maximum value for the least out of pocket expense requires one thing. Self-sufficiency. Going a self-sufficient route would most likely cost less than $15 annually for standard domain registration plus an additional $15 per month for hosting. That comes to a whopping $30 max out of pocket to launch your site on day one. Obviously a self-sufficient course has the lowest initial overhead to launch. And if you stick the the five steps I’ve outlined your professional looking site can be online in under an hour.
So why do companies charge $997 a month, $597 a month, $497 a month, or even $297 a month in perpetuity just to put sites online? Because they can. They rely on you not knowing any better. Seriously. That’s the reason.
You see, there was a time eons ago where getting a site online required knowing how to write code. Those days are dying out. Almost entirely. Systems like WordPress eliminate the need for coding. Mostly. However many online design firms and internet marketing companies still charge as if they are creating custom sites by hand. It’s all smoke and mirrors.
There is rarely a situation requiring small businesses to indefinitely spend hundreds of dollars month-after-month to get and keep a site online. Once the hard costs (ie human resource costs) of creating a site are covered the true costs from then on are often less than $15 per month. In some cases less than $10 a month. Anything more than that is pure profit–for the design team. This is of course assuming they are charging just to keep your site online apart from any true ongoing marketing activities.
* Obviously a larger budget beyond these basic hosting services is required for sites involving complex automation, high-traffic, custom design, and authentic outsourced marketing and management. More robust servers and ongoing custom coding are always required in those cases. However most small businesses are not in need of such extended services. Especially if competing primarily in local markets. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim of highway robbery on the information highway. Only invest in services that meet your circumstances and objectives.
The greatest pain…
There is one more item of concern you must be aware of when selecting a web design firm. This is what is referred to as the pain of disconnect.
What I mean is watch out for companies that put processes in place that make it impossible under normal circumstances for you to stop doing business with them. Sure, you can stop paying but your site goes offline and everything within your site goes offline too. Or worse, a number of companies make more money by selling established sites to your competitors or to lead generating companies when you don’t continue paying for your site than they make by creating the site for you.
So, when selecting a web marketing team ask: