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Much to my annoyance, I get emails almost on a daily basis offering me web-related services. This is despite the fact I clearly state I have no use for these services on my contact page. This proves two things:

  1. Unsolicited emails from web companies are rife
  2. People don’t read things properly online

The latter is a big subject in its own right. For now I’ll aim to answer the question: should you use a web company who email you out of the blue?

First of all you should check their email to see whether or not it constitutes spam. If it does, bin it. One the the easiest tell-tale signs of a spam email is its origin. If it comes from a GMail or Hotmail account (as opposed to their own domain) it means they’re spamming people in bulk and don’t want their own domain name black-listing.

Check the quality of the email. Does it contain any spelling and/or grammatical errors? Do they link to their own website and portfolio? It never cases to amaze me how people can expect you to respond to their sales pitch when they don’t even bother to reference their own website.

If they’re offering you a website at a rock-bottom price there will be a good reason for it. Either they’ll sting you with hidden, extra costs at a later date or it will be of extremely low quality. Even worse, they plan to steal it from someone else.

If you live in the UK or the United States you’ll be targeted by overseas companies, especially from India, China and Eastern Europe. While there is nothing wrong with many of these companies per se, you should be aware that there can be some major disadvantages to having your website built by an overseas company.

If the email looks okay and you’re satisfied their location won’t prove a problem, ask for some references.

Finally, ask yourself if you really want to work with a company that have to obtain new clients this way. The majority of the time when a web company (or indeed any other organisation) contacts you without you giving them your permission, they’re actually breaking the law (at least if you and the sender live in the UK). Most, if not all, decent web companies and freelancers I know are constantly busy—and never need to resort to unsolicited emails to get new business.

To use me in a web project call me on 07843 483 078 or get a free quote online.

Tim Bennett is a freelance web designer from Leeds. He has a First Class Honours degree in Computing from Leeds Metropolitan University and currently runs his own one-man web design company, Texelate.