It’s normal for the McDonalds cashier to ask you, “Do you want fries with that?” when you order a Big Mac. But would you be surprised if they offered you a website for $29/month with your order?
McDonalds is in the hamburger business, not the business of building websites so most people would be skeptical. The crazy thing is – due to the massive number of people purchasing food at McDonalds every day, they probably would sell some websites.
McDonalds offering websites is a ridiculous exaggeration to make a point but the same thing is happening in a much more subtle way and thousands of small business owners are falling for this marketing scheme.
There are many other companies selling websites that are not in the website industry but are much closer to it than a fast food restaurant. Since they also have a large number of customers, many of these companies take the opportunity to offer websites to their customers in order to boost sales and profits. The problem is – they aren’t often the best place to get a website and I’ll explain why.
Setting Up My New Business
I recently started a new business and did all the things typically associated with starting a business.
? Registered a business name (Legal Zoom)
? Setup a business checking account (BMO Harris Bank)
? Ordered business checks (Deluxe)
? Printed business cards (Vistaprint)
You’ll notice the companies I worked with above are not website development companies. However, with each of these transactions, I was offered website services ranging from website design to search engine optimization services.
Savvy Marketing or Ripoff?
It’s a classic upsell technique and these companies are being savvy in their marketing so I can’t fault them for it. They know that a person like me setting up a new small business probably needs a website. So they are happy to offer me a website upsell and put me on a monthly payment.
The problem is that many of the website services offered by these companies aren’t a great value and some are, quite frankly, a ripoff. Since these companies are not in the website business, you wouldn’t expect them to have great product offerings that are competitive in the website industry.
Most of these companies spend thousands of dollars to develop cookie-cutter website builders or partner with companies already offering website builders. For example, Inuit Websites is powered by the Homestead website builder. These website builders are marketed as “easy to use” but having tested many of them, I can say that many are not simple to use and some are downright frustrating. With little support or help from the company you purchased the website builder from, you may be stuck with a monthly payment and no website.
There are excellent website builders built by companies that are actually in the website business. Two examples are Yola and Weebly. They both offer drag-and-drop interfaces that are easy and even fun to use. You can build your website in a matter of hours with little time needed to learn how the website builder works.
Real Website Companies and the Fakes
I’ve yet to find a website builder from a non-website company that can compete with the services like Yola and Weebly. The website builders from the non-website companies aren’t actually built to be competitive in the industry; They are built to cater to the customer that does not do the research to find the best option but just adds a website to their order while purchasing business cards from Vistaprint or buying checks from Deluxe. So really, they are for the website buyer that does not do their due diligence.
Thousands of small businesses are starting up every month and as they go through the process of setting up the services for their business like I did, many will end up on a monthly plan for a website builder from one of these non-website companies. Don’t be one of those people unless you do you research and find that it is definitely the best option for you.
Here are the necessary steps to make sure you find a website builder that is high quality, good value for the money, and the right fit for your website…
1. Do your research. If you want to use a website builder, read the reviews before purchasing from a non-website company. You’ll probably find there are better products out there from the companies dedicated to their website products.
2. Be Skeptical. Just because a company offers you website services, doesn’t mean their services are good. Be skeptical, especially if it is being offered by a non-website company like I mention above. The marketing is aggressive in the website industry and many people are lured by offers of free websites. Look beyond the marketing at the quality of the product you are buying.
3. Ask Me and Read My Reviews. To help people find a good website builder, I review many of the most popular website builders on my website and offer personal help because everyone’s situation is different.
I don’t just write a review. I actually test the website builder by creating a website myself so I know from personal experience how easy it is to use.
If you take the time to read some of my reviews, I’d be happy to give you my personal opinion on what website builder is right for you. Since everyone’s website needs are different, there isn’t one website builder that is the best for everyone. There may be one that suits your needs better than another and I can help you find it.
4. Let a professional do it. Sometimes it’s best to let a professional create your website. Many people think it is too expensive to hire a website designer and it often is. Simple websites can cost $1,500 or more. There are affordable services out there that will build your site for you for under $500 if you just need a simple website.