How they take you on

Websites.  A booming business.

Websites bring you business.  But most of all they bring business to the people who construct, update and maintain them.

Let’s say you run a holiday place at the sea.  Now, your speciality is to run the place, make the guests comfortable, make sure everything is in place and well-kept, etc.  You’re not in the web business.

Someone suggests that you get a website, and you agree.  After all people would like to book online.  It ought to bring some business.  (Never mind that the current telephone booking system works perfectly and you have a full house every season.)

This clever whizz-kid then proceeds to design you a website for – are you sitting down – R12 000.  You grind your teeth and pay it.  It’s more than you anticipated.  The whizz proceeds to upload the 5-page wonder site for you, and tells you it’s R500 for domain registration and R600 per month for maintenance.  Your guesthouse is doing really well so you heave a sigh and add this to your list of expenses, and faithfully pay it every month (and the domain renewal yearly) for the next 5 years.  It is after all a tax deductible as it is a business expense.

(Let’s not go into what tax deductibles actually save you – less than you think!)

Ok, I’m going to flake this whole thing open.

The whizz put up a 5-page wonder (or even a 3-page site) in Yoomla, Wix or WordPress.  Something you could have done yourself for free, with a bit of experimenting.  The whizz probably does lots of these and wouldn’t have taken more than one, maybe two hours to put up your site – if he’s inexperienced.  In fact an experienced programmer can do this in 2 – 3 hours in source code, and takes 15 – 20 minutes in drag-and-drop, most of which time is spent resizing your logo in GIMP.

Is it worth R12 000?

Then he paid for the domain.  Ok.  A domain is not that expensive.  The priciest of the lot, the .com, cost around R100.  Not R500 as he led you to believe.  A 400% markup.  Easy money.

To have the site hosted:  A holiday place would need a contact page and potentially a booking form.  You wouldn’t want to pay online, so e-commerce is not indicated.  Neither would you need logins and accounts – your office handles this paperwork, don’t throw it on the web.  So a simple hosting plan is good enough.

There are even places that host for free, as long as you allow their adwords on your site.  But:  Don’t do that, it cheapens a site.  If you are running a real business (as you are with that holiday place), do pay the R30 per month it costs to stay online.

R30.  Not R600.  That is a 1900% mark-up.  Every month; for the 3 minutes it takes to pay one more account of R30.

As you see, it’s ridiculous.


What it costs (if you do it yourself)

What the kid charges

How long it took him (“labour”)

Website design Time and frustration in Yoomla (because you’re inexperienced) R12 000 15 minutes in Yoomla or Wix2-3 hours in hard-code (but the fewest do that)
Domain name R100 for .com R500 5 min
Web hosting (monthly) R30 for simple site R600 5min/month

As you see, you’ve been had.

Ask yourself too:  Your old system worked great – with telephone bookings.  How much extra business did the website bring you?  Did it even pay for itself?

Caveat emptor!

The time and frustration may make it worth your while to pay someone to do it for you after all.  The best would be to pay a graphic designer, and specifically one who will charge you per hour.

1) They have an amazing eye for what looks nice

2) They tend to have experience and will be using Yoomla or Wix anyway.  But your product will truly look good; you’re paying for the professional eye.

3) It’s not their main income so they are unlikely to want to rip you off on maintenance and hosting.  They are more likely to get the “job” over with and then hand the reigns to you, so that you pay for your own hosting and domain name.

Of course, if you have a business in which your site will need to be updated regularly (such as for instance, a shoe shop), you’ll be best off if you find a young designer who is willing to train you to do the updates yourself.  Uploading images and price tags is time-consuming, frustrating admin work and few web designers want it – unless they’ll be charging you R2000 for every update.

Don’t be afraid, it isn’t more complicated than learning to blog!

7 thoughts on “How they take you on

    • LOL Thanks, M, but I am a web geek myself and don’t want a make-over: I want to be in control of my own site. 🙂

      The post relates to something that happened to a relative, until she had the good sense to give the job to my hubbs.

      By now he asks me about the latest CSS etc.

  1. People will pay that kind of money, only wincing a bit. Then they write something and want it edited and/or formatted – and expect that to be done for undersized peanuts. Or, they think they don’t need it. (Why am I telling YOU this? You have the whole collection of T-shirts!) 🙂

    • 🙂 We had such clients. Paid for a 5-page wonder (which we do real cheap) but expected the whole full course of e-commerce. Sorry bud.

      Most people actually don’t need it. Most businesses could get by fine with a self-made page in WordPress; and the up side is that they can style it exactly the way they want it. It’s only when one starts deriving a lot of one’s customers internationally or online, or if one wants to make online sales, that it becomes important.

      Btw have a peek at our studio site! 😀 Very proud of that one, recently upgraded.
      Music Studio

  2. Such sound advice. Many people are afraid of trying it for themselves, so they go to a ‘professional’ who is better at cgarging than creating siomething with interest and ease of use.

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