In the past, most small businesses paid someone to create their own website, occasionally investing in content writing and marketing to try to help it rank well in search engines.
These companies were unfortunately starting from a place of little knowledge in the online marketing industry, so often these websites were fairly barren, rarely received hits, and almost never converted. They were simply there as a placeholder, in the event someone searched directly for the company or asked for a web address.
Finding An Easier Solution
So many SEO companies started creating rental websites instead. Rental websites are websites where the SEO company has complete creative control, drafting up a website and providing companies with the option of renting it for a small monthly fee rather than starting a website from scratch and paying for all of the costs.
These websites can be immensely valuable, but also have their downsides as well. We’ll explore the benefits and weaknesses of website partnerships in this article.
Benefits of Rental Websites
- No Upfront Costs – The greatest benefit of these rental websites is that there is no upfront cost. Companies that aren’t certain how to best invest their money can simply start renting a website for no startup costs and keep it as long as they’re under contract. No starter costs reduces overall investment, helping the company save money. Also, the monthly costs tend to be inexpensive.
- No SEO/Website Knowledge – Companies that rent websites also do not need to know anything about SEO, hosting, etc. The website is generally hosted on the rental company’s server, and all the small business needs to do is pay the monthly fee. IT’s easy, and great for businesses that aren’t well versed in online marketing knowledge.
- Ability to Walk Away – If they don’t get any business, the company can simply walk away. While this is true of websites as well, generally if a company has invested a great deal in their website, walking away represents a substantial loss of content that they own. But when it’s a website rental, they’re walking away from only their monthly payments, nothing more.
Weaknesses of Rental Websites
- Bad Content – Unfortunately, most rental websites have bad, copied content that fails to convert. They mass create their websites in order to save on costs, and that means that even most rental websites are going to be poor converters – even if they show up well in search engines.
- Cost Changes – While the cost of rental websites is low, it’s possible for a company that rents websites to change their costs, and it can be hard for a small business to walk away from the rental. Owning your own website is generally the only safe way to be in control of costs.
- No Ownership – Finally, rarely do rental websites allow you to purchase the site, and unfortunately not owning the site means that any marketing you do or branding you do is worthless if you ever choose to walk away. If a competitor rents the site after you, you may be losing not only new customers, but some of your old customers as well.
Renting a website isn’t a bad idea. There are several advantages, and these advantages can earn you a great deal of money. But before you rent a website, make sure it has benefits to mitigate the risk. Check to make sure the pages are well written, the website has unique content, and that there is the option to buy someday if you ever choose to purchase it. Only then will you be able to reduce the risks while also take advantage of the benefits.