The Truth about "free" or "discount" sites and Hosts, or sites that offer "one-size fits all" designs....
We have seen a new trend on the internet, for "free" or "discount" type web sites that come in several flavors, as well as 'Bargain Hosting'. There are a few facts you should know about how these sites compare to a custom designed web site:
- Discount Hosts rarely stay in business. This is True! We have personally monitored much of the so-called 'competiton'. 2 years ago, we bookmarked over 100 sites that offered free or low priced hosting. We recently (March 5th, 2003) checked on all these so called 'bargain' Hosts, and not a single one was still in business! Even we were shocked to find this, but it's absolutely true.
- Free web sites that you maintain yourself are easy. This is false, unless you happen to have several experts on hand that are knowledgeable on HTML code, graphic design and editing, and the internet itself. The software you will need to manage a site could itself cost $1000's of dollars as well.
- Discount sites that offer tons of add-ons are a great deal. False again. One of the prime rules of marketing on the internet is to provide your caller with enough content on your site to get your message across, or to support your business. However, too much content is a bad thing, and will just confuse a caller and drive them away!
- There are sites that can list my products, along with similar products that I too can resell. Sounds good at first, but the sites we have seen that offer this, demand you list competitors items, even if you carry the same inventory! Does you no good to sell a competitors goods when you cannot sell your own.
- Free sites are not found as easily in the search engines. Our research shows that unlike our custom sites, most "free" or "discount" sites are harder to find, and therefore your business suffers!
- Free sites give you plenty of design choices. False as well. Sure, they offer choices of buttons, colors, and even some layouts or the addition of your own images. But they are still all a "cookie-cutter" rendition of the site, with pre-fab everything. Even simple things like opening a page in a new window is usually not available. Bottom line, if you want your site YOUR way, nothing beats a custom web site.
- What's the catch? There always has to be one with a free or cheap site. Nothing in life is free, and there are ways that the people that offer things like this make money. Imbedded ads, mandatory links, hidden fees, and other additional items you may not want are just some of the things that may be included with one of these sites.
- There is no "hands-on" responsibility with one of these types of sites. Here at UltiHost, we check spelling, adjust all the graphics, and offer suggestions or even contact our customers with questions regarding what they want placed on their web site. We do this to make sure your site is correct, and as professional as possible. With a free, or discount "one size fits all" type of site, there is no support like this, and it leaves the door open for mistakes. This is not to say nothing ever slips by us - it does - we're human after all. But at least we HAVE a human side that's involved and monitoring your site at all times. Pre-fabricated sites that have automated uploads and such do not.
There are many other reasons NOT to use one of these sites. We have only touched the surface here, to give you an idea of some of the pitfalls of "getting something for nothing".
We hope you will carefully examine your options before choosing a site like the ones mentioned above. Feel free to discuss it all with us - we will even research the "competition" if you like (We don't really consider them competition, since we end up working with many clients that start out with "discount" sites, and get no where with them), and give you an honest opinion (If we think you have found a good deal, we'll say so. We're not about to lie and promise things to our clients that we cannot produce!).