Premade WordPress Sites from BaseSites

January 7, 2008 Posted by Tyler Cruz

The following is a paid review and is completely of my own opinion and is not influenced by being paid. If you’re interested in having me review your site or product, please view my advertising page.

Update: Since posting this review, BaseSites has implemented a lot of my suggestions, so a lot of the concerns mentioned have already been addressed. In addition, BaseSites is offering a special $50 discount to TylerCruz.com blog readers. Just drop my name when ordering :)

BaseSites.com is a new online company which sells pre-built websites made with WordPress. In addition to selling “ready-to-go” websites, BaseSites also offers extra services such as Hosting, Custom Articles, Graphic Design, and Link building. However, I’ll be focusing on their pre-built sites for sale in this review since it is their primary service.

Their goal, as stated on their website, is to “provide internet marketers, new or experienced, ready made content rich web sites which are ready to promote“, and for all intensive purposes, this is what they manage to do. However, their way of doing so is questionable.

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Basically, BaseSites is a small company made up of 16 people which create basic, themed, websites which are completely ready to launch. Each site they sell includes a domain name, around 10 custom articles (already written and added into the site), and custom graphics and theme (more on that later).

Before I discuss the actual pre-made sites for sale in more detail, I need to bring attention to a major navigation and usability flaw. Their “Sites for Sale” page organizes their available sites for sale by category, with each site being listed accordingly. However, each link opens up in a new window which is completely pointless other than annoying the user. That page then links to the actual site for sale, which again opens up in yet another new window.

What occurs as a result is the user quickly ending up with 1-2 dozen new windows being opened (or 1-2 dozen new tabs depending on the browser/settings) while trying to view the various sites for sale. I can understand BaseSites wanting to open up the actual sites for sale new windows, but they should not be opening up the detailed pages in new ones.

In fact, it would be even easier if more details were listed on the main “Sites for Sale” page, such as the price and URL, and then some screenshots posted on the detail page. The detail page should also have a PayPal “Buy It Now” button instead of requesting the user to manually send payment to make it easier to purchase; plus it would increase conversions. It would also be nice to be able to search or browse the various sites for sale by price.

Premade Sites for Sale

Most of the sites available at BaseSites.com cost around $350, with the better themed ones costing $500.

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Below are some of their available sites for sale:

Again, each site includes a domain name, around 10 custom articles (already written and added into the site), theme, and custom graphics. The designs range in quality, but most of them are very basic and of rather low quality.

The Bad

I have two main problems with their sites for sale:

First, it is rather misleading as it appears as though BaseSites created all of those designs themselves, but upon closer inspection I discovered that they are simply using themes made by other people. For example, their “Top 10″ series websites for sale such as top10innewyork.com are using the rather well-known Revolution theme. For $200, BaseSites would get unlimited use of the theme for resale, and it only costs $80 to buy the actual theme. Another example is olympicgamesbeijing.net which is using a theme from StyleShout.com.

In addition, I found that some of the so-called “custom articles” are simply duplicated content which can be found on hundreds of other sites. This again, is very questionable, especially since it is labelled as “custom”. The problem with using duplicated content is mainly from the poor-SEO weight it gives. Hopefully BaseSites isn’t plagiarizing the content from other sites, and is obtaining it through legitimate means, but even so, it is very misleading since it is labelled as custom.

So in reality, BaseSites.com is simply selling repackaged content. They are selling 10 custom articles, a basic domain name worth $9, and an existing theme from a WordPress template site. To be fair though, they do customize the theme to suit the website’s topic.

The second main issue I have with BaseSites are their prices. They are charging $500 for sites such as top10innewyork.com when a webmaster could write the articles themselves for free, purchase the theme for $80, the domain for $9, and either do the graphics themselves or pay someone $25-$50 (the graphics are not exactly jaw-dropping), saving themselves at least $350.

 

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The Good

Now, there is an upside to purchasing prepackaged websites, even if they are marked up, and that is: convenience.

For $300-$350 you can purchase a site that is completely ready to go – you don’t need to do anything and can have it up and running as soon as you upload it to your server and wait for the DNS nameservers to propagate.

Therefore, BaseSites.com is most useful to affiliate marketers and AdSense arbitragers. They can purchase a site, throw up their own AdSense ads or affiliate offers, and be all finished. They don’t even need to write content for the site since it already comes with content (albeit duplicated).

