I try not to watch too much TV in my free time (when I have free time), but I’ve noticed that when the TV is on I’ve seen three or four companies advertising all in one online marketing solutions for small businesses. Surprisingly I was glad to see this, after all I want our business to do well but I want small businesses to be able to easily access the online market and have high quality websites with high search engine rankings. Then the end of the commercial came with the pricing, and I was shocked to see prices ranging from $10 per month up to $50 per month. I nearly fell out of my chair, so I had to do a little research into these companies.
Low Cost, Volume Website/SEO Companies
The old saying holds true — you get what you pay for! It turns out your custom website is of course just some template that they plug you into, and while you can customize some elements, many of the major elements of the website leave you within the theme. Additionally you’re stuck with them — no switching web designers, switching web hosts, or using 3rd party software on your website. There’s quite a bit of rules and restrictions that fall into these types of websites, and quite honestly for a little bit more we could design you a truly custom website and you have full control over.
The second problem I have is with their “submit you to the major search engines” statements. They are simply taking advantage of small business owners who think SEO is just a matter of submitting you to search engines. I just received a call the other day from someone asking me why we don’t just submit their site to the search engines like the other companies do and why we are charging $XXX per month for our SEO services. Quite frankly what they do and what any company does at under $100 per month is NOT SEO, it’s just either 1) submitting your site to search engines which is quite frankly useless or 2) using spam techniques to try and manipulate rankings which quite frankly doesn’t work anymore.
Sorry Small Business Owners…
I’m sorry to say that these services simply aren’t worth it for the vast majority of small business owners. This is yet another attempt by companies to walk in a gray area and advertise their services in what, in my opinion, is a not so ethical manner. I would personally be shocked if any of these websites ranked well in search engine results after using their “search engine submission” services and unfortunately there are so many limitations with their websites that I just don’t think its worth the cost. If you’re going to do something, do it right, and go with a quality online marketing business, most likely another small business just like yourself, and get what you’re looking for. Yes, it’s going to cost a little bit more, but you shouldn’t be so worried about the initial cost but rather be focused on the long term ROI of the website/online marketing project which will almost always be higher when you’re using a quality, reputable company and offers custom solutions to their clients.