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Author:  Hollow
November 21, 2008



Custom, Web design? – not at Xtra New Zealand – Its all pay for poor DIY tools

After doing some research in the Waitakere area recently we discovered that a lot of companies out West don’t actually have a website, with some further research we discovered that some do, but it’s just a holding page or a very poorly designed one, which is obviously built from a template and … just … well, doesn’t do much.

A little further research took us to the telecom.co.nz website as the root cause of this. After some seriously furious clicking to get to the right page we find some very disturbing slogans:

Get a Custom website built

but then

The Custom template layout is similar to the EasySite template layout with….


Get your website built for you by a website design expert

but then

Get Your Website Built for You from Templates

Telecom Xtra just doesn’t get it

Anyway needless to say that the words “custom” and “template” don’t really go hand in hand when it comes to web design, or anything in fact. Your web design is either done from scratch, in which case it’s custom, or it’s done from a template, in which case it might be “cusomized” from a template and the amount of customization varies.

Another little gem we found out recently, whilst dealing with an Xtra/Telecom website customer, is that if they register your domain for you, you cannot delegate the DNS (Domain Name System) services to anyone but them. This means they control your email, where your website is hosted, they’re responsible for your anti-spam and ultimately your website. With this in mind I HAVE to recommend to anyone in NZ that they DON’T register a domain with Xtra, period.

Overpricing to the MAX!

They advertise that you can register a .co.nz domain for as little as $39.95, when companies like iServe.co.nz (Free plug for them because we register our .co.nz domains through them) will register it for $38 flat, inclusive of GST and you can nominate your DNS nameservers and are not forced to be tied in to them forever. iServe also offer a basic hosting plan for $20 per month, you don’t get much with it but it’s enough if you can design the site yourself, maintain it yourself and you’re acustomed to sorting out email issues etc. Or you can nominate a different nameserver, for example if you’re hosted with us (Only offered to web design and technical customers, not offered as a service to the general public) you can use our nameservers and we can look after your site for you, not just the hosting, but we help you manage it, filter your email for spam and more, all for as little as $35 a month.

So how much does Xtra site design cost? This fabulous customization of a template, using an online program called EasySite, or EasySite Plus if you pay more? (Been available from LOTS of hosting companies for a long time and for free if you purchased a domain through them, if you’re in the U.K check out www.123-reg.co.uk) Well nothing, you use the site builder yourself to design it from a template, so you don’t actually get Web Design services, you get a program and do the work yourself.

The hosting is just silly!

Not only is this a terrible thing to offer, site design services by a program you have to use, but also their hosting isn’t great. They offer a $12.95 package, which granted is cheaper than us or iServe, but for that you have 200MB of storage, compared to only 20MB with iServe (the average 4 or 5 page site is less than 5MB in size unless it has LOTS of photos or extra programming) and only gives you 2GB of traffic compared to 7GB with iServe and 10GB with us, the traffic is the important part here, if you have a small site but hope for lots of business, the more traffic allowance you have, the better.

The next package they offer is no better, you get 10GB of storage (WAAAAAAAAAAAY to much for any standard website) and 400GB of transfer, (again WAAAAAAAAAAAY to much for any standard website) and you get upgraded from EasySite to EasySitePlus, everything else remains the same, you only get 2 domain email accounts, so address1@something.co.nz and address2@something.co.nz compared to unlimited with iServe and 5 with us here at Symsys Ltd. In typical Telecom style they charge for overuse, 10cents per 1MB you go over your traffic allowance (Easily done on a good month, trust me) and 75cents per 5MB over your storage allowance (Thankfully since they provide so much you shouldn’t exceed it).

So do they actually offer custom websites then?

No not really, if you click on their link to have a custom site built without templates you get the following as the second paragraph:

The Custom template layout is similar to the EasySite template layout with a banner design along the top and navigation along the left hand side so it is equally suitable if you already have an EasySite website and want to improve it.

So they’re not actually offering custom sites at all, they’re just offering you the EasySite pro package, so you’re once again doing it yourself, but paying them for it.


The conclusion is this, if you want a customised website that works for you, is optimised for search engines AND speed of loading then you need to go to a professional, we’re a professional and if you don’t like us there are quite a few other professional designers out there in NZ as well, you just need to look for them. We don’t use templates at all unless the customer asks us to make one for them, in which case we start from scratch and produce a template for the customer that they can then use to produce extra pages at their own will, instead of having to pay us.

It’s never a good idea to design your companies site yourself, unless you’re one or preferably all of the following:

A Graphic Designer

A Web Coder

An SEO specialist

We are in fact all of the above bundled into one company, we have a B.A.(Hons) qualified designer on staff, diploma qualified programmers and we have resources at our fingertips to provide quality, GENUINE, SEO services that will ensure your site gets found on a search in google, whether it gets found first or 21st just depends on how much competition you have, how much content you give us to put in to your site and how often the submissions to the engines get made. Making a site come top of the listings when you search for it’s company name is simple, making it come top of the search engines when someone searches for the service that company provides and doesn’t know the company exists, well that’s a science, and one we’re VERY good at.

If you want your site to look good, function properly and appear in the search engines (We’re not promising you’ll be at the top of them because that’s a promise NO ONE can keep), then you need to speak to us, or someone just like us, not design it yourself through Xtras proprietary software offer.

So once again, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t buy your domain, hosting or site design through Xtra, I don’t care if you don’t come to us, but for the love of good look elsewhere! Oh and if you REALLY must use easysite you can, check out their homepage here http://www.easysite.com for more information on what they provide. But seriously, and I mean SERIOUSLY, pay someone to do it, or download something like wordpress, joomla or another CMS (Content Management System), then buy some PROPER hosting from someone like iServe or WebBase or Site5 and do it yourself that way, at least CMS programs tend to be very searchable based on content.

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