I know from my own experience trying affiliate marketing that it’s a pain creating small niche websites by getting them designed, coded, and then having to write content for them.

The Verdict

In the end though, I would not recommend BaseSites.com. I haven’t written many negative paid reviews before, and so I feel somewhat bad for having to give BaseSites one. However, the owner of BaseSites did mention that he  “would appreciate honest feedback”, which is a good sign as it means he’s open to constructive criticism.

I’d therefore recommend the following suggestions and tips:

  • Reduce the price of the sites. I understand that you need to make a profit and need it to be worth your time, but from a purchasers point of view, they are paying $300-$500 for something that they could easily create themselves for around $100. You are selling convenience more than a quality product, so you need to price that accordingly. This level  of convenience is not worth $300-$500 to most people. I’d suggest reducing your prices by half.
  • The packages would be more valuable if the content was 100% unique and written for each site specifically.
  • Please stop the “sites for sale” detail links from opening up in a new window, and try to implement some of the suggestions for that area stated near the beginning of this review.
  • Work on improving the rest of BaseSites.com by adding more content and details such as finishing the Testimonials page, improving the home page, etc., and making it more professional by improving the spelling and grammar and improving things such as basic formatting; if you can’t impress people with your company’s site, it will be even harder to impress them with the sites you are trying to sell. 

If all BaseSites does is cut their prices and work on some of my other suggestions, they would improve ten-fold, and then actually be a very viable solution for affiliate marketers and AdSense arbitragers.

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Posted: January 7th, 2008 under Paid Reviews  

21 Responses to “Premade WordPress Sites from BaseSites”

  1. BaseSites says:

    Excellent comments there Tyler, worth every dollar of this review.

    We will know be working over the next couple of days sorting on our site issues – but to be honest, we were trying to put more effort into the sites we sell.

    Also, you mentioned that none of the content is original… Can you tell me how you come to this conclusion? We run all articles written by our copy writers through copyscape.com to double check they have not been copied from other sites.

    I’ll leave with the last note: the price. It takes us a very long time from planning, writing, to designing and tweaking the themes to get the sites looking as good as we can make them. This is one area we’re not going to be able to move on… however I have taken serious notes on your other comments.

    Great review, and I really appreciate your honest feedback – That’s the only way were going to be able to improve!

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      BaseSites,

      Actually, I didn’t say that “none of the content” was original, I wrote “some of the so-called “custom articles” are simply duplicated content…” :)

      I didn’t check every page on every site for obvious reasons, but if you look at http://www.mysexybmw.com/bmw-concept-models/ you will find that Google returns many websites with the same content if you copy/paste the various paragraphs.

      As for not changing the price, please reconsider. But if you’re adamant about not lowing the price, you will need to compensate by offering great quality on the product, which it appears you are open to doing :-)

      I’m glad you took the review as a chance to improve and work on the site, instead of blindly ignoring the suggestions as many would have done.

      • BaseSites says:

        Someone can create a site for $100 and write the content themselves, but it will take at least a few days to get everything in order, plus the site structure working correctly.

        Also, thanks for the heads up on that page. I’m going to a) get all sites re-checked b) change that page and any others and C) make sure this never happens again.

        • Alan Johnson says:

          I’d also recommend putting the advice Tyler has offered to good use. Your website definitely has potential, but a few improvements here and there are a must.

          Alan Johnson

      • Will says:

        I have to agree with tyler that some of the sites I looked at are not original. In fact, some of them are common wordpress themes. These don’t seem like sites either… more like blogs. It wouldn’t hurt to validate the pages as well. Coming from a business that sells landing pages, I would expect the code to be compliant with today’s standards.

        http://validator.w3.org/

  2. Do they do anything extra to WordPress in the “base” package, i.e. SEO?

  3. EurekaDiary says:

    Nice review. I definitely see the value in this service but I would ask you this:

    If you have $500 and are going to buy a website, why buy one that BaseSites recently made instead of going to DP, SP or WF and picking up a more AGED domain with backlinks and so forth. Seems like a better investment to me. Or take that $500 and invest in a custom WP theme and then build the content yourself.

    Regardless, they are obviously putting effort into these sites which I can appreciate. I make these types of site myself but I keep them. I agree with Tyler that these are a bit too expensive because of their cookie cutter nature.

