›Custom Website?

Lately, I have been heavily investigating websites for my real estate company. They all say the same thing…template sites + a lot of money for us to set it up + much more money if you want a “custom” site or “semi-custom”. How do they define those terms?

I know most people need help building a nice site, but is a site really custom if I can go buy a very similar site at templatemonster.com? For less than $70, you can download a template for a great looking website. Most of these templates are better than the custom ones I was told cost anywhere from $4000 and up to design plus a ridiculous amount to host and maintain.

So after weeks of trying to find a company to put together a complete solution for my real estate website, I got sold by Diverse Solutions. They answered all my questions the way I wanted and said they develop everything using true XHTML. When my site finally went up, it was not XHTML. When I mentioned this, the sales director proceeded to tell me “You don’t know what you are talking about”. Go to www.athomedallas.com and look at the source code. What does it say at the top of the page?

After the harsh and rude phone conversation where I was told to cancel my $4000 order before they do any work (they should have been working on it for over 2 weeks), my husband and I began to look at ways just to build our own site. To our surprise, we quickly found several of Diverse Solutions templates for sale on several different sites.

Now, this is really not a big deal except they made me feel like I was getting something unique and special. Not something I could download for $67 and put in some text and viola a website. I found many other companies that admit to buying these templates and using them to create your website. That is what I want…honesty. Using these templates is a great way to build a nice site. It gives you more time to worry about content and things like the CRM or lead management.

I am not trying to say there is no need for companies to provide website design. Many people have absolutely no idea what to do. Either way, these companies should be more open about what they are providing and realize this is the way to build a great company.