Website Do-Over: Pay Monthly

This past week one of our strategic partners asked us to take a look at website owned by one of his clients.  The website had been built using a proprietary software platform (meaning owned by the vendor) sold to them by their web hosting vendor.

Using a Vendor’s Templates

The site was built using one of the vendor’s templates,  with the company’s name added to the site.  The website owner paid nothing or a minimal amount up front to get the website live and then paid a monthly fee after that.  The site has been live for three years.

The reason they asked us to look at the website was due to the fact that the relationship with the web hosting vendor had broken down.  The website owner was required to contact them whenever he needed something updated on the site,  he was not given access to a content management system.  This relationship had been working fine until the past few months and it was taking longer and longer to get a response time for the vendor.  The website owner is no longer happy with the arrangement and is looking for a change.

What if I Want to Change Vendors?

The problem is,  if the website owner stops doing business with the web hosting vendor, meaning stops paying the monthly fee, the website goes down and he can’t take it to another vendor to help him out.

I get calls often from business owners in this situation, where they are on a monthly relationship with a website,  then when service deteriorates, they want to move but can’t.  Usually website owners get in this mess because, in the beginning, they think they will save money by not paying up front to have a website developed.

In my example above, the website was live for 3 years.  The website owner was paying $320 per month for three years to have this website.   He paid $11,520 for a site made from canned templates, without a content management system and 3 years later, he doesn’t own anything, the web hosting vendor owns his site.

If you are in a situation where you are considering this kind of a setup,  if you have to do it,  make it a temporary arrangement and then plan on having your own site developed as soon as you can.  This website owner could have had a really nice website for $11,000,  something that could have become an asset to his business.  Or maybe look at building a very small site to begin with,  something you can continue to grow, instead of being so reliant on a third-party vendor.