When it comes to your home or transportation, renting can be advantageous. But for your website, it’s not a good idea. Here I will explain what website renting is, and tell you why it’s bad for your business.
Owning vs. Renting
Owning your own home is said to be the American dream. But depending on your particular circumstances, renting can have it’s advantages also. Maybe you’re saving up for that big down payment on a house, or you’re not sure of the area you want to settle in. In those cases, renting is a good option.
This goes for cars also, renting (they call it “leasing”) a vehicle can give you the opportunity to swap out rides every few years without the hassle of trading in or selling your old one.
What Is Renting A Website?
When you use one of the do-it-yourself website services, like Squarespace, Wix, etc., you are essentially renting a website. As long as you pay the monthly or yearly fee, you get to keep it, but stop, and all you have created is gone. Sure, if you have a blog (and if you have a business, you need a blog. I explain why here), then you usually have the option of exporting the text of your posts, but that’s about it. You cannot export the styling of the post, nor the other pages of your site. If you want to move to another host, you have to start all over again.
The one exception is WordPress.com, but they are the worst of the DIY services. Check out WordPress vs. WordPress. What’s the Difference?
The cost of DIY, vs. DIFM
The do-it-yourself services charge way too much for you you to have the privilege of doing all the work. For example, the business plan at Squarespace is $276 per year. That’s $1,380 over a 5-year period. If you have an ecommerce site, the cost goes up to $324 ($1,620). Wix is a little bit cheaper, from $264 ($1,320) to $324 ($1,620). Both have low end and top of the line plans, but the middle two is where most people’s needs land.
A professional DIFM (do-it-for-me) site can range from a one time cost of a few hundred dollars, up to whatever your needs are (and budget can afford). You control what you want to pay, and you can always add on in the future. Hosting for the site is usually less than $100 / year (we charge $8 per month, or $79 per year, and that includes email).
If you choose to have someone perform regular maintenance on your site, that will be extra, but it is not a requirement.
As an example, a 1-page site built from our in-house created templates is $295 ($99 per additional page). And a maintenance plan is $349 per year, which includes hosting. That puts a 5 year cost at $1,944. That’s not much more than the do-it-yourself services, and you don’t have to do it yourself. Plus if you need minor changes during the year, those are included with maintenance.
A domain name will run between $12 – $16 per year, depending on who you register it with. We use Google Domains, they are $12 and include services that others charge extra for.
Most of the DIY services offer a free domain name, but just for the first year.
Amateur vs. Professional
And let’s be honest, you may be an expert at what you do, but you’re not an expert at everything. Just because someone is an excellent plumber, doesn’t mean they can build a decent web page. Just like I am an professional web designer, but that doesn’t mean I can install my own water heater.
If I needed a new water heater, I would pay someone to do it for me.
And then there’s SEO. If you don’t know what SEO is, it stands for Search Engine Optimization. (see my article on All About SEO). And if you don’t know what SEO is, or don’t know much about it, then you won’t be able to implement it on your site. And if your SEO is bad, people won’t find your site. And if they can’t find your site, they won’t find you.
We include basic SEO with all our sites at no extra charge.
Renting vs. Owning
Like I stated above, with the DIY services, you only have the use of the site as long as you pay them. With a professional design company, you retain all ownership of the files that make up your site. With our maintenance plan we back them up monthly and send you a copy. You can move them to another host if you’re not happy where you are now. It’s even possible to host them locally on your machine, but I’m not a network expert, so you’ll have to figure that one out on your own.
So if you’re considering a DIY service, look at what a professional web designer can do. You’ll be surprised that you will be better off than doing it yourself.