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What to know before you have Hibu build your eebsite

Deciding who to hire to design and build your website can be a confusing and frustrating experience. Sometimes it is difficult to know exactly what questions to ask and who to trust. It is helpful, then, to know which options come with inherent drawbacks.

As developers, we often are approached by exasperated business owners who had their sites built elsewhere. What was delivered was not what they expected. Below we list some of the issues we have seen with sites built by the company previously known as Yellow Book, now called Hibu.

Site ownership

You might assume that since you have provided all the content for the website, the URL has the name of your business, and you’re paying a high monthly fee, that you own the website. Not true. You are only renting it. Hibu uses proprietary software that does not allow the site to be moved. If you decide to part ways with Hibu for any reason, you lose your website.

Domain name ownership

In a sense you never really own a domain name. You are effectively renting it from ICANN. But when the domain name is registered in your name, you have first dibs at renewing it and keeping control of it. With Hibu, the domain name is registered in their name, you rent it from them for more money than it would cost you to rent it directly from ICANN, and they charge you an additional fee to take over the registration.

Hibu hosting

Hibu builds and hosts your website. If you find another company that offers a similar hosting plan for less, you cannot move the site. So long as you have a site with Hibu, they have to host it.

High gees

At the time of writing this blog, our client was paying $147 a month to rent his four-page website. That comes to nearly $2000 per year! We can build a very nice basic website for that. It would be search engine optimized and much easier to update. Most developers charge a one-time fee to design and develop the site and you can keep the same website for many years. Think of the savings!

Hibu’s mobile responsive site is separate

All websites today must be built to work well on both traditional desktop computers and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Mobile responsive sites know what size screen someone is accessing the site from, and the site is delivered in a format that works best on that size screen. Hibu sites work differently. If you want a mobile responsive site with them they build you two websites. One is for desktop computers and the other is for mobile devices. That means that you have two separate websites to maintain. With every change you make on one site, you have to then go and make it on the second site. Additionally, having two separate sites can negatively affect search engine ranking.

Hibu CMS interface is not intuitive

Hibu says that their Content Management System will allow the business owner to make changes to the site themselves. We build and maintain websites for a living and we found the interface to be frustrating to use and unnecessarily complicated.

22 thoughts on “What to know before you have Hibu build your eebsite”

  1. Hibu has approached me and gotten me to sign a one year contract. So far, all I have seen is a mock up of what they plan to do. Can I just pay them for the work they have done, and have say, you, do my website for me? :)

    windowpeople.pro needed to be deconstructed last year due to server failure. I cannot do the code necessary to add any pictures or content. I LOVE my web page. My son put it together but works for Spotify and has no time to listen to his mother’s stupidity.

    • All of this lies to for you to create more business. Work at hibu before posting false stuff to toot your own horn. Its CSS format not building two websites dummy

      • Jenny’s response is very oddly worded. And while I have no knowledge of whether Trevellyan.biz is a great company or not, just reading the Yelp reviews on Hibu shows that this article has merit. I came across it in a Google search while doing some research for an article.

  2. I had Hibu build our website this year and it was the most frustrating, stressful experience. They outsource their designers overseas, so when you give directions, they don’t understand what you are trying to tell them, don’t do it, or half-ass it. So then you have to go back and tell them to do it again. It took 6 months to get the website going, because of this. Then, their billing department started billing me for the site being live several months before it even went live, and has been arguing with me over these charges, telling me the website was live several months before it went live – um, no, it wasn’t! I would NEVER recommend them to anyone.

    • I had a website with Hibu from 2014-2015 and NOT an inch of it made sense to my company, the site didn’t even reflect my company services. I had requested change after change and they were NOT MET. I refused to pay for something I was NOT getting and they THREATENED to send my company to collection and I had to pay them. I was harassed daily, after being told about the collection action. I also was to receive a credit for this fiasco and NOT once did I see it in my bank account or any of invoice and I repeatedly asked and still NO one can show me where they applied the credit. I DO NOT recommend Hibu, if you want a website and want it professional looking HIRE some else. Unfortunate enough our company is contracted with them for another year and will always be displeased. I don’t like the layout(GENERIC) we have now, my 3 year old grandson could do a better job.
      I am so thankful I found this blog.

  3. Hibu has been difficult to deal with. They charged me $600 up front and $100 a month for 12 months, which seemed fair for what they promised. They promised to design a site, register it in hundreds of different places, and drive traffic to it. The design of the website was ok, but the content on it was not written by a polished speaker of the English language. I had to do a lot of edits myself. Their interface is reasonably intuitive, but it freezes all the time. I wonder if that is intentional.

    After a month, I complained that I wasn’t getting much traffic. They offered to do “SEO” for an additional $600 a month with a one year commitment. I think they planed to upcharge me all along.

    • Hi David,

      $600/month for SEO seems expensive to me. Of course, if you were a large company with a fat marketing budget, it could make sense, but $7,200 might be better spent on a new site with SEO as part of the package. You might also consider spending part of your monthly budget on something like Google Adwords. Please contact us if there’s anything we can do to help.

  4. The comments that I have read are spot on. Hibu published a new site for us and made it live without authorization. No company logo, pictures of other manufactures telephones and wording from someone that does not speak English.They started billing immediately for the mess of a website. They ran up unauthorized charges on our credit card and I have now had to fight for 4 months to get them removed. They are now harrasing us with emails and calls and threatening to turn us over to collections for their mistakes. We did get our old site put back up but are now having trouble getting out of this painfol mess. Don’t buy into Hibu’s BS ($$$$$$$).

  5. A six year old can build a better website than the people at Hibu! Everything about the company sucks!

    • Hi Melissa,

      That depends on who owns the domain, i.e. who is listed as the Registrant in the whois records for the domain. As long as you are the registrant, you own the domain.

    • PMFJI – but this grabbed my attention. What you want/need to do is TRANSFER your domain name from them (HiBu) to you. This is a fairly simple procedure that any domain registrar can help you with – the catch is that they (HIBU) has to agree to the transfer – otherwise you’re stuck and yes, if you dropped them you would “lose” your domain name. They will have to initiate the domain transfer with whichever of the registrars they used (GoDaddy.. Network SOlutions… etc.) You’ll get an email or two that you’ll need to respond to. The bottom line – YOU need to be the ADMINISTRATIVE contact on your domain name in order to have control of it. Hope this helps.

  6. So many negative comments but I have several friends who have hibu sites and they love them! And they show up high on search results! I guess if you like not having to spend thousands upfront hibu is a better option than what you guys offer here. Some people have thousands to spend upfront and some of us like to pay as we go!

  7. Do your research. They said how easy it is and affordable. That was the first lie. After I cancelled the contract , four days After I signed, they kept charging me and then told me that I had $32 monthly fee that I had to pay for a year. Also 5- 1 star reviews showed up on my web page from 5 different search engines ,all of which were made up, with no other reviews.

  8. I very much enjoyed and appreciated your article Suzanne. We are a small digital marketing agency located outside DC.

    Imagine the office manager(OM) of a small business tasked by the boss to put up a website for their business. The OM turns to Hibu, or any number of similar companies. Despite all the problems mentioned above, Hibu manages to put up a simple “business card” website, and OM continues to pay them.

    A year goes by… The boss asks the OM, How much business did our website generate? Or, why does our website look so lousy on my phone? And, How much have we paid them so far?

    I wouldn’t want to wearing that OM’s shoes!

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