The hidden trap

There is a situation I got confronted with today. The reasoning is pretty simple. I am adjusting the website for a veteran society and I wanted to get it all done in a simple but secure way. So, as I am with Google, I wanted to get a few pieces of info, but they did not had any clear info initially. This is not bad thing, I placed a question and I moved on to other sources. One of the sources I got introduced to was, it was an easy search and guess what, a top 10, so this should be easy.

So what did I do, I went for number one and took a quick look at what they had to offer. It had a rating of 9.8, so this would be easy. Now the fun truly begins!

  1. Click here to start
  2. I entered the name and then….

Well, the page I saw had the added ‘Introductory Price $1.95/mo*‘, so I checked the ‘*’ below and now we get “* Customers on a monthly billing cycle are billed every four weeks.  The above pricing is promotional pricing which only applies to the first billing cycle.  After the promotional period, standard billing rates will apply“.

Now we get to see the full price (in the small print page approach, which is set at “The current rate for the Services is $22.95 per billing cycle (every four weeks)” and for the ‘Free’ domain name we see “For reference, the current renewal price for a one (1) year .com domain name registration is $37.00“. Now even if the pricing was fair, why not put it all in a neat little table, why did it have to be hidden in some legal text approach? The fact that the Services Agreement window is named ‘ Legal‘ only adds to it all. The information is all there, but I have some serious question on the way that it was ‘presented’. This is regarded as a 9.8 rating?

Number 2 was, they were even worse, ‘3 steps away from a professional website‘, but they are unwilling to give ANY details on pricing, until after they collected your details. Yes, the Wix advertisement we see on TV and in other places might sound nice, but why not be upfront about this? Now you can Google that information, but why not just have the link there? At $8.25 a month, they seen a lot more appealing for the private and volunteer world, but it is still $100 a year. There are some conditions for your own domain, but let’s not dig too deep here.

Now we go down on the list, all the way to 9 out of 10. Now we see a rating of 6.7, not great, but when I go to the site, at the top, what do my little eyes spot? Yes! A plans and pricing option, was that so hard to do ‘mister one’ and ‘mister two’? At $5.99 is seems very limiting, 5 pages, one site and 25Mb. The space for these volunteers is unlikely to be more than sufficient. But let’s go up the ladder again.

I had a look at Squarespace, an 85% rated provider, again, the pricing was hidden, yet a search with google revealed that part. At $8 a month, it seems not the cheapest, but it comes with plenty, including integrated e-commerce for one product and to accept donations. The latter is important, the initial a little limiting, but a start, sell 9 products might have been better, still the offer is decent and the Squarespace site looked spiffy and appealing.

Weebly was not as appealing in looks as Squarespace, but the price was $0.05 cheaper and you get plenty more (when you find the pricing page), the one part that was a clear caller was “It’s Free to Sign Up and Build Sites. Only pay us once you’re ready to publish a site live“, that is a nice call to have. Weebly was nice, but not too clear. The entire approach of clients and so on got a little confusing, but the system is loaded with small movies, so for someone knowing what to do it is clear, but I reckon a ‘Weebly for dummies’ white paper would make all the difference for some less tech savvy people. The entire drag and drop routine was very nice (better than many others), but again, the novel person might find the layout confusing in the beginning. Still, there could be a debate whether Weebly is an 8.7, or a 9.0 rated site. I think it has a clear future, but like others it needs to have an option for pricing on page one.

All this just to help a few veterans (which I am always very happy to do, especially as many of the pages had already been created. The issue now is to get it all online.

One deliberation that is often forgotten in the web place of today is the Mobile (aka smartphone), many have the device and alas, I did not see any to advertise this medium like an ‘enhanced’ website, a mobile version of your site. For a moment I thought that Squarespace had it, but alas, it was about productivity for the webmaster, which is pretty good too (others lacked that option), but they might have missed out on the market, by offering a transfer template for those wanting a specific mobile port, to enhance the overall result. Which in today’s personal need is rising almost exponentially.

I reckon that this need will go even further if we see how some people would love to print, via their mobile the photo/text they were looking at via an LTE supported printing connection. A small issue, but often ignored by the majority at large.

It seems that the port to websites leaves a little to be desired, pulling in customers via pre signed up approach is just no 2015 way. In this day, clear information is essential, too many people are untrusting and not willing to just go along with options any more.

The others were decent too, yet they all had a little quirk here or there, important to know that none of it was truly negative. In the end I found a good option for decently under $100 a year, I will let you find your way. It is important to make up your own mind and not to just take my word, but also consider the words I spoke here. Too many will drag you in and possibly offer additional fees when you sign up. That is no longer an acceptable way to go. If these provider start to consider that the next wave is all about the connected smartphone, then many people will feel a lot better when they see what the result will be in the mobile browser before they enter an iteration of QA from one device to the other. This web market could be a whole new dimension soon enough.



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