I just got an email from a therapist who went with a company for a website and isn’t too happy so far. I had never heard of the company but a simple Google search showed it made some “top worst companies” list. I should stop being “shocked” and amazed at what I find out there. This company charges a set up fee (though has a 0 down sale right now), presents you a website… that is fine so far. Then charges you $80 a month with LIMITED pages and NO ABILITY to update your own website…. so the TIME they give you on any future edits is limited by a certain number of minutes. AH!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nobody should be paying $80/month without access to updating their own website. Period.
Let’s break this down, folks.
A set up fee should get you something. In my website solution, it gets you *ME* working on getting a website for you (out of 100 options with zillions of photos and options for layouts). You also get me doing all the work setting it up AND training you directly.
If you have NO set up fee it means you have a canned, limited template. Again, this is fine. Just know that it means you select from a range of templates and you’re fairly on your own, though hopefully you have an 800 number you can call for assistance along the way. Therapy Sites (see banner deal on this blog!) has no set up fees because they believe you’ll be so happy you’ll stay with them. Thus, they lower the barrier to skittish therapists signing on, and hopefully get more sales in the long run. Plus they clearly worked their butts off to make their templates as idiot proof as humanly possible, thus lowering the NEED for therapists to be on the phone for hours with someone… and thus lowering their business expenses overall. Therapists get no set up fee and the business isn’t hiring pricey employees to be on the phone all day. [Self disclosure per a random comment to this blog, if you go with Therapy Sites they’ll give you a free month ($59 value) and I get a small commission for helping them advertise. I have three options for websites I believe in (a $99 flat fee to get a website design we hired a webmaster for and I get nothing for that, therapy sites solution or my own website solution (and a good chunk of that set up fee goes to the company who runs the website.) My goal is to stay as an educator, not talk about any one solution as THE only option. I could set up being an advertiser for other website options but I can’t endorse most out there, so I won’t. However, I’m always open to recommending websites I can endorse.]
Editing your own website. This part is easy, even if I’ve confused you above. If you pay a MONTHLY HOSTING FEE you should be able to EDIT YOUR OWN WEBSITE. This fee is going to be $50+/month for a robust website with unlimited pages and a lot of features. Any fee under $50 is going to be restrictive in some manner. (A small cavaet, if you have a webmaster do your website, this may not apply.)
One more. Buying a website name (domain name) is now about $10.49/year with Godaddy.com (my recommended company to buy website names.) If you are charged $15, that’s fine. I don’t mind someone earning a few bucks getting a website name set up for you. The SCAMMERS out there charge $50. Or $35. And even worse than overcharging is when they buy it to OWN it directly! You should always own your own website name so that no matter what, your “identity” stays with you as you potentially move around to different website solutions.