If someone's just starting out in business, in order to start selling their products or services online they'll need to get a website and if they need a website, they've got 3 options:
Option #1: They buy a "pre-made" web template off the Internet and spend anywhere from $40 to $800 on each one.
Option #2: They hire a web designer from Elance or RentaCoder and pay up to $200 for the page to be designed.
Option #3: Some people only want a page to promote affiliate program products, so they use the "static" affiliate pages they're given after signing up for the program.
All three options have their advantages, but on the other side of the scale, there are also several problems and disadvantages with each.
Let's go over the disadvantages or sources of frustration, starting with WEB TEMPLATES.
Buying web templates is a quick solution to get your web page up and running because all you do is pay someone for a site that's already been created. So you do get instant access to your website and it beats waiting days or weeks for someone to design the page for you. But on the downside, it's likely you'll encouter at least one of these problems:
Problem #1: Pre-made templates are usually created for specific business types including hosting companies, jewellery stores, cell phone businesses and so forth.
There's no shortage of categories, but what is in short supply are templates real people like you and I can use to sell ebooks, PDF's, software, CD's, digital downloads or services.
Some of the people I've talked to are downright frustrated after spending $50 to $800 on a template they can't freely "modify". The text on the buttons doesn't match what they need. This happens quite a bit.
Problem #2: Most web templates out there are created as "brochure sites" which means they are "graphic heavy", usually leaving very little room for web page contents or sales letters.
People have heard over and over that in order to sell a product or service on the Internet, you need to write a sales letter and it needs to be jam packed with features and benefits, to entice the visitor to continue reading and hopefully, to end up buying the product once they reach the end of the page.
Where a lot of the frustration occurs is that once someone's come up with their nicely polished sales letter, they'll find out only too late that the templates usually don't give room for content past the "first fold" of the monitor. (What that means is, there are about 5 inches of room for the content.)
I'm not saying this happens to all templates. Some designers are more thoughtful than others in this department. But most of the templates I've seen are designed in this very restrictive "brochure site" format.
So a person can easily end up spending $50 to $200 or more on a template that doesn't "fit" their business type. And if that happens the only thing left to do is to go out and find another template. That means they've got to pay another $50 to $200 or so because one can't refund a template that was bought "by mistake". By this point in time, anywhere from $100 to $400 or more has been spent.
Problem #3: Because the web templates are available to anyone willing to pay the price, someone can end up seeing "their website" all over the Internet ten, twenty, or hundreds of times.
Most template sellers show you the total number of people who've bought the template they're selling. But not all of them do. So one never really knows whether the site they've got is identical to that of hundreds of other people. Or worse, a competitor may have the same site and one may not even know it.
When I first launched my AmazingFormula.com website, within days, weeks and months I was seeing my own site all over the net. People had no problem with "borrowing" the entire site, sales letter and all. The funny thing is, I can actually "see" these people via my live chat program because most of these people were too inexperienced to take the "special code" off the page. So I can tell every time someone's taken my site.
To be quite frank, my original AmazingFormula page must be the most copied web page of all time and it wasn't even that nice looking. I guess people figured if it worked for me, it must work for them.
If you'd like to skip the frustration of having to force your content into a pre-made "brochure" web template and prefer a more flexible design with room for as much content as you'd like then check out my new Milcers Private Membership Site.
Now let's go over the disadvantages or sources of frustration, with hiring a web designer from Elance or RentaCoder.
Problem #1: A lot of people find it's a tad expensive to hire a custom designer to create a page for them.
I've hired out web design on Elance before and the bottom line is, while there are good or great designers out there, the one I picked, even after careful consideration, must have been the exception to the rule.
Four weeks and $500 later, I got a web page that wasn't even usable. It looked great but wasn't functional. It was one of those "brochure sites" that had 5 inches of space for the content. Well, if you've ever been to any of my websites, you'll already know I need WAY more room than that for my sales letters!
So I was out $500 for a web site I couldn't even use.
Problem #2: Designers that need you to hold their hand every step of the way.
If the first question the designer asks is "what exactly do you want", then you know you're in trouble.
