For the small business owner, renting or leasing a website is often an appealing solution. With low monthly fees, and updates usually included, it can look attractive. But beware the downside of renting a website.
Renting a Website
Low set up cost.
Small monthly payments.
Site security handled by someone else. Checking for malware/ viruses and debugging site if they are found.
SEO to help clients find your website is usually taken care of for you.
Changes and updates to the rented website are often included with the monthly fee.
In the long run, after about 2-3 years, the cost ends up higher. You pay monthly payments for as long as you own the website.
If you decide to leave, you may have to pay a high fee to take any of your design or content with you. Some companies may not allow you to take any content or design at all.
Owning a Website
Pay up front for a website to be built. This can be a small, medium, or large amount depending on the website you want and the developer you choose.
Need to get your own hosting; many developers will assist you in doing this step.
Need to do your own SEO, or hire this out - a necessary element to help clients find your website.
Changes to website design are done by you, or your website designer and often cost for time incurred.
If you decide to change hosting companies, or hire a new website designer, you can! It’s 100% yours.
Why We Suggest Owning Your Website
An example of renting a website is the real estate agent website. Some agents own their own, but a majority rent from their brokerage firm…for free. The cost savings is undeniable - and this is a great example.
Imagine if you use the rented website for zero cost. You add your logo, craft a compelling brand image showcasing your strengths as an agent, and build a blog telling stories of each home you sell, or giving examples of the extremes you go to for buyers. You add testimonial after testimonial, and build custom content for neighborhoods you specialize in. You have an amazing website!
Then you change brokerages and your rented website is erased.
No option to transfer any information (maybe you have your content + testimonials saved, maybe you don’t).
But if you had your own website built, and you owned it - all you would have needed to do is switch your brokerage logos. No headaches, no copy and pasting to build a new site. Nothing else.
The difference between renting and owning in this example comes down to immediate benefit vs long-term benefit. This is why we always recommend owning your own website.