Free Advice

Here’s the deal. There are plenty of options when it comes to internet marketing and web site designs. It seems every time I turn on my computer I stumble across someone else offering me a low cost no cost web site solution. I know you have seen them too. I’m going to run down some of these options and give my advice – as an expert and as a small business owner myself.

  • The Low Cost/No Cost Ready Made Web Site – There is no such thing as a free lunch. There is always a catch. If you are building a web site to represent your business you need to spend the money and time going to an expert. Here’s a quick list of issues I have with this option. You don’t own what you design, there are always limits, and there are always hidden fees. Even though you think it looks awesome – just like a box cake everyone can tell its ready made.
  • Overseas Custom – I’ve known marketing professionals that have hired out overseas talent. This can be a legitimate option for a marketing firm in a pinch. But, for a company looking for a cheaper web site option there are some issues. Customer service can be a big problem due to the time difference and the language barrier. And, speaking from personal experience, the workmanship is often shoddy.
  • Cheap Custom – Whether its your nephew, or the “experts” at the company you registered your domain with (this is everyone these days), this option has some issues as well. First, what is their experience. Do they have a list of satisfied customers? What are their terms? Often times, cheap custom can cost you a lot in the long run. They like to nickel and dime their customers after they have them on the hook. They charge a low up front fee, and a reasonable monthly fee. But, in the fine print, they own your web site and they will charge you every time you sneeze.
  • The Out of Town experts – They call you up with a slick presentation. The phone sales guy has a voice like silk. They have a decent price and they will do everything you want and more. And, chances are they know what they are doing. Here’s the issues – the main issue is – customer service. We are the out of town experts for some of our customers. But, if our customers need it, we will drive to where they are and sit down and address their issues. If your expert won’t do the same, then you shouldn’t hire them. One more issue – it could be a scam. ¬†Ask for references.

When it comes to marketing, whether its internet marketing or a television advertising campaign, you should see the money you are spending as an investment in your business. Like any investment, you should expect a return. Like any investment, you want someone managing your investment that knows what they are doing. If someone can guarantee your investment then the odds are pretty good not only do they know what they are doing, but you are likely to see a good return on your investment.