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The New Trend in Site Building. Where did all the customers go?
By Control V Interactive

 How much will you charge to build and host my site? This question has become somewhat infrequent in the past year. When it does roll off a prospective client's lips, our heart skips a beat, palms sweat and the anxiety of pricing the job sets in. Getting the job depends on price and providing a high level of comfort in support and infrastructure concerns. The easy money has gone and with it the easy sell. This is true for both the small developer and the largest international web-dev firms. Does this mean the site development market has dried up? Does it mean people have decided to stop putting products and services online? Heck no! New sites are still coming online in record numbers! Who is building them you ask? Good question. The fact of the matter is that companies (small and large) are moving towards in-house development and utilizing point-and-click client side or web-based tools. This trend will continue to show exponential growth as the tools get better and the economy continues to lag. Businesses want to get their feet wet without a large cash outlay. They want to test new product/service offerings and tweak their presentation as needed - when needed. This article takes a look at the new trend, compares < > the most prominent "web-based" presence building tools and shows how you can tap into this lucrative revenue stream. That's right - there's big opportunity in this trend because going online still requires a site to be BUILT, HOSTED and MARKETED! The only questions are who will build and market the site and with what tools? As you may or may not know, most of the big boys are placing site-build systems into their customer offerings and these new systems are quite formidable. Some of the tools reviewed are more than just site builders - they are Online Presence Builders. They provide instant gratification to the end user and some offer private branding for the reseller, allowing for a tremendous residual income to be generated without the typical overhead and support required by more traditional means of site building. These new tools are exciting and the direction in which business today is headed! The only Site-Builders reviewed and compared for this article < > were those that incorporated the following: 

1. Inclusion of tools that satisfied at least two of the three root needs listed above (Site Builder, Site Hosting, and Site Marketing). 

2. A viable means for resellers to build a residual income. (Either through private branding or affiliate services). The Comparison Table < > reflects the tools we researched based upon the previous two criteria.

 However, we found major differences in features and money-making opportunity in each tool. We applied a five-star scale to each review based on need-fulfillment for the reseller AND the end-user. Note: This was not a scientific study of each Site-Builder Service. The comparison table reflects the features we found listed on each site and does not suggest that these are the only features offered by each respective site builder. From a reseller and end-user point of view, the clear winner in the online presence builder market was < >. There were major points of differentiation when comparing PreWired with other systems. 

Aside from graphical site design features, Prewired has a number of pre-programmed features built into their system administration and the end-user site management environment that make their service unique. Ultimately, you need to decide which Site-Builder offers the best opportunity for your business model. ISPs and Resellers should not ignore this trend! There are many large web companies incorporating these tools into their offerings. They are making these upgrades to their services based on very expensive and thorough feasibility and marketing studies. Some of these tools offer VERY quick private branding that will allow you to get in the game within one week. If you are an existing ISP or someone looking to get into the site hosting business, these tools offer an immensely appealing solution for the end-user and provider: a low start-up cost accompanied with self-serving build-out offers, instant gratification to the end-user and low overhead for the provider! Truly the best of both worlds. When examining these tools, consider the hosting options of the Site-Builder itself. There are basically three alternatives: 

1. Have the Site-Builder installed on YOUR server at YOUR Internet connection 

2. Have the Site-Builder installed on YOUR server at THEIR server farm. 

3. Have the Site-Builder installed on THEIR server at THEIR server farm. 

Some of the Site-Builders we compared did not offer Option #1 or #2, but most offered Option #3. Obviously, there will be more money going toward 'your' bottom line with Options #1 and #2. Plan on sharing revenue (with the branding company) from any branded Site-Builder but notice the huge swing in how much is shared, depending on how you setup the hosted environment for the Site-Builder.

 You need to decide which works best for you. Whether you have substantial traffic to your existing site or are just starting, offering a site presence builder allows you to capture and retain the clients who are seeking this option. Keep in mind, most shoppers do not set out to build in this type of environment, but when they see your Site-Builder or someone else's, they will likely be intrigued and, if the Site-Builder is full-featured, may become a customer! A quality Site-Builder allows clients to effectively place themselves online with little or no support from you. Less support means lower overhead and less confusion - this optimizes your bottom line. Automated residual income is a beautiful thing!




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