This is one in a series of posts reviewing and looking at how some of the SEO companies which use bulk emails/spam with ‘we can help your terrible site’ type emails really can (and actually mostly can’t!) help your site.
This email came from Denis who was using an @webranktrike.com email, although a subsequent reply came from Denis using from a croxstain.com email address. (webranktrike.com isn’t a real site).
Hi whychristmas.com Team
Hope you are doing well.
AS we know your website is a reflection of your business, so if you are interested we want to re-design and Develop your website with Latest newly added features that might benefit the overall usability and user experience which usually leads to better sales!
As there are millions of websites for the same business, we would like to help you in creating your existence over search engines by developing SEO friendly websites.
Problems with your Original site:
You can’t control your site or change content
Search engines can’t find you
Your site has outdated technology
No call to action
Slow load times
No Dynamic content
We would also use to develop mobile Responsive sites, which would be compatible for all the devices, like Smart phone, iPhone, tablets etc.
Along with the web design, web-design, we also provide other IT service as link software Development, App Development and Digital marketing. Kindly let us know your requirements and we will provide you the best proposal ASAP.
We would love to hear from you regarding any questions you might have. Please let us know if you wish to move further, so that we can schedule a meeting without disturbing your busy schedule.
Waiting for your response!
Digital Marketing Expert
So this is a bit different to the normal pure SEO spam I get; Denis wants to rebuild my Christmas website for me as it’s clearly not a very good site…
I’ve been running www.whychristmas.com for nearly 20 years and during each December it gets millions and millions of visits (about 18 million pageviews in December 2018) and is #1 on the whole of Google for a huge number of Christmas searches – so any advice about the site is always ‘interesting’!
Their Report & Recommendations
The report/audit I received from them was in the form an email, which is shown below.
Thanks for your reply.
We are basically from India and all of our clients are from USA, uk, AUS, China and other parts of world.
Let me say a few word about our company that, we at croxstain.com have been providing Web Design, Development and SEO services to many of our client across the world.
We provide eye catching and Responsive web design services. We have spent lot more than 8 years in high end design and development. We have a company with team of highly experience web designers.
We will give you 100% effort to make re-design your website and your site will be looking good, eye catching and make your website search engine friendly and also provide 1 year maintenance free services if any small changes required.
Our price is very Affordable, Our Total charges US$800(Static page Design (8-10 pages) for website Designing and development and our policy is to take 50 percent in advance and then remaining 50 percent after completion of the works.
If you want more pages then it’ll cost accordingly.
Please provide us your website requirements and some referral website names/URLs as your choice so that we can start design your website accordingly.
We always advice program keeping business module and budget in mind. Having said that, our foremost priority will be given to boost your website performance and attract more customers for your business.
We strongly recommend you our “BUSINESS PORTFOLIO” Designing concept, which gives you the following;
· Customized & Static page Design (7-8
· Design Concept
· 2 Design Revisions
· Mobile/Tablet/iPhone/Tablets friendly (i,e all the pages of the website).
· Contact Form
· Home Page Slideshow
· Banner Creation
· Photo Gallery
· Search Engine Friendly
· Static HTML and PHP Programming
· Google Maps for easy search & navigation
· We will your website well standed and professional responsive site.
· We will completed all the task within 30 days if you will cooperate from us my developer. Team will complete soon.
Those our deliverable we will provide you after your Requirement:
HTML validation Error fixing
Canonical Error Fixing
Brand comb navigation Menu bar
Custom 404 page
Google webmasterGoogle Analytics
And also We will fix all the technical error and make your website search engine friendly.
Give us some Sample Websites as you like/choice often, or we’ll prepare the Sample Template.
My design /development team will work into the back-end process and will go for live after your approval on the same.
Let me tell you that it will take 4 to 5 week to complete the re-designing task and I believe we need to precede the works as right away.
Give us your thoughts on this and my team will prepare the sample template and Service Agreement letter for your website re-designing task.
we can have a online discussion over phone/Skype, If you want to know more about our services or anything, you can ask me anytime. I am always ready to help you.
I am eagerly waiting for your kind response.
Thanks & Regards
Denis [surname removed for privacy, even though I’m sure it’s not their real name..!]
Digital Marketing Manager & Web Developer
The first thing I noticed about both of Denis’s emails was the amount of English spelling and grammar errors. In his 2nd email, Denis says that Croxstain is based in India. That’s fine. I have nothing against Indian web companies (if they’re offering a good service!); but having that many simple errors just does not show a professional service to me. If there are so many mistakes in their own emails, it makes me wonder what the copy quality of a potential site would be?!
So let’s look, in some more details, at what they think my site needs (compared to how it is at the moment – ranking VERY well on Google with millions of visitors each year)…
We strongly recommend you our “BUSINESS PORTFOLIO” Designing concept, which gives you the following; Customized & Static page Design (7-8) – The current site has 189 pages! So over 10 times the number they recommend having! I know Denis has said that “If you want more pages then it’ll cost accordingly” but offering this number of pages for a rebuilt of this site does make me wonder if he’s actually ever visited the existing site! (and if their charges are $800 for an 8 page site, how much would an 189 page site cost?!!?!?) My Christmas site also IS NOT a normal ‘business’. It’s all about Christmas information. So is a ‘Business Portfolio’ site really the best option – I think not!
Design Concept & 2 Design Revisions – OK, that’s pretty normal and what I offer my web design clients.
Mobile/Tablet/iPhone/Tablets friendly (i,e all the pages of the website) – Well, all the pages of the existing site are already VERY mobile friendly!
