You can have a website in a day without knowing anything. That statement makes me want to laugh, then cry, then throw things. I know how silly it is. I know how sad it is that so many new site owners are easily lured by those who prey on the cheap-and-easy mentality. And, I know how much more it’s going to cost those site owners to improve their situation. Let me show you how to avoid getting ripped off in the first place as a new site owner.
Bait and Hook
You’ve heard about the old sales tactic of bait and switch, where a store ad lures you in to buy something of high value at low cost. But when you arrive at the store they’re all sold out and want to sell you a higher priced model.
Folks who prey on new site owners use a similar tactic called bait and hook that traps you into a bad decision. Here are a few of the lines some folks dangle as bait:
- Build your own site without knowing anything about design or coding.
- Buy this all-in-one package and get domain, hosting, and a great looking theme.
- This site design comes with one hour of training.
What You Don’t Know Will Bite You
Let’s talk about the hooks hidden in these worms. First, let’s look at the idea that you don’t have to know anything to build a site. It’s actually true. There are multiple DIY platforms available that will let you piece together a site and some content in just a few hours.
There are also kit cars and kit houses. Would you drive or live in one that you built? But, you’re happy putting your online business in a DIY theme? Think about that for a moment.
Sites that Convert
There are folks who spend years getting degrees and experience in website development, online marketing, writing ad copy, and SEO. And, they built sites for your competitors. Those sites look and convert like pro sites because they were built by pros. How well do you think a DIY site with slap-together copy and all the wrong things in all the wrong places is going to look and convert compared to those? Don’t think for a moment that viewers don’t see those sites side-by-side either.
You don’t Own the Look
Here’s the second hook in DIY. You can’t take it with you. When you build your site on a proprietary format, and then realize that you want a self-hosted WordPress.org site on another host, you may not be able to take much of your existing site with you. If your branding is tied up in that proprietary design, you’ll pay quite a bit to get another theme made in its image.
Beware the All-In-One Package
Most new site owners spend the majority of their time hunting for the perfect theme. After a few weeks of being dazzled then dazed, they’re exhausted and confused enough to pay someone to build a custom site and handle all the details for them.
There are a lot of good designers who supplement their income by reselling hosting. Most are decent, honest folks. But, there are still far too many shady people who will hold your site hostage if you try to leave them.
Here’s the litmus test. Ask your designer for a full site security document with all of the log in information to your hosting and domain accounts. If they don’t agree to provide you with it, run. If you really want to stick with this designer, make arrangements to get your own domain and hosting accounts and then have them simply upload your theme for you with all the plugins and such you’ll need. Their price for the design will likely go up, but trust me, you’re better off in the long run having your own accounts.
Here’s the tragedy. If you do an all-in-one deal, you won’t be able to leave without asking the designer to give you permission and the backup of your full site. If they refuse, they could take your entire site down because legally they own the copyright to it, and to your domain.
Think this won’t happen to you?
Want a list of my clients who thought the same thing about their first designer?
One Hour of Training Isn’t Enough
My Scratch to Published classes include at least six hours of live training. The full Video Tutorial Library has over ten hours of training to extend my client’s knowledge of advanced options and to backup what they learned in the class. My clients know exactly what they are doing and why. And, they are expertly qualified to choose themes that enhance their content instead of competing with it. Plus, the day their site launches, they hit the SEO ground running.
My clients are not just site owners. They are successful site owners because they invested in their success. Kind of blows the bottom out of the one hour training offer, huh?
Do You Have a Year to Waste?
Until this year, the majority of my clients were second site owners. They had already taken the cheap and easy route and wasted a frustrating year of getting nowhere with their sites. They went all over YouTube trying to piece together enough tutorials to manage their site only to find that too much of the information was out of date. They also fell prey to every gimmick they came across about adding a plugin, or changing their style of writing, or putting something in their sidebar that would help them succeed.
One of my site services is doing full Site Evaluation and Reviews and I see the same thing over and over. Poor site security, multiple plugins that are either useless or are fighting with each other to do the same thing or gumming up their site, an inadequate backup solution, non-existent or erratic SEO, lack of focused content, amateur looking layout and formatting, and a theme that competes with their content.
I’ve “rescued” several sites from the clutches of a stingy designer and proprietary formats, but that’s getting harder to do these days, which is why it’s even more important for you to not go the DIY or all-in-one route in the first place.
Get the Book
If you haven’t done so yet, subscribe to BlogAid News and get the free ebook, What Every Site Owner Should Know. It goes into more detail about how you can avoid costly pitfalls with site ownership.
If you’re already a site owner who wants to improve your current site situation, let’s talk. I can help, and I can also keep you from getting ripped off again.
Site Evaluation Special
Are you concerned about the health of your site? Get a 20-point Site Evaluation and Review for only $25. http://www.blogaid.net/site-evaluation-and-review-snapshot It’s a live session and you’ll see everything I’m checking. I’ll tell you what’s okay and what needs attention. At the end of our 30 minute session, you’ll have a master checklist.