Start As You Mean To Continue – Part 3 – Websites

Are free website builders offering a false economy?

After exploring your email addresses in part one and business telecoms systems in part two of these guides, in the third article, we turn our attention to website services, more specifically companies offering free website builders. The majority of us have seen an advertisement for companies offering people a ‘simple’ way to get their business online for next to nothing and in no time at all. In principle, these companies look like a god-send, but when you start to delve deeper into them, you can see why genuine website designers and developers are not worried in the slightest. Here, we will explore why free website builders offer a false sense of value for money.

Website development companies can charge hundreds, but website builders offer an affordable solution so what’s the catch?

Way back when responsive website design was not an issue, and you could count the number of competent website developers on one hand, prices were astronomical. In reality, it was simple supply and demand. There were thousands of companies that wanted to be on the Internet, and just a small number of developers who could do that work for them. In 2013, this isn't the case, but there are a number of people that still think developers charge too much for their work.

When website builders first came to light, people were taken aback with the monthly prices of £20 or £30, because they thought that developers still charged a fortune for a project that would take a long time. However, we've already highlighted the reason why these website builders are not so great. What people forget is that while the prices may seem low initially they will be paying this monthly retainer until they choose to take their site down.

It’s important to note that there is no way to “migrate” your site to another, cheaper host. To put all of this into perspective, one of the main website builders 1 and 1 offers their “MyWebsite” package for just £19.99+VAT a month with a 12-month minimum contract. Now, say you sign up to develop your site that’s £240 you are contracted to pay right away. Then, what happens when that year passes? Are you just going to want to pull the website down after the year is up? No, of course you are not, why would you? While you may have been removed from the clasp of the yearly contract, stopping your payment is just going to get your site removed. So, you choose to continue for the foreseeable future, that’s £240 every year (assuming prices stay the same.) At some point you will get fed up of paying £240 a year for a website, and it will be taken down. All you've essentially done is rented your website. How do I know all of this? I made the same mistake when SpecTronics was just a baby and our first website was an expensive disaster!

At SpecTronics, our prices for your development start at £199 with hosting from just £2.99 a month. So, your development could cost £199 + £35.88 = £234.88 for the first year with every subsequent year at £35.88 (hosting costs) it really is as simple as that.

The website building sites will try to make you believe that their main selling point is their low monthly cost, but as we've just seen they do not actually offer good value for money. Their next selling point that they try to push is that they are easy to use. However, the reality is that because of CMS platforms like WordPress and Joomla, users with limited experience can manage their own professionally developed website without any hassle. Therefore, as you can see from this article, website builders really are not all they were made out to be.

Posted by Ben Spector on 19-Mar-2013 10:00:10
Ben Spector
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Topics: News, Series: Start As You Mean To Continue

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