Can You Easily Make Changes to Your Corporate Website?

Thinking about starting a direct selling company? One of the many decisions you need to make is related to your website. You’ll need to hire a company to provide replicated websites for your distributors. And the company that offers them will probably tell you that they’ll create (and host) your corporate website as well. Sounds great, right? You don’t need a website designer on staff, and it’s a problem solved.

Only it isn’t. Because a year or two down the road, you’re going to want to make changes. You’ll have learned a few things. You’ll want to split test various pages to see which provides better conversion for your advertising efforts, or add products, or make one of countless other changes that make sense in the course of business.

Except you’ll pay through the nose to make those changes.

I’ve seen it again and again. Companies getting squeezed because now they’re paying ridiculous per-hour charges to make even the simplest of changes. Changes that ANYONE could make, if they simply had access. But guess what? Your provider probably isn’t going to give you access. So you’re stuck.

The BEST advice I can give you is to keep your corporate website independent of your replicated website provider. You might even want to create it using WordPress on a self-hosted site, so it’s easy for anyone to make changes (I know there are varying schools of thought on this, but it’s at least a great first step for your site, if you’re a new company.) ALWAYS negotiate your contracts so that you have access to your entire site, and can make changes yourself. It will be much cheaper in the long run to hire your own website designer, than to rely on your backend provider to make those changes.

Too many companies have learned this the hard way. Don’t be one of them. Keep control your website. You’ll thank yourself a year from now.

Your thoughts?

3 Responses to Can You Easily Make Changes to Your Corporate Website?
  1. Kristen Schwartz
    September 1, 2011 | 1:54 pm

    Bravo Jennifer! As a web designer, I’m horrified at the numbers of clients I get who have been bullied into services they don’t need and held hostage by web service providers when they try to move their web sites elsewhere. There are so many alternatives out there. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to have a website and make the changes you need to make.

  2. Allan McNaughton
    September 1, 2011 | 8:37 am

    As the co-founder and COO of AZULI SKYE, I must heartily concur with Jennifer. Our public website and backend order/downline management system is totally under our control (everything is self-developed). The public site is based on Joomla, an open source CMS, and the backend plugs into that with replicating site and order/downline management functionality.

    Being able to easily change the public site is a major boon. It’s oh so simple to add content and move things around. Frankly, it would drive me crazy to rely on an expensive third party for changes. I know other direct sales companies are in this boat. My recommendation is get out of it asap. There are plenty of easy to use (and free) systems to build a public site on (Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, etc).

    Even the backend vendors who allow the client to self-administrator public site changes, have clunky difficult to use systems. Content management is a problem that’s been solved many times over by the open source community. Your vendor can’t compete in this area.

    • Allan McNaughton
      September 1, 2011 | 10:10 am

      One more thing. Other direct selling execs are welcome to contact me if need they need further insights on this topic. I’m an experienced software developer (25 years) who’s got a pretty good grasp of this topic. Always happy to help others in the industry. Just call 800-516-SKYE, press 0, and ask for Allan.

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