Buyer beware; you get what you pay for

Over the last few years there has been a big surge of ads on both TV and online which offer free or very low-cost 'build it yourself' web sites.

Among the providers of these are some very large companies like GoDaddy, Intuit (Quickbooks) and Google, although several companies are simply reselling other people's template services.

For a startup or small business, these offers sound ideal - however, as with any advertising, it is all about image, and customers get what they pay for. The bottom line is that these companies are not in business to give things away, but to make money, and they achieve this in one of three ways:

1. Forced advertising, where they place banner ads on a site and collect all the revenue for themselves.

2. Simple high volume bulk sales - they make money selling a lot of something cheaply, or

3. The nickel and dime approach, which tacks on additional charges for even the smallest things, such as to remove banners and popups, or for additional features or upgrades.

Whichever method, the fact remains that the service being offered is very basic, with little more capability than to put some pictures and text on a few pages. Some companies might want more functionality, such as having a blog, uploading video to their site, linking to Facebook or managing an email newsletter. In this case, the choice is to either use other sites, such as using YouTube and Blogger, or to pay extra for that service 'level,' if there is one.

Because of the hassle of having to update things in several places, most people just pay the extra fees.

I make no secret of the fact that I feel that it is
unfair to expect a small business, which needs to conserve
money, to pay sometimes thousands of dollars a month
in the hope that they may get visitors.

One of the most important, and most expensive, things these sites lack is the ability to achieve high search engine results. As any site owner knows, just having a web site is not enough; people must find it for it to be of any use.

One client came to us after having one of the free sites for around 18 months. As far as they knew, they hadn't had any calls from it, and could not be found through web searches at all. When a site can't be found, once again the owner has to make a choice if they are to get visitors, but only a few options remain in these cases.

One option is to find a professional web development company and have a new site created. Although this means spending more money and sometimes starting over, this really is the best long-term option.

If you have put many months or even years of work into your site, this is a hard decision, and before you take that risk you need to be sure that the company can get you seen, and you're not just wasting more money. Our site contains logs from our sites as proof, and we welcome prospective clients to call current clients. Even then, sometimes the thought of having to rework a site is a hassle, and the business decides to stay with their budget site. This leaves only one other choice, to pay every month for 'Pay-per-Click' advertising, such as Google Adwords.

I make no secret of the fact that I feel that it is unfair to expect a small business, which needs to conserve money, to pay sometimes thousands of dollars a month in the hope that they may get visitors. Also, getting hits doesn't mean any sales or calls if the site gives a low budget impression.

For anyone who has a site which is not bringing them the results they need, now is the perfect time to consider our WebUpdate systems, which employ advanced marketing, SEO, promotion, and security features designed to give businesses the best competitive edge online.

What our clients are saying ...

Bob Fino - Owner Fun Inflatables

Starting any new venture, you want to be sure you do it with the right people. After researching web companies I was lead to Terry Young at Internet Marketing and Design. After our first meeting, I was convinced he was the person I wanted to team up with to build our new web site.

Working with Terry has been very easy, educational and a great value. His communication and knowledge of a successful web site are excellent. I feel very comfortable and pleased with the decision I made on going with Internet Marketing and Design for building the Fun Inflatables web site.

- Bob Fino, Owner

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