The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly on Packaged Web Sites

t seems like a good idea to buy a pre-packaged Web site where all you have to do is plug in your name and phone number and it s up and running. The Web company supplies all of the forms, templates, and sometimes even news feeds for your Web site. But is it effective? Do you get business from this Web site? Does it form a favorable impression with clients? In this article, we ll list the advantages and disadvantages of packaged Web sites.

Experience Makes the Difference

The biggest difference between buying a pre-packaged Web site and building one from scratch with a Webmaster is the amount of experience you need. You don t need to know HTML code, but you do need to know online marketing. You ll need to know how to craft your message online in order to be most effective in the marketplace. Five to ten years ago, it may not have been necessary to market CPA and bookkeeping firms. Today, however, the competition is more intense. Now many medium-sized firms even have marketing departments with multiple employees to work on the messages that go out to the marketplace. Unlike traditional marketing, the online message is a bit different: You only have about eight seconds before a Web visitor decides if they want to find out more about you - or leave your site forever. You have to get the message right the first time or you will lose business. Therefore, when you buy a packaged Web site, you must have this expertise in-house or hire it additionally when you fill in the site forms.
Speed of Installation

The biggest advantage of a packaged Web site is how fast you can launch it. You could get your site up in a matter of hours if you have your content ready. This is a tremendous benefit to launching a site. On the other hand, I see hundreds of pre-packaged sites that are live but have never been completed. You click on a menu link and nothing is there except the page title. This always confounds me when I see this. Would you send out an incomplete proposal to one client? Never. Then why would you send out an incomplete Web site to millions of viewers? You re sending the message that you can t get a project finished. As long as you complete the launch of your pre-packaged site, you will benefit from the speed of getting your message to the marketplace.
Search Engine Optimization

Will prospects be able to find your pre-packaged site in a search engine? It depends on a couple of things. Again, in-house experience with search engine optimization, the process of getting your site to rank high in a relevant search, is necessary if you want your packaged Web site to pay off. Does the package allow you to adjust HTML tags that are critical to search engine placement? Do you have the expertise to know how to adjust these tags? For example, the title tag is one of the most important tags for search engine placement. You, your staff, or someone you hire should work on this feature of your Web site for maximum effectiveness.

Whether you buy a pre-packaged Web site or build one, be sure to update it so that the site does not go stale. Web packages that have a news feed have an advantage here. However, make sure the news feeds or newsletters are relevant to your customers and that they reflect the viewpoint of your company.
Buy vs. Build

In 1998, I used to tell clients that they could build their own Web site, but soon after that I changed my advice. Eight years later, I may change my advice again. The online marketing world is now so complex that I m not sure a pre-packaged Web site is the best way to go for some situations. It gives practitioners a false sense of security thinking that putting up the Web site is all they have to do. It really depends on you. As long as you can supplement your pre-packaged Web site with great online marketing skills and search engine optimization assistance, whether it s in-house or hired, your Web site will be on its way to generating new business for your company. (by Sandi Smith, CPA, sourcing by GO-Globe - Website design Dubai based company)

This entry was posted on Friday, February 27th, 2009 at 11:44 am and is filed under HomeWeb applicationWeb design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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