So I’m at a networking event and a small business owner tells me “Johnny, I’m shocked at how much it costs to have a website! They keep charging my card for all these services! I had no idea it would be so much!” I’m curious now so I tell him my total costs and ask him if I can log into his account to see what the heck is going on! When I do, I become shocked as well! He is being charged for products and services he does not need for his one man business right now. Worse, even though he has prepaid for two years in advance, they are also putting monthly charges on the card as if they have started renewal fees 2 years early! Whoa!
Because he’s great at his business but not an I/T nerd, they had talked him into buying crap he did not need. Privacy protection, SiteLock, Web Forwarding (really!), Premium DNS (I don’t even know what that is!), a Support Plan and finally “Acquisition” were all items being charged to his card. Whenever he would call them, he would just receive doubletalk and be told it was required. In short order, I helped him to move away from that “Big Box” service provider!
There are several lessons to be learned here:
- Keep a constant vigil on your credit card charges. Do question unexpected charges.
- Consider making friends with an I/T nerd to help you understand techno-babble!
- Consider not pre-paying for more than 2 years tops, 1 year at a time is good enough and allows you to leave without much penalty.
- Remember that domain administration and website hosting are two separate services. Even if you have pre-paid for 5 years of domain administration, you are still free to host your website with a completely different provider (and not lose that domain registration). I will write and post an article on just this topic very soon.
I have created a worksheet detailing the prices of the Big Box provider and the provider I use. The worksheet also lists services to avoid paying for until your business becomes very large. Save your money for now! If you reply to my article, I will send you a copy of the worksheet for your review.
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