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This is my first review of a service that is directly related to the content of my blog, and so I hope it is useful to a lot of readers. The site is Xhtmlslashcss, a service run by two guys who will code your site in valid XHTML and CSS. Personally, I’m a huge fan of clean, valid, code. Not only is it better for SEO, but it’s actually better for usability (cross-browser situations, visually-impaired visitors, etc.) as well. However, I’d estimate that 99.9% of sites out there are not XHTML/CSS valid. To find out if your site is valid, or to see how many ‘errors’ your code brings up, visit http://validator.w3.org for XHTML and http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/ for your CSS. I’m sure you will have at least a dozen errors.
The actual site itself is very basic and minimalistic, which is what you’d expect in such a site, so I’ll focus on the service they are offering.
Xhtmlslashcss accepts payment through credit card, PayPal, Mail/Fax, Moneybookers, or E-gold, and have a 3-day turnaround from once payment is received. For those who haven’t hired freelancers in the past, this is a fast turnaround.
They charge $150 for 1 page, $250 for 2, $350 for 3, $450 for 4, and $500 for 5 pages. $150 for 1 page is very reasonable, especially if you have an elaborate template and need it coded – remember, not only are you getting it coded, but you are getting it coded into W3C valid XHTML and CSS…
However, their pricing for multiple pages could use some work in my eyes. While it will most likely vary on a case-by-case basis, the fact is that most sites are roughly the same throughout various pages – that is, very little actual changes between pages, and so it seems somewhat unfair to charge an extra $250 for an additional 2 pages when the majority of it will just be copied from the first page. I’m sure, though, that Xhtmlslashcss is referring to completely different pages/designs, and not just basic multiple pages with the same design but just minor content differences…
Another thing that Xhtmlslashcss might want to address in their FAQ is on splicing. Do they splice the Photoshop/skin template for you, or just code the valid XHTML/CSS? I’m assuming the splicing is included, but it would be nice to know for sure.
Their price to integrate an existing design into WordPress is $250. This is something I may actually look into in the future (I was thinking of creating a ‘company’ blog for PublisherSpot, and would need that to have the same design).
In addition, they can also code your site into a WordPress skin.
I’m sure that Xhtmlslashcss will fix this shortly after they read this, but ironically half of their site is not XHTML valid! Their front/index page is, and they have links there to the validators as well. I guess they didn’t think anyone like me would hunt down their other pages and see if they validate
Anyway, I’m sure they will fix this ASAP, and it’s not a big deal – I’m sure your code will validate, and it doesn’t, well… read on..
Amazingly, Xhtmlslashcss offers a 100% money-back guarantee if the client is not satisfied. Now, I’ve hired a lot of freelancers in the past, and let me assure you that this is extremely rare to see. It sounds completely lame to say but with such a backup, you really do have nothing to lose…
The reason why you don’t see more design/code freelancers offer this is because it is very easy for them to get ripped off. There are plenty of horrible clients out there who are either jerks or else just simply incompetent. It’s nice to see a company take this risk to help stand out from the crowd.
I’ve never seen this before, and I absolutely love it. Believe it or not, Xhtmlslashcss has a Competitors page which lists 10-15 of their competitors. That is, other companies which offer similar services of XHTML/CSS coding. At the top of the page, they boldly state “Be smart, shop around… you’ll be back.”
I love that! Very ballsy.. coupled with the money-back guarantee, it helps to quickly gain trust. How many other freelance service sites do you know who link directly to their competitors?
While their company name could use some work and some of their own pages are not valid code, their affordable pricing, fast turnaround time, and money-back guarantee should help persuade anybody who is interested in having their site coded to consider using them in future.