Contact Form – The current site has got one of those already!
Home Page Slideshow – I take it they mean a slider/carousel. It’s actually best practice NOT to use silders/carousel. They’re bad for users for a number of reasons – this site explains more http://shouldiuseacarousel.com/ (The Croxstain site has a carousel on its home page…)
Banner Creation – I take it they mean things like header graphics. The existing site uses images throughout the site as appropriate already!
Photo Gallery – Again, photos are used through all 189 pages as needed, a single page photo gallery would be pointless on my site!
Search Engine Friendly – The site is already VERY search engine friendly!
Static HTML and PHP Programming – I’m not actually sure what they mean by this. Sites are *normally* either static (basic simple ‘just’ HTML) OR use a programming language like PHP to make them ‘dynamic’. Perhaps they mean that the contact form might be powered by PHP (which is a possible PHP use on a ‘static’ site); or perhaps they’re just using techy sounding words to try and impress people?! (When I talk to my clients, I very rarely talk about things like ‘static’ and ‘PHP’. I prefer to keep things simple and just make good sites that work in a relevant way for my clients’ needs.)
Google Maps for easy search & navigation – As this site IS NOT a business with a location, having a Google Map would be pointless. Again, I wonder if Denis has actually ever visited the site…?
“We will your website well standed and professional responsive site” and “We will completed all the task within 30 days if you will cooperate from us my developer. Team will complete soon” – I think they’re saying the site would be good and done within 30 days. Having been in the web business for nearly 20 years, this is VERY optimistic. I once had a client take over 18 months to get all the info to go on their site too me…!
Those our deliverable we will provide you after your Requirement: – I think these things will be done once they know more? Or are they features of the site? Or are they extras?!
HTML validation Error fixing – My current site has NO HTML errors!
Canonical Error Fixing – My current site has canonical links all working properly.
Visitor sitemap – My current site has a site map linked to on every page (all 189 of them!).
XML sitemap – My current site has an xml sitemap.
Robots.txt file – Got one of these already as well…
Brand comb navigation Menu bar – I think this means having a navigation/menu on the site – got one!
Custom 404 page – Yep, got one of these.
Google webmaster – OK, I’m already using Google Webmasters Tools thanks.
Google Analytics – Using this as well…
So basically my site ALREADY HAS everything they are offering (and more!). Later in the email Denis says “Let me tell you that it will take 4 to 5 week to complete the re-designing task and I believe we need to precede the works as right away.” So… will it take 30 days or ‘4 to 5 week’?
So it seems that Denis wants to redesign my site, with far less features and pages than it’s already got… And several of the features he wants to use are totally in-appropriate for my site. Hmmmmmmm
Looking at Their Site
With spammers, I also like to look at their sites, to see if they practice what they preach (I mean would you trust a plumber who had leaking and rusty pipes all over their own house?!); and also to compare their site with a site they say they can help…
Their site is: http://www.croxstain.com/
For HTML Validation, their site has 1 errors & 4 warnings (that’s not bad, but as they’re offering to fix mine [I think] you would hope that they wouldn’t have any errors on their site..). My site has no errors!
On Google Pagespeed their site gets:
My site gets:
Mobile: 98/100 – so both considerably better using Google’s own speed testing tool!
On GTMetrix their site gets:
F (36%) / D (68%)
On GTMetrix my site gets:
A 94% / A (90%) – so again much better!
Using the ‘WAVE’ Accessibility Testing Tool, my site got a clean bill of health – their site has 3 errors and 18 alerts.
Their site takes nearly 5 seconds to load – my site takes about 725ms – so about 6x faster!
Also looking on their site, they’re currently not using HTTPS/SSL (having the padlock). Google takes this very seriously now and it’s a basic thing to have on a site these days.
There’s also several bad code examples on their site such as, their logo has the ALT ‘logo’. That’s terrible – it should ‘Croxstain’. They have NO <H1> tag on seemingly any pages. Having an <H1> tag for the main page heading is pretty important SEO wise, they seem to be using <H2> for these.
They also don’t have any ‘OpenGraph’ tags in the code (which search engines and places like Facebook can use to display information about your site) which of course my site does!
Although in his 2nd email Denis says “We are basically from India and all of our clients are from USA, uk, AUS, China and other parts of world.”, on their site they seem to imply that they are a US and/or UK based company! The HTML <title> tag for the site is: “Croxstain is one of the leading digital agency USA, UK providing SEO, SMO, web design and development service at reasonable prices.” and although there’s an address in Bangalore in the site footer, having that html <title> and other text such as “one of the top seo company USA, UK to be delivering complete online solutions for your business’s palpitating success.” (I’m not sure what palpitating success is, but it sounds interesting!) it’s my perception that they’re not being as up front about their business as they might be. (At least they’re not claiming to have a UK office by using another web company’s address without their permission!)
I always find it rather disconcerting when companies use a fake domain without a site to spam you, rather than using their actual company name. Why would you do that unless you know that spamming through your own company might lead to you getting a bad reputation?
I also find it disconcerting that they want to redesign a site, with less features and pages than its already got and don’t even seem to understand what the site is about (and did they ever visit the site?!).
The fact that there’s some very basic HTML and SEO issues with their own site, leads to me wonder about the quality of a site they create would actually be like…
So it’s safe to say I won’t be using their services. (and if a site needs re-designing, may I say it might be their one rather than mine?!)
If you get an email saying you need a new site and offering to create a new one for you, have a good long think… But the choice, as ever, is yours.
(and if you do want a new site designed, I’d be happy to help!)