You’ve probably seen the ads for VistaPrint Websites and 1&1 MyWebsite, or you may have heard of others such as YellSites. Companies like these claim to offer an easy way to get your business online, with the promise of high quality designs and an all inclusive service.
These services are aimed at small businesses, and for those setting up a new business or looking to redesign their old, tired website, this seems like a no brainer. You are probably pulled in by the promise that the service is ”quick and easy” with prices starting from less than £10. In these tough economic times that seems like a great deal.
Have you tried searching for reviews of these companies? Probably not. Why should you, these are big names, of course you can trust them! If you do search for opinions on these services, at first sight you’ll probably find some great reviews from bloggers. Underneath these supposedly ‘genuine’ reviews are comments from people who have experience using the pay-monthly website builders.
While some people report having some amount of short-term success with these websites, many people regret signing up in the first place and many others seem to have been conned into services and features they do not need, want or know about.
Having read the comments on some of these blogs, here are some of the main points being made:
Most professional web designers build your website into a content management system such as WordPress, which gives you the ability to log in and change content as and when you wish. So this is certainly not a new or revolutionary idea.
A web or graphic designer such as ourselves will work on your whole brand to ensure your business remains consistent across your website, social media, business stationery and advertising. This is vital if you want your customers to think of you as professional, credible and reliable.
A professional designer will research your business, look at what your competitors are doing and develop something which sets your business apart. Only a truly professional web designer will put the time and effort into this.
I mentioned earlier that people claim to have been conned or ‘set up’ by these big companies. I can understand where the claims are coming from. One of my clients uses hosting from 1&1 and has recently received two emails from 1&1 stating ”your site transfer is ready for your approval”. The email goes on to link to a website where a truly awful template has been set up in my clients name, with my clients details, pre-defined content and stock photos.
The email requests content be sent to a 1&1 email address. My client hasn’t requested this service as he is quite happy with his bespoke designed website!
Unfortunately it seems a lot of people are sucked in by these apparent cons and seemingly amazing list of features, a low price or even claims of free websites. Most people realise weeks or years later that their website is not bringing in new business, and they’ve come to the conclusion that a website is a complete waste of money.
Successful websites take time, patience and hard work. It most certainly cannot be done with a few clicks.
The other argument is that a professional web designer costs too much money for a small or new business. This is simply bad business sense. If you’re a builder, you have to invest in the tools you need to get the job done. It’s a necessary short-term expense which will hopefully pay off in time. It’s the same with a website. If you value and care about your business, a decent, professional web designer will put the time and effort into working with you and building a bespoke website which actually works.
Small businesses don’t need to spend thousands on a website designed by a big design agency. There are many professional web designers running small businesses themselves, like us! The short-term cost of getting a professionally designed website is often much lower than paying a monthly fee over so many years for what is effectively a bad website.