I know I’m not the only this has happened to but that doesn’t make the experience any better. Those times you pay good money for something only to find (usually the time can be measured in nanoseconds) the exact same item (or better) for less, sometimes a lot less. You feel angry at the retailer but at the same time there’s a bit of guilt – you feel bad and blame yourself for not having done your homework thoroughly enough. It happened to me in Hanoi once and it ruined my entire Vietnam holiday (only kidding). But today I’m writing about websites and the cost of a setting one up. Too many businesses pay too darn much and it really annoys me … and I don’t often get annoyed.

Are you paying more for web services than you should?
Are you paying more for web services than you should?

I do a bit of website work (in addition to my part time job as a copywriter) and so have contact with a few different businesses in a range of industries and I hear the stories. Stories of thousands of dollars paid to ‘consultants’, paid to ‘professionals’, paid to anyone who knew more than they did about the wonderful, yet mysterious, world of websites. And what they got for their real, tangible dollars was a lot less real and tangible. In some ways I just felt they’d been short-changed. Websites just shouldn’t be that complex or high-priced.

I see parallels with the over-the-top consultants who fleeced big business with the wild, irrational fears of the Y2K bug. Similar things are happening these days with businesses desperate to get an edge in a web world that is getting more competitive by the day. They seem quick to buy into expensive contracts that make crazy promises of guaranteed search results and fantastic online profits – things they just can’t deliver but they feel comfortable being able to hide behind a lot of techno-babble. And there’s just no shame in charging for phony services like they’d just performed life-saving surgery for the client. As much as I’d love to slap these cotton-wearing crims silly, I know they will be around as long as people are willing to pay them stupid amounts of money.

But for the few people who do come into contact with me and need web services, I am more than happy to provide everything they need for a fraction of the cost because that’s a lot closer to what it actually costs. For example, most companies will charge a monthly hosting fee for your website. Well I have an arrangement for free hosting. A website domain name will cost you nearly $200 with the likes of Telecom or ClearNet but I can get it to you for around $30. And SEO isn’t really that hard. I know just about as much as anyone else and have learnt with some of the best, including well-known internet millionaires, and you can get it all from me for a low hourly rate. Done. And what about a content management system so you can update your own site, an online booking system, photo or video galleries, ecommerce, newsletter opt-ins or RSS feeds? Yep no problem, and mostly it’s all free, just a low hourly rate. Like I said these are all services that some outfits with out-of-control expense accounts and office pod chairs they can’t afford will charge you stupid money for. I’d love to set Granny and her cast iron frying pan on them.

I just wanted to get this out there because I’m tired of people getting ripped off with this sort of thing, it gives the whole industry a bad name, so this is me trying to do something about it. If you’re with me, don’t give your hard-earned pingas to these peddlars.

Websites – A whole lot cheaper than you think