[dropcap2]T[/dropcap2]he question here is, do you use Intuit Website Building Software or to hire a web designer to set-up WordPress? To start, you must have some obvious business goals in mind. Like the Intuit commercial most of us have seen before, it starts out with the frustrated candy store owners pulling their hair out over trying to get more business by creating their own website. They give up doing it on their own and go to Intuit Websites and voilà! They have a great website and business is booming. But is this really the case? As a business owner, your obvious goal is to drive up business by creating an online presence. You want a professional looking website that will make your business look credible and trustworthy. You also don’t want to spent $5000 in the process. The site needs to be editable anytime, anywhere and the user interface needs to be easy to use. So, like the commercial suggests, Intuit Websites is the way to go, right?
I recently had a new client come to me that has used Intuit for the past 3 years. They said that they are frustrated with the look of the website, the monthly cost of the site, and they cannot be found in organic search through Google. Hold-on. This is not like the commercial. I thought, with Intuit, you pay $5.99 a month and business will be boosted? Not the case here. With this particular client that decided to go with Intuit they are paying close to $50 a month for a site that is not SEO friendly and looks like all the other Inuit websites – boxy, generic, thrown together pages. So, in order to achieve a decent site with more than 3 pages and more than 3 photos, you eventually will be spending close to $50. Intuit is a major company, and they are in the business of up selling products. They hook you in with the “free” for 1 month, then the $5.99 then eventually up to $50 per month. Oh, and if you want your site to provide a decent size blog or maybe sell a couple items as well, add $19.99 + $9.99 a month getting you up to about $80 per month. Lets say after 3 years of working with Intuit’s Gold package with eCommerce and a blog, your total cost is close to $3000. $1000 a year just to have a company website with a blog? Way to much. Let’s start over here with WordPress.
I am a web developer. I am of course on the side of having someone come to me, and pay me to have their website done rather than someone spending money with Intuit. I will be honest here, I want your business. I will also be honest about Intuit and that before I had my meeting with the unhappy client, I did see Intuit as a threat to the local web designer community. Not now. After doing my research and reading the countless forums and reviews of unhappy Intuit customers, I decided to put Inuit Websites toe to toe with a WordPress based business website. Let’s cover the cost of WordPress and look at it’s features.
First off, WordPress is free to use. It is called open source and is non-profit. Like Intuit, it has templates to choose from. Except WordPress has thousands more to choose from. A popular WordPress template site that I use regularly is ThemeForest. They have many great templates for around $40 from designers all over the world and these designers make a boat load of cash selling them through Themeforest. That means each template is well-documented and backed personally by each author. I am yet to see an author not respond to any of my questions promptly. WordPress is currently the most popular content management system and it is for good reason. It is primarily a blogging platform and it doesn’t cost $20 a month just to blog! Being based on blogging this immediately makes it great for SEO because new and updated content is king. The back end of WordPress is well organized and if you can use Facebook, you can use WordPress. You can edit any content, change colors, fonts, and add unlimited photos. The add-ons far surpass Intuit. There are about as many add-ons as iPhone apps. Each rated and reviewed (my recent favorite is the ski resort snow report widget.) Now, lets review the cost so far. Right now we only have spent $40 on the template and WordPress itself is free so we don’t have to worry about that. All we need now is your domain name and hosting. A typical domain name is about $12 a year and the hosting for WordPress comes to about $60 a year bringing your total yearly cost to $72 plus the template. Now, if you are like most people, your focus is your business and not how to set-up and customize WordPress. That is where someone like me comes in. Hopefully after a search of your local web designers you can find someone to save you much time by paying them to set-up and customize your new WordPress theme. I typically charge anywhere from $500 – $1200 to fully set-up and customize the WordPress theme. Working with a reliable local designer has many more benefits than working with Intuit and being on the phone constantly to get your site to look the way you want. Having a local designer work on your WordPress site will save you countless hours allowing you to focus on the business at hand. After the one time fee of setting up the site, all you need to pay from here on out is the $72 a year to keep the site going. That is a huge difference compared to $1000 a year with Intuit.
The winner of this match is obvious. WordPress saves you time and money in the long-run. Your site will look exactly the way you want and your business will be found easier in the search engines. The work with your site is kept local instead of putting your money overseas (Intuit outsources much of the work to India). You have great support between the template designer and your local reliable web designer without having to call and give your customer number and password every time. It is for these reasons I give the advantage to WordPress. Long live WordPress and your local web developer!
Jason Houston has lived in Aspen, Colorado for the last 5 years. He is passionate about the web, and is dedicated to all areas of it. He specializes in small business web-start up and enjoys making the process as exciting as possible.