Have you changed your oil lately?
Have you changed the oil on your car lately? How about a flat tire?
When I was younger, these tasks were considered “routine” car maintenance and I was expected to be able to do both. Then came environmental concerns and instead of disposing used oil wherever it was convenient, it became mandatory to dispose of it “properly”. And to lighten the weight of cars to achieve better gas mileage, tire jacks became these tiny replicas of what once was, not to mention the tiny sized spare tire!
Today, most of us have a AAA membership where someone with the right tools and up-to-date knowledge comes to our rescue. There are even places where you drive in and without getting out of your car, get your oil changed in 20 minutes.
Times have changed.
The progression of the internet has actually demonstrated the polar opposite progression. In its early days, only people trained to write “source code” were able to create a website. Every aspect, every detail that was presented on a website had to be created by someone using HTML (the program language) that would allow a web browser to operate. It took education, training, and experience – and money - to create a website.
As the internet caught on, only big companies with big budgets could afford to have a website. But as demand expanded, smaller businesses found the resources needed to join the online community. But cost was still a major limitation so eventually, a very brilliant mind created what became known as a “Content Management System” (or CMS).
CMSs progressed from the early days to where you could create almost anything online without needing to know HTML. The problem was, there were limitations, specifically in the area of graphic design and page layout. Regardless of these factors, website development became accessible to the masses at affordable price points.
For the folks who were early adopters of the internet, the opportunity to engage prospective clients was never better. Anyone wanting to sell stuff had a new marketplace to hawk their wares. It didn’t take long before consumer demand opened the eyes of the hesitant and the internet boom was on.
With opportunity comes competition and the demand to be “online” has never been greater. And as in most things, when demand reaches a saturation point, prices of things come down and that is true with website development. Today, it’s easy to find marketing messages offering “Free”, “Do It Yourself” options for creating a website.
Free is good, right? Well, maybe….but most likely, no!
Just like I can still change my oil, I need to have the right tools, the right knowledge and the necessary experience to avoid breaking something. In other words, just because I can “do it myself”, that doesn’t mean that I am the best person for the job.
Sure, you can create a website for free. I’ve heard there is a learning curve for using that “free” app. I’ve heard the customer support is limited, if it exists, for the “free” app. Have questions – how much are you willing to pay for the answer?
Even if you figure out how to use the “free” app, did you create an effective website for yourself? Will people find your website online….and if they do, is your imaging and content compelling them to take action?
In our opinion, “free” is a great qualifier for the value that you get. If you pay nothing, you probably got the same amount of value in return. And that opinion isn’t based on us being in the business of creating websites. It’s based on the simplicity of fact. The saying “you get what you pay for” carries more truth than most of us want to embrace.
Go ahead. Change your oil.