When it comes to houses, you can rent or you can own. Each has it’s advantages and disadvantages. For instance, renting means low startup costs – a deposit for renting is much lower than a downpayment for a mortgage. But ownership means that you have control over the place. You can decide when and how things get fixed up. You can do things that wouldn’t be allowed if you were renting. You can make it your own.
Websites are the same. There are plenty of options to “rent” websites. Hosted services – including WordPress.com, SquareSpace, Facebook, and many others – allow you to get started quickly and get you in the game. But like renting, you may have to worry about getting evicted if the landlord sells and you have to live by their rules. Plus, that aquamarine paint you love so much or updating the cabinets, that’s a no-no.
When you want to own, and control, your website, you’ll need to go to a self-hosted solution. You purchase space on a server to house your code just as you’d purchase land to build your house upon. What kind of house, and what color you paint it, well that’s up to you. You can decide what to do with your piece of cyberspace and make it suit your needs.
straightTALK: “Renting” a website can be a fine way to get started, but OWNing allows you to do so much more.
When a repair or update to your home is needed you have three options: 1) hire a professional, 2) fix it yourself, or 3) live with it. Okay, I suppose you could also call in a favor and have friends, relatives, or neighbors give you a hand too, but you get what you pay for.
Your choice can depend on several factors. How much will it cost? Do you have the tools? Do you know anyone who could help that has the skills? Do you have the skills yourself? How critical is it? What happens if you do nothing?
There are times when fixing it yourself is an option, such as when it’s not critical and you have some expertise, or at least interest in learning. Other times you might just live with it. It’s not that important and you’re worried that you might even make things worse. But other times you know that it has to be dealt with, and sometimes right now, whether you can afford it or not.
No one but you can make that call. But talking with a professional and letting them know the full situation – what you want to achieve or avoid and the budget you have to work with – can be a good place to start to get the information you need to make the best decision.
straightTALK: You always have choices – and choices always have consequences. With good information you can choose wisely.
Houses come in a lot of different shapes and sizes – and budgets. Not everyone is able to build the custom home of their dreams and most people begin small (and cheap) and move up over time.
Websites can follow the same path. You might begin with a free blog (like Blogger or Tumblr) or a templated, hosted site with limited options as a starter (like SquareSpace, Wix, or Weebly). Perhaps later you move up to a premium, self-hosted website. It could be awhile – or perhaps never – that you have the need, and the budget, for a custom-built solution.
Whatever home is right for your situation, you can still decorate it stylishly and organize it effectively to get the most out of the situation. Custom homes, block homes, modular homes, heck even tents provide shelter.
straightTALK: Not everyone needs a palace. Modest accommodations can be made to work well too.
“I just want to replace the carpet…”
So it begins. The old carpet comes up which uncovers… rotting flooring? Neglected hardwood floors? Asbestos tiles?
You never know what you’ll find when you start to remodel. Your carpet layer doesn’t have x-ray vision to see what might be underneath. It’s nobody’s fault that removing the carpet unveiled structural problems. But it has to be dealt with before moving on.
Redesigning websites can be the same way. Until the developer gets in there and gets their hands dirty with the code, they’re operating blind. If they’ve provided an estimate based on “the price of the carpet” don’t be shocked when there’s now talk of “fixing the floorboards.” There are times when an estimate is just that… an estimate. If the assumptions that estimate was based on prove to be inadequate, things will change.
straightTALK: Estimates are always based on assumptions. When the situation changes, so will the estimate.
When you build a house, you know it’s going to stand for a good long time. It’s going to have to work for you, or whoever lives there, for decades – perhaps even centuries. While you might build it to suit your current needs, keeping options open for future changes is always a good idea. Whether an unused room, the quality and placement of utilities, or some extra space in the backyard, thinking about possible future expansion during the construction process can save significant money and disruption down the line.
With websites, planning for the future means making sure your web design can handle growth and changes. Can your hosting handle a spike in traffic? Can you easily add new pages or menu items to the design? What if you want to rebrand the site?
You may not be able to predict the future or plan for every contingency, but building on a solid infrastructure that is flexible enough to roll with the flow makes for fewer headaches moving forward.
straightTALK: Don’t just consider your current needs. What might the future hold? Be sure you can adapt when the time comes.