4 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Free Website
I know, especially when you are starting your business or aren’t making a lot of money, paying for a website seems like something you would rather avoid. But a website is an important part of your business though. Too important to ignore in fact. Especially if you want to be seen as a serious professional and expert in your field. So I was shocked to hear that even some organisations that help businesses start up are recommending free website builders.
I know it is very hard to figure out who to trust and how much a good website costs. Mike Gingerich wrote an interesting post about this: How Much Does a Website Cost.
It breaks my heart when I hear about people that got over charged by a web designer. But I also see a lot of providers that sell websites for under $1000 using cheap and ineffective website builder tools.
So, you know you need a website but you’re not sure whether to build it yourself or hire a professional. You vacillate between the two on the hour. There are many online website builders that make it look easy, but is that right for your website? Commercials come on TV that offer free websites - are those okay?
Well, there are a lot of things to consider when you know you need a website but aren’t sure whether you should build it yourself or not.
Are You a Website Designer?
This might seem like a silly question. But, if you’re not a website designer there are so many factors about website design that you probably aren’t aware of. Sure, some of the online builders produce what looks like a perfectly decent website, but is it really providing for you all that your website can be? How would you know since you’re not a website designer?
There Is Skill Involved
Building websites is a very specific skill involving both artistic and technical skills. Website designers understand the difference between shared hosting, collocated hosting, and dedicated hosting, and what kind you need for your type of website. They also understand how the color wheel works and what will look best on different screens. In addition, they understand what search engine optimization is and what it means to your website’s success.
Website Builders Aren’t That Great
With website builders you’re stuck with their templates, and their idea of what makes a good website. They can be very limiting in terms of design as well as what you can put on the website. They have ultimate control and if you have a subject matter they don’t like, they will cancel you.
A lot of builders use something called “Flash,” but any website designer worth a grain of sand will tell you that you do not want a Flash website if you want your site to work well on mobile devices. The builders that claim to use HTML5 are still in their infancy and having issues.
How Do You Make Your Money?
If you don’t make your money building websites, why spend time building a site when you can spend time making more money? The fact is it’s going to take you a lot longer to build a working website without the right skills than it will take someone who is experienced to do it. During the time you would have spent on the site, you can likely earn enough money to pay for the website. As they say, time is money. Spend yours wisely.
When you invest in a professional website designer, you’re going to get a lot for your money. You’re going to get a beautiful responsive website that works. You’re going to have peace of mind that if something goes wrong you can call on a professional. You’re going to have a secure website that doesn’t give away private client information.
Finally, do not ever use a free website builder and expect to be taken seriously in the business world. You need a real website with structure internally and externally that works. Depending on your skill level and how you earn your money, it’s probably going to be better for you to hire a professional.There is nothing like a free lunch.... errrr websiteClick To Tweet
I speak from experience
Before I became a professional Social Media consultant and website developer I built two sites with weebly. While the experience was not bad and the support superb, I quickly ran out of the options of the “free” plan. When I finally switched from weebly to WordPress I actually had to hire someone to delete all the references to the site builder. If you have a template website you are never really free from the platform you used to create it.
I hope this article saved you from falling into a trap. If you would like to talk to me about your options without any obligation to hire me please set up a time to talk:
Don’t worry - I won’t charge for a short conversation and I welcome your questions in the comments!
Some behind the scenes fun