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Web Design, Website Hosting, SEO Package Deals….
Web Design companies are usually the first to be contacted when a company (or person) has decided they need a website. Often these companies will offer special packages which typically include the hosting of the website and often SEO and marketing work as well.
This may seem like the perfect solution as one would only have to contact a single company to solve any and all site problems. These deals however are often more costly than the bottom line price shown by the design company.
I was recently called to optimize a site and install a blog for a business with exactly such a package “deal”. Upon accepting the project I requested that the FTP and Login details for the site be sent to me. To my great surprise I was informed by the Design/Hosting company that this would take a while to organize and indeed 8 days later I still do not have this information. This is not the type of service you need from your hosting company especially if problems should occur in the future. Site downtime can very quickly cost sales and impact revenue.
Whilst waiting for the admin details for this domain I decided to look at the SEO that had been carried out so far by the Web Design company, for this site. I was not terribly surprised to find that many of the essentials of good SEO had been conveniently overlooked and that this had been the state of affairs for the last 3 years. It serves no purpose to list the problems here however it was obvious that only a minimal amount of SEO had been completed.
I should in fairness at this point mention that the design and look of the site was very good visually even if it was not optimal for search engine ranking.
As a marketer I do appreciate the purpose of such package deals as they inevitably help with customer retention whilst also providing a recurring income for the design company.
However when looking at this from a customer’s viewpoint I would point out that Designers, Web Hosting Companies and SEO specialists are three very different disciplines and although there is some cross over between these three areas of expertise, it is very rare that they can be performed well by one company. One needs only look at large hosting companies to see that the majority offer neither SEO nor Design services, nor do most SEO professionals offer Hosting or Design. In some cases where another service (usually SEO) is offered either this is a white labeled service, or different people have been hired to do the work.
As in the example above the site owners had been given a visually appealing site, however the design was not SEO optimized. The hosting package meant that any future tweaks and adjustments could only be done by the design company with the attendant costs this would involve. The customer service seemed to me to be pretty poor especially when considering that the problem had not been solved after over one week. This hardly seems like a good deal to me.
When considering this particular practice the old adage “Jack of all trades, master of none” springs to mind.
My advice therefore would always be to seek separate Design, Hosting and SEO companies if you want the Best deal and optimal ROI.