Homestead Review for Small Businesses The website builder's pros and cons

Dr. Rahul Razdan, CEO Ocoos

01/21/2015 14:52 PM
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Your small business website will only be as good as the tools you're using to build it -- be sure you know what you'll be working with before you buy it. That might seem like a no-brainer, but it's an important reminder to take a look under the hood, as it were, before plotting your course with a weaker-than-it-first-appears website builder.


Established in 1996, Homestead is one of the oldest website building tools, and many novice website builders might think older is better and more experienced. But really, a closer look at Homestead shows some major cracks in the system.


With nearly 20 years under its belt, the company seems to be resting on its earlier laurels, and missing critical (and what should be basic) functionality. Let's take a closer peek at Homestead's pros and cons.


Pros


Homestead offers a variety of templates you can use to design your website. You can further customize the look and feel with different fonts. That said, by current standards, the template designs and fonts are rather outdated. The website editor is easy to use and the service also offers an ecommerce solution that allows you to sell up to 100 products on your storefront. Phone and email support are offered to customers, and the company offers a 30-day free trial of the product.


Cons


There are a lot of weaknesses in the system, but the greatest is Homestead's lack of mobile-friendly solutions. Homestead doesn't optimize your site for mobile devices, though it can be done (with a fee) through a third-party solution. In the current age of mobile, this is remarkably outdated business model. Another missing core feature is the ability to add a blog to your site. Blogs are the cornerstone of many business web sites, and Homestead requires you upgrade your account to incorporate a blog.


Homestead offers basic ecommerce functionality with its simplest plan, but most small business owners will need to deal with Homestead's continuous upsells. For instance, you'll need to upgrade your account if you want to sell more than 100 products on your site.


Additional functionality is available, such as connecting to PayPal, or adding a web poll or donation form, but it comes at an additional cost. User are also nickel and dimed to upgrade to dubious services like "Traffic Booster," and "WebListings" which allege to give your business greater exposure to search engines and prospective customers.


Though the company offers a free 30-day trial, they take your credit card information up front, which means you will face the monthly charge for a starter package if you forget to turn off your trial. Plus, as mentioned, most of the functionality -- including what should be basic features like a blog and mobile-friendly pages -- comes at an additional fee.


The Solution


You should be using a website building tool that is both easy to use, with updated technology and appearance, and has contemporary features  as core components.


Ocoos is one such tool. Because it is a platform, Ocoos manages your site's technology from behind the scenes, keeping your site updated and supported -- and you don't have to lift a finger.


Your site will always be optimized for mobile devices, as well as search engines and browsers, even as technology changes. Plus, as new technology is developed, it will be integrated automatically into the website builder.


Above all, our ecommerce solutions will help you seamlessly sell your products and services without relying on third-party apps. In addition to a storefront, you'll be able to add an interactive calendar, accept a variety of payments, create maps, and manage customer data.


Plus, Ocoos's patented B2B recommendations engine helps connect partner businesses' websites, sending traffic back-and-forth between the two -- for instance, a hair salon and a tanning salon.


As for support, Ocoos offers a fee-based concierge service to build and maintain your website, and has 24-hour customer service.

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