Recently I saw a post in a mastermind group: A business owner wants to cut costs on his website. Should he leave WordPress for Squarespace? Should he look for a cheaper hosting option?
When I started out I saw each of these decisions as unique. I’d make decisions about my website. I spent way too many hours comparing email providers. I reviewed ways to store and sell classes online.
After talking to experienced business owners in the same space, I came up with some guidelines that I still use today. They’ve simplified my life and saved costs.
(1) Start with 1 or 2 software choices that will be the foundation of your business. Make sure they “talk” to each other, i.e., integrate easily with no extra code. For me, that’s LeadPages and ConvertKit. It would take a lot for me to give up either one. When I consider a new service, that’s my first question: will it integrate easily?
I’ve looked at services that promise to integrate with Zapier.
That’s a hassle I decided I don’t need. Many people disagree with me: lots of business owners love Zapier and use it easily.
Check out Zapier for yourself. If you use it comfortably you’ll have more options available.
(2) Be aware that the cheapest software may have hidden costs.
I started with a bargain-basement web host. It worked beautifully for years. I did that till I started getting notices that some of my websites had picked up a virus. I’d have to pay extra to clean them. I was constantly getting pitches for upsells. And I had to pay extra if a website started delivering mysterious messages to visitors.
I also discovered a low-cost email service…which didn’t integrate easily with LeadPages or Convertkit. I’d have to write code every time I created a new landing page. That was a no-brainer.
(3) Don’t forget to add “tech support” and “cost of learning curve” when comparing software.
I use Convertkit for my email list, LeadPages for landing pages and Libsyn for my podcast. I use zero tech support for these functions and I don’t use a VA. If I switched services, I might save some money but I’d more than make up for it with tech support bills.
I place a very high value on access to a responsive, knowledgeable help desk. That’s saved me a fortune in
(5) If you sign up for a yearly subscription service, mark the expiration date on your calendar and mark a date to review your relationship at least 30 days before expiration. It’s not a bad idea to ask if they’re anticipating a price change, so you can shop around.
As you use software, you’ll realize what you need more of and less of. You may decide to keep the service but downgrade by a level. I did this with LeadPages: I wasn’t using their AB split testing. I get everything I need at a lower rate.
On the other hand, I didn’t mark the date for another service I use. I could have saved money painlessly by changing my plan to a lower level.
Some software sellers let you make changes mid-contract. Most don’t. You run the risk of a sudden renewal – occasionally at a higher price – for features you no longer need.
Bottom Line: Create your own checklist for choosing software. Mine is based on access to a help desk, easy integration with my favorite services, and the ability for me to DIY without hiring a tech.