You Can’t Take It With You – Domains

I was doing some research today on the concept of building your own website using services that offer everything for non-programmers. There are several and at first glance some of them seem to have it all.

They offer 1000’s of templates in every category, easy to update content systems and lots of images to paste into your site. They even offer built in search engine optimization tools that create the appropriate meta tags for you.

To the uneducated it all seems so simple and accessible. Just select your domain name, select your template, add a few words about who you are, what your business service is, how to contact you and you have a full functioning website.

One of these “build your own website” services I found was really quite impressive. It offered form builders, e-commerce modules, and the ability to select from 3 different formats in case the basic one wasn’t exactly what you had in mind.

So, you might ask…”What’s the problem?” Well there are a couple of concers I found as I dug deeper and here they are.

  • The cost of some, although not all of them increased with the number of modules and added services to the point where it became quite very expensive to actually build an effective website.
  • All these services have domain registration and web hosting services built in. While this might appear convenient to the untrained eye, there is one aspect of this that really concerns someone like myself who is a proponent of open source software methods and the freedom of choice they offer.

I believe strongly that every website owner should also own the rights to all the components of their web design, including the graphics, the content, the domain name and every aspect of their website development process. You should be able to leave and take it with you.

So many times the restrictions placed on clients who come to us with website development problems originate in the control their website developer, hosting service or templated website service use to keep them paying the subscription fees they place on their customers.

Imagine building a website that you want to upgrade to a more modern format and ending up not being able to do so. You decide to move your domain name to another host, take the graphics and content with you only to find that you can’t transfer the data because it is all plugged into the service provider’s database. You own nothing and the minute you try to escape, your website disappears. If you have succeeded in getting traffic to the site, promoted your URL and gotten a reasonably good page rank on the search engines, it can all be eliminated by simply moving on.

While there are many more technical aspects that can negatively impact using this approach, I have to recommend you register your domain with a hosting service like 1and1 where you own your domain. Then avoid the built in services they offer as well, so that you can move data if something goes sideways.

While they do offer many additional built in products the same rules apply. Instead, Build a WordPress website or a real HTML/CSS website with a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress to run it.

Then you will be in complete control.

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