You might have seen advertising for 1&1 websites. Ever wonder how they compare to other websites? We are breaking down the current (Sept 2011) specs on 1&1 MyWebsite and comparing them to that of custom websites.
Upfront you might think that 1&1 websites cost $4.99 a month, but after reading in deeper you will find that a business website in fact starts at $9.99 a month and goes up to $19.99 and $29.99 per month. This monthly fee is billed 3 months in advance and requires a 12 month contract. When you purchase a custom website you do not have ongoing fees (except hosting & domain registry), you own the website. While yes custom websites do cost more upfront, the ongoing fees with template websites like 1&1 do not apply.
When going with a 1&1 website you get to choose from an assortment of template website designs. While it is great you have a choice, template websites do not allow you much customization to make the website perfect for your business. Custom websites allow you to do nearly anything to a design, whereas template websites you are very limited to layout changes. Because template websites are not designed specifically for your business, often they come across as unprofessional. The best way to guarantee you get what you want is to go with a custom website.
Template websites, including 1&1 MyWebsites, because of the placement of certain design aspects as well as other factors, also limit your search engine ranking.
1&1 MyWebsites are claimed to have optimized layouts, but when you look at most of the sites you can see many of the layout factors are not taken into consideration. The best possible design layout is one that is created with the search engines in mind, which is what you get with a custom website.
Instead of doing the SEO tactics themselves, 1&1 offers you methods to increase visibility. Without knowing the search engines, you can make some modifications yourself, but some also require more extensive knowledge of code and other website factors. SEO companies offer the best possible ranking by doing the work themselves.
To get the best SEO service from 1&1, your price goes up from $9.99 to $29.99 a month. That is a big jump in price and yet still doesn't say up front all that they will be doing for you for that extra money. When you hire on an SEO company you get a listing of items that will be included in your site, instead of just saying it will get done. One thing 1&1 and other template companies don't tell you is that points are already taken away for having a template website, as mentioned above.
One last thing that stood out, is the "Industry News" feature offered with 1&1 MyWebsites. This news feature just feeds in news articles from other sources. What this means is they are copying content from other sites, thus giving your site duplicate content. If you are trying to get the best possible search engine ranking, duplicate content is not the way to go, it can definitely impact your ranking negatively. While it is okay to take information from other sources, it is not okay to copy verbatim.
What it comes down to is, 1&1 websites may cost less upfront but will not get you the best possible search engine ranking. If you have a 1&1 website and are unhappy with the results, contact WebDuck Designs to discuss custom website options.