Why Go Web-Hosted?
People often ask why they should invest in a web-hosted application.
Paying a monthly fee for someone else’s software doesn’t sound like a very good deal at first. I recently joined MightyMerchant’s team, and I can tell you from personal experience, hosted web solutions are a very good deal! I wasted thousands of dollars and hours trying to get an expensive desktop application to do the job I wanted before finally giving up. A little research led me to hosted web applications, and I quickly realized the benefits of having a professional team of programmers and developers at my disposal. Hosted web solutions absolutely make the most sense for business owners who want a profitable web presence.
Sharing my experience, here are a couple of good reasons to rethink using your own software:
Your software, your programming.
If you don’t have a talented IT professional working for you, you’ll probably have to hire one or go to school. I bought the “perfect” software, it claimed to do everything but bake cookies. I loaded it and quickly learned just how hollow those claims really were. Not only was the business template I’d been using during the “trial” period not included, I found out the template would cost twice as much as the software, with additional programming fees to “customize” it to meet my needs. The software company actually had a list of certified private contractors to provide the programming. Wasn’t that convenient? When I contacted them, the hourly rate started at $120 and went up. I was actually relieved when I found a contractor on my own at a rate of $75 per hour. Can you imagined being relieved to pay someone $75 an hour?
By this time, I was spending 5-6 hours a day on software programming. Not on data entry, but correcting errors and trying to make the application do what it claimed. I was over budget by $1200 in less than a month. Not only did the software fail to improve the efficiency of my system, it brought sales and communications to a grinding halt! I was losing money as fast as I was spending it.
I was skeptical when I saw an email about a web-hosted application for my business, but I was desperate! I decided to attend the webinar, just to see what it was about. It’s hard to describe how I felt just a few minutes into the presentation. Elated? Shocked? Angry? I waited until the presentation ended, scribbling notes as fast as my bic pen would fly across the paper. I had so many questions! I didn’t believe it could possibly be so simple to solve my problems and get me back in business.
I pounced on the moderator, mentally prepared for disappointment. “Can you really take my existing site and produce that, in a few weeks? Does it work with Quickbooks? Can I offer gift certificates? How do I promote sales and holiday specials? What happens if my system crashes?” And the final question that clinched the deal for me, “How soon can I start doing business after the site goes live?”
I signed out of the webinar and nearly wept with relief! I would soon be spending most of my time doing the job I was hired to do! I could quit studying programming manuals for dummies and start concentrating on sales again!
Your software, your problem.
If you didn’t take the optional support plan, (usually around $50 a month, limited to an hour a month of technical support) when you have a problem, you’ll pay through the nose to fix it. Usually, they attempt tp guide you through the process online or over the phone. The software, and the problem, are on your computer. If they can’t fix it remotely, here come the contractors with their enormous price tags, again! If you don’t keep your security system up-to-date with the latest patches and your system crashes, you might have to start all over again, from square one. Imagine entering all that data, again.
There are a few people who seem to have an innate knowledge of the mechanics behind those glossy webpages we love to surf. They don't mind spending the extraordinary amount of time and effort it takes to get professional results. Those are the people who'll tell you you're better off buying the software. Without their training and experience, you're treating your business like a DIY project. I’m going to give you the same advice you’ve heard from friends the world over. “Save yourself the headache and hire a professional!” Personally, I’d rather enter a few dozen lines of copy, download an image or two, and go to lunch. I’m happy to let the professionals do the work for me. At the end of the day, I’ll total the sales and smile. Teh nice.
If you’d like to read more about the benefits of Hosted web applications, here’s a link to an in-depth article published by the Norada Corporation: White Paper
Paige Pryor joined MightyMerchant in June as the new Account and Project Manager and self-appointed Environmental Coordinator. Her background and experience in marketing, sales, and database administration led her to web-hosted solutions as a convenient and cost-efficient method of relaying products and services to customers.