I had a designer ask me that before and frankly, I was shocked. If I knew what I wanted, exactly, I probably wouldn't have had to hire them in the first place.
Problem #3: Find a web designer can be costly and time consuming.
It's time consuming to sift through tens or hundreds of designer portfolios trying to find someone that seems to have the skills you need, when all one really wants is a simple, yet nice looking web template so they can get your site up and running.
Let's say someone values their time at $20 an hour. (The way one figures this out is, if they could be working during that hour, what would spending one hour of time sifting through designer portfolios cost them?) If they spend 3 hours browsing portfolios, that's $60 wasted right there and they haven't even yet contacted the prospective designer to see what they'll bid on their project.
Now let's see the project through to the end.
The project needs to be posted, the deliverables need to be written, (what the project owner expects from the designer) the bids have to be approved/rejected, the designer needs to be contacted, the ideas and suggested site designs need to be sent, the mockups need to be approved/denied, changes need to be requested, the final project has to be approved, more changes made or requested, the final product has to be reviewed, payment has to be made and everything else in between, including time set aside to "chase after" the designer in case they start dragging their behind on the project.
The total amount of time spent can be anywhere from 5 to 10 or more hours on project details so in addition to the cost of the project, the project owner can end up having spent $100 to $2000 of their time ON the project.
Problem #4: The designers portfolio looked great, but when the template was delivered, the person's left wondering "what happened" and what went wrong.
Back in the early days before we had our own in house designer, I posted my fair share of web design projects on freelance sites so I've seen my fair share of quality differences from what the portfolio showed and what I was delivered. I always wondered if they'd borrowed someone's portfolio images as their own, because the sites I ended up with weren't very good.
Problem #5: An unfortunate downside of working with a web designer you don't know is that they can (and some do) charge you $200, $300 or more for a website, then head on over to a template store and buy one for $40 or $50 and sell it to you. Of course they'll make just enough changes to it to escape copyright infringement, but the buyer still ends up with a slightly modified template. So they've paid for a custom design and ended up with a template that 20, 50 or 100 other people are using.
Now let's go over the disadvantages or sources of frustration, with using a pre-made "static" affiliate program web page.
Problem #1: I think being able to sign up for an affiliate program and get a pre-made web page from the program owner is a great idea. I do the same for my affiliates and if you aren't able to design your own site, are just starting out and can't afford to pay for a template or a custom designed site of your own, this is a great way to get started.
But the downside is that you can never make changes to these pages. They aren't like regular web pages.
What works best, what my "super affiliates" are doing (they're the ones making the largest number of sales) is to either create their own websites or get a template then come up with a custom endorsement "introduction" to the product being sold and they drive traffic to that page, with links that then take the visitor to the main website or "static" affiliate page they were given to use in the first place. So they have the freedom to create whatever content they want, then drive traffic through to the static pre-made page.
In my own affiliate program I give my associates "customizable web templates" to use for some of the top selling products.
Problem #2: If all you're able to use is the premade, static affiliate page then the problem is that you end up with the same web page that hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of other affiliates have.
So it's really hard to stand out in the crowd with this type of page.
Problem #3: If an affiliate wants to promote more than one associate program from the same web page, this isn't possible using the static pages. They need a page they can modify, and that means they're taking a trip to the template shop where they'll need to spend $50 or so dollars on a template they can use. And we've already talked about the restrictions with going that route.
What a lot of people find helpful is to get templates from someone that's already experienced all the frustration and restrictions of buying "off the shelf" templates or static affiliate pages. Because it's those designers who are creating the templates with the real end user in mind, the person with the long sales letter, the person who may have different "button text" they need to use, or may want to add their own graphics, or may not have a logo to put in the "logo section" and so forth.
If having access to a resource that serves up a hot, new, professionally designed, fresh, flexible and customizable template every single month sounds like something that would help you avoid or eliminate the frustrations of off the shelf templates that don't fit, ever increasing web design fees or static affiliate program pages that you can never make changes to would be helpful to you then check out my Milcers club.
In my Milcers club you'll get access to a brand new template every single month that you can use right away and customize in virtually any way you see fit.
Get more information here: http://www.milcers.com/info.html
CEO - Higher Response Marketing, Inc.