One way to reduce the expense of having a website built is to use a pay-by-the-month service. Fifty or a hundred dollars a month is much more palatable to a new business starting up than a few thousand dollars up front for a new site. Unfortunately, many of those services use proprietary platforms. So, while you own the content of the site-the pictures and words that you generated, you do not own the structure that the content is displayed in.
Later on, if you want to stop using that service, you can take your content with you, but will still be in the position of needing a new site built from scratch.
“The Brick House” Analogy
One analogy is that the website is like a house, and in the case of a proprietary platform, the only way to move the house is one-brick-at-a-time and rebuild on a new site.
With a platform like WordPress, the house can be loaded onto a trailer and moved across town and set on a new foundation. Often, changing control of a WordPress site is even simpler than that. Just change the keys and stay right where you are.
Making matters worse, some of these services include content that is syndicated across hundreds, if not thousands, of other websites in the same industry. So even if the quality of that content is adequate, your site receives no benefit and may even be penalized in search results for having duplicate content. Plus, with a monthly fee that never ends, you may end up paying far more than you would have if you paid for a site upfront.
Unfortunately, many of these services go to great lengths to convince prospective customers that they are something they’re not.
Here are a few key questions to ask any company that provides websites:
1) Do I truly own the site? If I wanted to, could I take a complete backup of the site to any web designer and have them re-load the site onto a new host?
2) Who provides the content?
3) If the company is providing content, is it used on any other websites?
If you’re thinking about a new website, give us a call and let’s talk through your options. We’re committed to helping people and companies find the best solution for them.