Why you shouldn't barter for your website

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Cash is tight.  Your small business or practice needs a website and you have a friend, a relative, a colleague you know from networking offers to barter services (or do it for free…which may be worse) for your marketing website.


Don’t do it!

1.         Is this person a professional or a hobbyist?  The stakes are high.  Your business is your livelihood.  You wouldn’t get your books done by an amateur and the responsibility for it shouldn’t be handed off to someone who is good at design or HTML but has no understanding of how the Internet works for your kind of business.  You need to know that your site has been optimized for search, set up with the proper analytics programs, complies with best practices for your kind of business, including legal terms of service and privacy policy.

2.         When you don’t pay, you are the lowest of low priorities.  Even if the person who does your website for you is a pro…paying clients will always take priority over you.  Inevitably, your site will take longer to build than you think and then you’ll be on your own.  Your barter partner will not want to take your calls or reply to your emails.

3.         Barters rarely involve a signed contract.  There’s a reason that most business agreements are written down and fully executed by both parties.  How much website will you get?  Will it involve original graphic design?  Who is writing the copy?  Who will pay for stock images?  How long will it take?  And what do you have to do in return?  A website for one chiropractic session?  Or five?  At least with a barter deal, you can try to figure this out.  When someone is doing it as a favor, this becomes impossible.

4.         This is not a one-shot deal.  Effective Internet marketing is an ongoing process, requires updating your site on an ongoing basis.  If the only person who can access and update your site is this person with a knowledge of HTML, your site risks being held hostage or being abandoned in cyberspace.  If that person moves, changes addresses or careers, your site could evaporate.

As attractive as it might seem to get a site for “free,” there are real costs involved.  Empower yourself to build your own site with a content management system that requires no technical knowledge—hire a pro to set it up once and then you’ll be the master of your own domain.

Deborah Gallant

Deborah Gallant is the Fearless Leader of Bold Business Works, offering tools, training & inspiration to solo entrepreneurs, business owners and service professionals. http://www.boldbusinessworks.com/

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