There are lots of great tools available to entrepreneurs and business owners who want to get their idea or business online quickly and usually for very little upfront cost. Some of these tools include Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace and even Intuit offers a website solution. All of these tools have their target market, but how do you know if they are right for you and your business?
Let’s explore the answer by first asking a question. Do you want to lease or buy your business’ website? Undoubtedly, if you are in business you have probably invested quite a bit of time and money figuring out what you want your business to be, what you’re going to name it, what your logo looks like and what kind of products or services you are going to offer clients. For a lot of business owners that is where the “branding” stops. Some don’t even make it that far. Just Google “ugly logos” to see what I mean.
At this point many business owners are spent and they just want to get their website online fast and easy. So they turn to one of the tools above, whip out their credit cards and in less than 30 minutes they have a website up and a nice little recurring charge on their credit card for $7.99 or $12.94 or what have you that shows up every month. Maybe customers find the website, maybe they don’t, but regardless the business has jumped into the foray of the World Wide Web.
Have you stopped and thought about what would happen if you try to get rid of that nagging little charge and end the service? POOF! There goes your website and all of the content and images you may have added to it. It’s akin to leasing a car or renting a house. At the end of the day you having nothing to show for it, except those charges on your credit card.
Again, the benefit to these tools is they require very little investment upfront, but if you stop paying - everything you have worked for is gone.
The opposing scenario to this one is to hire a local web designer (yeah, I know the link is obvious) to design and build a site for you. Most web designers work on a project basis so you will need to sit down with them and discuss exactly what you are looking to achieve with your website. Then there is usually some percentage of the total project cost due as a down payment. From there, they set about designing and building a website tailored specifically to your business needs. Once the project is done, you pay them the remainder of the project cost and you are done (except for your yearly domain and hosting costs). Think of this scenario as buying your website. Once it is done, you own it. If you want to take it to a new host or completely change it later you are free to do so because it is all yours.
The benefit here is you now own your website - all of the pictures, content and code behind it belong to the business. I encourage clients to think of their website as intellectual property that belongs to them and the business. As you can see in this case there was a required upfront investment and then a final one time payment due upon completion, but you are not leasing anything from the designer.
Both of the scenarios have their benefits and their drawbacks. I encourage you to put some serious thought into your website before you choose the one that is right for you.