is built in tables…there isn’t even an Alexa rank…

My Last Response

$100 Are you kidding me?? This is what I charge for two hours of work. Please don’t take this the wrong way, as I’m trying to tell you this from a professional view, but it is people with your mentality, who expect everything for nothing, that bring this industry down.¬†First off, any designer should design with your “design specs”. You want pink and purple websites, they will try to educate why pink and purple may not be the best choice, but if that’s what you want, that’s the kind of website they’ll give you.¬†You’re happy with the HTML? That’s because you don’t know what HTML is. Do you realize that site is built using table templates, aka pre-2000 code? That you’re being penalized by search engines for it, you’d don’t even have an Alexa rank (which is what your Google page ranking is based from), it probably doesn’t even display correctly across all browsers. You don’t see the HTML from the front-end, so you don’t see the problems, or where it is hurting you.¬†I took this personally because you said “all web developers suck”; you might as well have said “all black people suck”, “all jews suck” or whatever. It’s a generalization and it’s untrue.All your web developers may have suck because you’ve never worked with a real developer before. $1000 for a web design and coding is frankly cheap (my design and PROPER HTML code starts at $2500), and you would have at least gotten a much nicer back end and probably better service.¬†Don’t take this the wrong way, as most people don’t realize the amount of work that goes into a website. A real designer and developer wouldn’t take a basic template from a site, hit the slice n dice button on photoshop, and give you a cookie cutter site in an hour. Real sites take an upwards of 20 hours to build correctly, including real knowledge of design and design practices, coding knowledge (not using table layouts that were basically banned by the industry almost 10 years ago).¬†Sorry you’ve had a bad experience but they things I outlined above may be why.

The guy replies back that this conversation is over – did I hit a raw nerve…called the truth?


I don’t like embarassing people, or making examples out of them, but this is just – outrageously bad. This guy REFUSES to pay a normal price for a web design, and wonders why his service is so bad? That’s like me stepping into the homeless shelter and wondering why they didn’t put a mint on my pillow and fluffy towels in my bathroom.

People like this is what is wrong with our industry today. They don’t understand (and never will no matter how many times you explain it) what it takes to build a site. Granted, this is one guy, but there are thousands of people out there like this, who believe table layouts inPhotoshop are acceptable, who don’t believe in paying for work, who believe in getting something for nothing (and whining about the free service) and who will subsequently, never have a very good web presence.

What are your thoughts on this and are ways you would have combatted someone like this?