Tuesday, 6 June 2017

What's the point?

Are you looking for a low cost, or possibly free website? You should probably head over to 1and1 or Wix and get a free website that looks like everyone else’s.

There’s nothing wrong with having a website that looks like millions of others. It just looks as though you don’t really care, which is fine. The problem is that soon all websites are going to look the same, so it’s going to become more and more difficult to stand out in the crowd. So what then?

At some point, probably when someone realises that we’re not actually in a recession or that Brexit isn’t going to push us back into the Dark Ages, some bright spark is going to wake up and realise it’s probably a good idea to invest a little bit of money and get a website that looks a bit different and can be tailored to their exact needs, you know, like was the case a few years ago.

The problem then is going to come when they try to move their site away from one of these free web-in-a-box companies. They’ll soon find this isn’t possible because those companies probably hold intellectual copyright over everything. They might be able to move their domain name away by jumping through hundreds of hoops and paying a thousand million dollars to release it and, good luck if you think there is any sort of technical support from these companies. Even if there is a human at the end of a phone line, they’ll probably charge you another thousand million dollars per minute to give you any sort of coherent advice.

The other problem with these free template sites is that they’re actually very limited. Sure they look nice, and there are very functional plugins that allow your website to sell things online, integrate with Facetube and Youbook and probably wipe your backside, plus you’ll get third party companies offering to do this, that and the other for you for practically nothing but the reality is that doing very simple things almost certainly won’t be possible.

Also, I’ve used the administration of some of these web-in-a-box templates before and they are about as intuitive as a health and safety document. So chances are if you aren’t technically minded or simply have the IQ of a potato you’ll need to pay someone to update the site for you anyway, which kind of negates the point of having a content management system in the first place.

The other option is to get a proper web “design” company to install a Wordpress theme for you, do all the technical stuff (like click a few buttons to install pre-built plugins) and host it for you. The problem there is that they’ll charge you the same amount as a real web design company would for building a proper website which, again, negates the point of going down that route in the first place.

Still, if a Wordpress site is what you want, we can now do that too. I need to go and wash my hands now; I feel so dirty.