We have some work to be done in the garden that requires a professional, with some professional machinery. I’ve been looking for contractors so that I can request bids from them. I searched at tradgardsanlaggarna.se, made a shortlist of about 8 contractors, and then looked at their web sites to confirm that they can do what we need.

Some companies have modern web sites. The tone ranges from corporate to personal, the design from boxy to modern, but they all look like they belong in the 21st century.

Other companies’ web sites inspire less confidence. One of the contractors had no web site at all and only a swipnet email address, which is sort of like a Swedish hotmail equivalent. One had a web site consisting of a single page which had been saved from Photoshop and contained their logo and an email address and nothing more.

I work with the web; I cannot help but be prejudiced against companies who in this day and age still have not understood its importance as a marketing channel. If the company’s web site is not professional, how professional are they going to be in other aspects? So there is a strong temptation to let the surface appearance affect my judgement of the company.

But I suspect that the web site is probably not at all a good predictor of a company’s ability to do a good job in the garden. I have no difficulty imagining a bunch of 50-year-old guys, in the business for 30+ years, who simply prioritise doing their job ahead of marketing the firm.

And in a way, maybe my logic should be the opposite. If a firm has a butt-ugly web site but they’re still in business after a decade or two, then obviously they’re doing something right.