I was reminded recently why it’s important to keep an eye on what people are saying about you, your business and brand, especially online where people say what they like a lot of the time (me included!). A follower of mine on Twitter and fellow web designer had some time on his hands one Saturday evening and decided to let me and a large client of mine know that the site I built for them used an off the shelf template. His tone suggested that I’d done something wrong by using an existing template and not telling anyone or crediting the original template creators. He misread my footer link on the clients site, thinking it said “a Reverb Studios Designed blog” when in fact it said “a Reverb Studios Design blog”, quite different things really! I used an outdated and freely available template, heavily customised and modernised it both back end and front and felt I didn’t have to credit the original designer for these reasons. Something which on reflection, I’ve now changed and included a credit to them just in case.. I also didn’t charge the client an arm and a leg for a custom designed site from scratch, instead charging my usual budget price so I don’t believe I done anything wrong.
The consequence of ignoring or not spotting this kind of thing is that negativity about your company can spread quite quickly and damage your brand and future earning potential. It was made easy for me on this occasion as the moaner in question communicated his imagined problem to me at the same time as my client but things will not always be that easy. Apart from keeping a very close eye on things like your Twitter and Facebook streams, you can also use an excellent service like Google Alerts to let you know when you’re mentioned or when someone links to your site.
If you know stuff was said about you in public then do the best thing you can and defend yourself there too.