XHTML/CSS – We Design It, They Code It

After spending at least 2 days thinking of that title, I thought I’d better crack-on with the review that XHTML/CSS or Xhtmlslashcss ordered from ReviewMe to be featured on this blog. They’ve already managed to generate some buzz around the blogosphere with similar reviews appearing on JohnChow.com and Tyler Cruz to name but a few internet entrepreneurs.

So what exactly does XHTML/CSS do and how does the process work?

Well it’s sort of a “what it says on the tin” service, but I’ll quote from the homepage:

How It Works

1. You send us the design that you want turned into XHTML/CSS. [normally a PSD file] 2. Once payment is received we begin coding your design.
3. Within 3 days we send you your design as valid XHTML/CSS.

I’ve started reading up on both XHTML (which is the more up-to-date and standards compliant code) and CSS in order to try to teach myself coding from scratch. Whilst WordPress makes it very easy for us non-programmers to create a website, full knowledge of the languages we’re editing in our Admin Panels is a very useful skill to have.

The website itself is clean and easy-to-use, which they promise to do for your site too. One of the major things that strikes you as you enter the page, is the lack of any graphics – an eye-turner to say the least in the age of rich media. Their reason for this?

“What? No Images?” That’s right, we do code not design.

I understand that they do code, but surely their job includes slicing up images and logos and putting them onto other sites. To me, a site with a logo appears 10 times more professional than one without. Therefore, I would recommend that they get someone to create a logo if they can’t create one themselves and stick one in the header (properly coded of course) for branding and marketing purposes.

Tyler Cruz reported in his interview that whilst the homepage was XHTML and CSS Valid, other inside pages like Get Started and Contact were not. This, although easy-to-make error, sort of undermines their whole service, but at least the problem has been fixed.

The crew of coders that own XHTML/CSS seem very capable to say the least. John, Steve and Tomas are all apparent masters in XHTML and CSS and their knowledge of other languages includes PHP, Javascript and MySQL which are all key in more advanced and interactive web development.

The guys also make sure that your site will work in all of the major web browsers – including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera and Safari – another great addition to their service. If you’re viewing from IE, you’ll notice that Blogtrepreneur has some terrible breaks at the end of each post. Connor still needs to finish up a few things on this design, but you can begin to recognise how important it is to make sure that your site views properly for the majority of your readers – who won’t think twice about clicking the “Back” button in their browser.

In terms of pricing, the rate actually seems very reasonable compared to other similar sites which I have seen on the net. $150 for 1 page seems very good, and if (like XHTML/CSS’s own site) your website has 1 main template whereby you only need to change text or maybe forms for different pages – then you could be looking at $150 for the whole site (if you’re up for some basic HTML editing).

Otherwise, the sharp increase in price from $150 to $250 for only one extra page does seem to put me off, however if your front page is jam-packed full of juicy images and different from the rest of the site, then this figure would be worth paying. The “Integration into WordPress” price is actually extremely reasonable at $250 – and would be worth it in terms of standing out from the crowd. If not, then take your pick from these overused themes.

Moving onto the Portfolio, where you can see examples of their work. However, all the sites on the page seem to point to a sub-folder in the XHTML/CSS site, and are not “live” examples. I myself would have preferred to see real-life examples from people who had ordered certain packages – maybe an addition which the team could include. This SalesManager template seems pretty good though, and again showcases their quality talent.

The best part of the site kicks in when you visit the Competitors page. Here, the team have listed most of the competing websites in their niche; which ranges from well-known sites like PSD2HTML and XHTMLit to less well-knowns like CodePress. The idea behind this concept is that XHTMLslashCSS tells you to visit these other shops and then cockily claims “You’ll Be Back“.

I like this attitude and it shows how ballsy you’ve got to be when competing with big sites with lots of customer recommendations in your niche. I visited the other sites and found only 3-5 sites with cheaper pricing – who says that these sites are necessarily better though?

What’s the need for Valid XHTML and CSS Code?

This is one of the questions that I would have liked to learn directly from the proverbial horse’s mouth. I think it could really benefit them, if the team described the Search Engine benefits of having valid code and how it could make a difference to traffic and thus revenue for the site owners. It would definitely encourage me to order from XHTML/CSS, because as you can see, neither my HTML, nor my CSS validates.

I’ve seen a couple of these PSD to Valid Code type of services on the net, but from what I can tell, the guys over at XHTML/CSS seem to be on top of the game and I’m sure that they can progress to become big players in their niche. If you’ve got any questions, try contacting them or leaving a comment here, or order from them to get your site validated – they accept all the major forms of payment too!

So, who feels like validating my website?

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