Sadly I don’t know much about cars yet I have owned them for decades. If something goes wrong with my car it would be easy for a mechanic to sell me something that I don’t need. They could sell me a gallon of headlight fluid and I would buy it. I almost always consult family members who understand cars before I agree to any repairs.

Many real estate professionals rely on websites and technology these days, as much as they rely on their cars, and most know as little about how it all works as I know about my car.

I don’t think anyone has to be an auto mechanic to drive a car, and I don’t think a Realtor needs to be a Web developer to use a website or blog. In fact, I think learning Web design or coding is a ridiculous waste of time for the average business person.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a friend who was about to pay $2,000 to have a WordPress blog moved, with one minor customization. I was outraged when I heard the price quote. There are people who charge less than $500 and will do a great job. Moving a WordPress blog isn’t generally considered to be a large, expensive project.

People can charge whatever they like, and it isn’t my place to decide the value of those services, but I would encourage anyone who is engaging a WordPress expert or a Web designer to do a little shopping and to compare prices.

Cheaper isn’t always better, which is why it is so important to ask for references. I had considered hiring out a small project last year and I got three bids. The highest was $1,700 and the lowest was $400.

There isn’t anything so special about a real estate website or blog that it should have to cost more than other types of sites, yet it seems like Realtors in some cases pay a premium for these services, leading me to wonder if it isn’t like me and my car.

They see me coming and can tell I am clueless, and it may be their only chance to unload the headlight fluid that is taking up valuable space in the back room.

Technology has evolved over the last few years and custom jobs are simpler and more common. In fact, just about everything is custom these days. A decade ago, a custom site could cost $5,000 or much more. I have seen some wonderful sites that have come in at around $1,000 dollars.

When looking for help with a website or a blog, it is a good idea to look at examples of the work that the vendor has performed and ask for references.

I have heard too many horror stories from people who have had sites built and then need some support but cannot get any, or they need some small modifications and either cannot get them or the asking price for modifications is so high that they can’t afford it.

Ask a lot of questions before hiring someone to work on a website or to host one. Get references, look at sites they have built for other clients, and compare their prices. Find out how long they have been in business. Try to find out who their first clients were and if those people are still clients, or if they would use the service again.

Look at business websites or blogs. If you like the site, contact the owner and ask the owner who built it and if the owner has been happy with the service. There are so many people offering website design services, and a wide range of prices and experience levels.

Ask your friends who they are using and if they have been happy with the service. Don’t buy from the first speaker who comes to your Tuesday sales meeting.

Please don’t let anyone sell you headlight fluid — according to my son, there is no such thing. I would have known that sooner had I taken the time to do a little research.

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