Free – why are people afraid of free?

Many Content Management Systems (CMS) are free. That is, they are open source. That means free to everyone I know. People like me develop them for fun. Some people develop them to do something meaningful. Others because then they become very employable. These CMS aren’t branded with anything other than your branding; they don’t have adverts unless you want them to. They are usually easy to install and quite easy and free to use.

These aren’t grotty, not very good cheap Content Management Systems, these are the best and probably the most common in use today. You can and often will be asked to pay a lot of money for something a tenth as good. Frequently the bad web designer or developer may charge you for a free CMS. Of course, many people disguise what they are selling. The good developer wll charge you, but tell you what you are getting and what the options are.

I know this because I used to work for a place where we made small Content Management Systems for Local Education Authorities. This place charged a lot and its products were simplistic, hard to use and nowhere near as good as many of the open source or free products. The difference is that the company I worked for made a lot of money and the products are mostly now not used and are certainly not maintained. We charged for fixing anything that was wrong even if it was our fault. The open source products on the other hand are well maintained and are developing fast. Updates are free.

In recent times the most I’ve seen a company charge for a CMS is £40,000. It amazes me but people do pay this money but get almost nothing for it.

Depending on what you want, it is easy to install a free fully featured Content Management System for you in ten minutes. Deciding which CMS you want may take you a couple of days or even longer. It will probably take you about a day to learn to use it and a couple of days to use it well. Some of the most complicated systems can take a few weeks to get expert at, most just take a few days.

I and the many people like me make our money by advising you. We mostly make a reasonable and fair income. You pay for our expertise not our salesmanship and you save a lot of money and get a good product. Mostly you know how much you are going to pay upfront and you know what you are going to get at the end. We also charge for cusomising these products and making them closely fit you and your company. Usually this is just requires finding a theme or template you like and customising it. You may want a theme or add-on building from scratch. We do that too and you pay for our skill and time when we do this.

A while ago I went to talk to one company and should have walked out as soon as I got there. I’m not a salesman, I don’t wear a suit, but that is what they were expecting. Maybe I didn’t communicate properly but gave honest advice although it was obvious they weren’t interested. They preferred to pay a fortune for something they could have got free. But then they did get to talk to a salesman in a suit and being a company they understand salesmen in slick suites. Their site took a long time to ‘develop’ and I notice only a couple of months later it has gone live Soon they will have to pay for updates…

Why are they frightened of free?

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