Articles: Why pay for a website?

Articles: Why pay for a website?

Date Added: 08/01/2013 @ 10:25am

Like for any other purchase you make for your business, I'm sure you don't like spending money if you don't need to. So you're not going to spend a lot of money on a website if you don't need to.

There are, as there have been since the early days of the internet, a lot of free website providers. So why would anyone pay lots of money for a website? That's a good question and one with a complicated answer.

Is it really free?

There are indeed services that provide a free website. These are generally not designed for business use and are best suited to those using it as a hobby. The best examples of free websites include wordpress and blogger who provide a free and customisable blog interface.

While these sites are totally free, you lose some degree of the control over the website since you are relying on the service remaining free. Often these accounts come with adverts which can, at times, become frustrating.

While the website itself is free, you'll usually need to purchase and link up a domain name if you want a more professional service.

E-commerce on free websites is often sold as an "add-on" and the quality of these automatically generated websites will do you no favours if your aim is to rise quickly up the search engines.

Social Media Alone

With the world (and his dog) seemingly on social media websites like Facebook, it's no wonder that some companies have dispensed with having a website altogether. After all, if your primary method of communication is through LinkedIn or Twitter, why would you expect the customer to come to your website?

Although social media is incredibly important at the moment, it would be unwise to rely on it alone. A small company with a Facebook page alone will not look as credible as one with an established website elsewhere. In the same way that people are more sceptical about a company without a landline phone number, they will be less confident in using a company without an actual website.

Free Website as an add on

So what about high profile companies like Yell or 1and1 who offer a website as a quick and easy solution? These companies certainly know what they are talking about and will certainly offer a better solution than the free blog or social media only approaches.

However, remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch. What can begin as a quick and cheap way to set up your website is often tied to a much longer contract. You should also make sure you can update what you need to update as often as you want to.

Other things to be aware of are that systems like online sales and such are likely to be sold as "add-ons", you will have limited control over design (even if you have 1000s to choose from) and if "industry specific text" is provided, make sure you customise as much of it as you can.

One of the systems that search engines use to determine the relevance of a page is the text. If a website looks largely the same as another it will assume that the older is the original and can, in some cases, leave the newer one out of it's listings.

What are the benefits of a bespoke website?

A custom made (or bespoke) website is often a lot more expensive - to start with anyway. However, the benefits quickly become apparent as time goes by.

The only on going costs for a bespoke website are the domain name and website hosting, which you'll be able to switch to a new provider as/when needed. Some developers will charge a monthly or annual maintenance fee, but this will usually depend on how the site works and whether you actually need it.

Of course, with a bespoke website you are not limited to a pre-set list of designs or layouts - you get to choose. Better yet, you get to choose how the website will work, so you don't need to learn an overly complicated admin system designed for a generic user. You get one designed uniquely for you and your customers.

Probably the best benefit of a bespoke website is that of personal service and the chance to actually ask the designer why they designed it in such a way, or to ask the developer if they can make it do something new.

Spreading the cost

"That's all well and good", you might say, "but I simply don't have the money for a bespoke website". That's no problem.

A number of our customers have opted to pay in monthly instalments instead of as a lump sum. This way you can start to make money back through your new website and it can pay for itself.

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