    Keep up the good work though and continue to refine your project… maybe we’ll do business sometime.

  4. Some pretty basic sites there for $300 to $500.

  5. Inflated prices, for domains which pretty much suck before the content is even viewed.

    For someone looking to save time, its a nice idea. But there’s plently they can and should be doing!

    Overall, nice review :)

  6. DotDriven says:

    I like the idea quite a bit but agree with everyone else, the prices are too high. I don’t mean the work involved isn’t valued at that price but if you want to “mass market” then you should work on ways of bringing the price down.

    Who is your target customer? Are you trying to find people who want their first sites? Affiliate marketers looking to save time with premade content? Or just “adsense” people looking to build their network of content sites?

    Regardless who you consider your main target customer, think about what they would want to spend on something like that. The only ones I can think of that would want to spend a pretty hefty amount for a brand new site with no traffic or revenue is someone looking for their first site and not as much info the monetization or ROI. But anyone that is dealing with investments and has to make sure their ROI is positive, they are going to look for something much cheaper or just make their own.

    But if you priced your products for those people, you could find quite a lot of customers. Just make sure it’s in their best interest and they can recoup the cost effectively.

    Maybe that means only 5 articles instead of 10. Or maybe you use only a small set of basic templates that you customize so you/your team knows the templates inside out and can pump them out much faster.

    For me, I’d like those types of premade sites for either populating with affiliate products making them nice little “landing sites”. Basic adsense arbitrage would also be possible. But at the prices you have it would take way to long to cover the cost of the site itself to make it worthwhile. And I’m the perfect type of customer because I hate spending the time to build up the sites and landing pages lol.

    The prices you are asking are more in the area of what “established” sites with some traffic and revenue already coming in would go for. And maybe that is the direction your business should go for. If you can get some decent traffic to these sites and show the revenue over a few months I don’t think you would have any problems selling them at around that price on forums and such.

    I like the idea of the service but it definitely feels like you are pricing yourself out of the market where most of your customers would come from.

  7. Will says:

    At first I thought it would be cheaper to buy from template monster or something, but then I saw that it also came with content. That’s something I don’t see everyday :O

  8. BaseSites says:

    Hi Tyler,

    I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you again for the very honest, and practical review yesterday.

    I’m pleased to let you know that in under 24 hours, we have taken your advice on board and changed the following:

    1) Add screen shots on detail pages
    2) Changed the links that opened in a new window to open in the same window.
    3) Removed the testimonials page (until we get some customer feedback)
    4) Checked spelling and grammar
    5) Reduced the prices of all sites by $50
    6) Added paypal buttons to the site spec pages
    7) Added site link and price to the sales page
    8) We are currently reviewing all duplicate content issues (which so far are only on the auto web sites – the copy writer that wrote the content for those sites went home early today, and will not return)

    We will continue working on improving the customer web site experience with basesites, improve the overall quality of web site design and copy and above all, have a play with the pricing on some higher/lower content filled sites.

    If any of Tyler’s readers is interested in a site, I’ll offer a further $50 discount – Just mention Tyler’s blog and I’ll send you a paypal invoice.

    Also, any readers of Tyler’s blog who plans on launching a web based service/product, I’d recommend ordering a review from him! At $100 – It’s a steal :)

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      I’m very glad to see that you too my suggestions to heart, and implemented a lot of them. As you can see, small, simple changes can really improve a site a lot.

      I’m going to edit the review to mention your extra $50 discount now.

      Feel free to consider purchasing a “follow-up review” in a couple months or so as you continue to improve BaseSites. Hopefully I’ll be able to write it with a better disposition :)

  9. David Chew says:

    Thanks for the information.

  10. Basesites says:

    Just one last note from me :)

    I understand that a website with a face is alot more valuable, especially selling products or web sites. I have just added a link to my peronal blog, which has some info on why I set up basesites in the first place.

    feel free to check it out: http://www.absorbingtheworld.co.uk/blog

    Tyler – This isn’t spam, but if your not happy with me adding this here, please delete and I won’t be offended :)

  11. I hope no one actually bought into that crap. Most of those themes are really basic with just a nice header and very little true customization. Not to mention some of the domains are a little silly.

  12. [...] take for example his post review on Premade WordPress Sites from BaseSites. The review was started by introducing the site being reviewed, at this point Tyler gives the [...]

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