This definitely was not an easy decision to make.
I knew it would entail a massive amount of work that I just did not have the time for, and no one else did either. All of us with a full workload and plenty of projects.
The other side of the coin is that our existing hosting provider was not able to offer nor maintain even a minimum standard level of service, which often left our website in a ‘404’ state. When the site was working, any changes we requested for things that are considered generally accepted as standard, we were told that it was not yet available but they were considering it.
Things like social media sharing features? In 2017, they could not provide us an easy way to add three simple icons with embedded links to our Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts.
Adding the ability for our customers to place orders without being redirected to another website (something I personally loathe) was something beyond their capabilities.
We could have dealt with those issues though, some code rewriting, and creative redirects and probably could have solve most of the issues we were having. Although as the customer, it was really more of their job than ours, sometimes you have to do what you have to do.
No, what really became the deciding factor was that in every single email or chat conversation with them, it quickly became apparent that they were offshoring their tech support. There is nothing wrong with that at all, in fact, part of our business is an imported expat (reverse offshoring?), but wherever their tech support was located, the training involved reading the script and nothing more.
Spoken English was fantastic. Really, very good, native speaker level good, no kidding. Which made it much more disconcerting after realizing that the person you were speaking to could speak English so well, yet could not comprehend anything being said to them. It was exactly the same in email communications, they would follow a script, and anything we wrote to them just did not matter, even if it completely contradicted that script or was a different topic altogether.
So that was it then, it wasn’t going to get any better anytime soon, and we were not going to get any support from their “Support”. So, here we are, after a few all-nighters, and probably a few more, we will have our site back up and running and completely functional this time. Our Order Page is working already, and our Social Media links and Gallery are looking awesome.
It’s been a lot of work keeping up with orders and trying to handle web dev. on the side, involving loads of coffee and krating daeng (the original Red Bull), but I think we will have it finished soon, and it will be much better than it ever would have been if we had stayed with old hosting company.
Oh, and why not just hire a web developer, looked into that, and just could not find anyone reasonable within budget. We are a small business. We can’t afford to finance someone’s condo on Ekkamai for the next 2 years just to get our little website built. The few we found that were within budget range were sketchy, as in, they did not understand what Royalty Free, Creative Commons-Non Comm., Open-Source, etc. meant when I asked a few basic questions about content sourcing. Essentially copypastas calling themselves Web Devs, and if they can right-click on it, they can use it. Scary.
So, there is definitely a market niche here for competent developers who are not trying to retire from one or two customers. I know several of our customers who only have Facebook Pages because they either do not have the time or the ability to build a website, but also are getting priced out of your services. Something to think about, and next time I hear a kid complain about no work….
Anyway, website building is not something I ever wanted to get back into, it’s been a looooonnnnngggg time, but with a bit of luck and maybe a couple nights of pizza and beers after hours, we will have it all done. Chok dee!