20 Reasons Why Vapid BuzzFeed-Style List Posts Make You Look Like An Idiot

A lot of people say “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Actually, that’s a load of bs, and I’m not going to go into too much detail explaining why.

There are plenty of outrageous and outlandish things anybody can do to get attention, that ultimately end up damaging your reputation in the long run.

I thought this sort of behavior was limited to “celebrities” trying to desperately extend their 15 minutes of fame, but no. It has begun to spillover in my beloved web design community.

Hourly rates, legal threats, and how not to hire a freelancer

A few days ago, I received an email from a potential client for what would have been a pretty small, straightforward coding project. He informed me he found me through a tutorial I wrote about adding a widgetized footer to your WordPress theme. (Yes, I know it’s over three years old, but it’s still a very popular practice to include content in the footer of your site.) He wanted me to code something similar for his own site.

I responded saying that I could do it (I wrote a tutorial about it after all), told him about my hourly rate, and that it probably wouldn’t take more than a couple hours. A pretty reasonable estimate.

What he responded with

He came back saying that he doesn’t use a per hour fee for any graphic work. Okay, whatever, I’ll just multiply my hourly rate by the number of hours I estimate it will take and use that as a fixed rate. Simple.

Why Google Doesn’t Care About Validation

One time I got an email from a “SEO expert” telling me that my site was doing so poorly in search engines because one of my pages had a few validation errors and that I needed to hire an “expert” like him to “optimize” my site so it would rank better. Here are the facts:

  • The site ranked in the top 10 for phrases like “free wordpress themes” and “wordpress themes” which are pretty sought after keywords in that niche.
  • The site averaged about 30,000 total visits per month from search engines (mostly Google) for other various long tail keywords.
  • The site had about 400,000 incoming links from various websites, quality content, and a good reputation within its niche.
  • The XHTML validation errors were because of a YouTube video I embedded. The default code YouTube provided caused a few errors in validation.

Anyone with half a brain when it comes to SEO will know that a strong link profile, quality content, and a solid reputation will trump a few validation errors on a page (with the exception of a few edge cases).

Your Customers Read Twitter Too

I follow a lot of people in the WordPress community from my @themelab account, a number of whom run their own businesses based around WordPress. If you run a business on Twitter, there’s a good chance your clients and other (potential) customers follow you.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Twitter postings from people which essentially mock their customers. Here’s some of the common ones I see from the commercial themer crowd:

  • Wow, this clueless customer of mine just posted a total newbie question on my support forum. Check it out! (screenshot link here)
  • Haha, someone who used a pirated version of my theme just got hacked and now their entire blog is ruined. Too bad for them.
  • This site just switched away from my awesome SEO-optimized theme and now it looks like total crap, say bye-bye to search rankings.