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Warning: Hosted Content Management Systems Can Hold Small Businesses Hostage
At first glance, hosted CMS providers seem like a bargain for small business because they make setting up websites much easier. "However, the ease of setting up websites comes at a price." said Elle Van Buren, founder of Spicy Spirit.
However, hosted CMS, while usually making website set-up easier, comes at a price.
Elle Van Buren (http://www.linkedin.com/
In most cases, the hosting provider won't give full access to the source code and if the small business needs to modify anything that cannot be done via the admin panel, small businesses are left to pay the hosting company to do it for them, such as adding a site-wide search feature or newsletter subscription box. The initial development cost can be low especially when the small business just needs a simple website but the cost of modification is what is going to cost the small business. The vendors in most cases charge around $150 per hour to do any web changes, a very high tab for small businesses to pick up. Even the monthly hosting fee, currently somewhere around $20-$40, can go up anytime at the hosting company's wish. This is a brilliant "lock in" strategy that enables the host CMS vendor to take advantage of a small business.
Theoretically, there is a solution for a business to get out - the client has to ask for a back-up of the whole site and move the website to be hosted somewhere else. This is extremely hard for small businesses because they don't have the expertise or the money to go through such troubles. Plus, no one wants to rebuild a website when the existing one is still new. Making matters worse, if the site is built with the Ruby language, then finding another hosting company is quite difficult.
Spicy Spirit Internet Marketing suggests that you examine the benefits and negatives of hosted CMS vendors before choosing with platform to go with. It is critical to not only look at the upfront costs, but also the on-going change and maintenance costs of a website.