I’ve been creating websites for quite some time now and have seen and worked on a variety of websites from businesses as small as a single employee to businesses with multi million dollar revenues every year. Because of my expertise, people who know me are always asking me for advice about their websites. One common question is about free websites. People are trying to get their ideas and businesses out for the world to see and sometimes they don’t have the big money it can take to have a website professionally designed. There are an increasing number of services out there for the DIY website, but is having a website built for free really worth it? Will that free website work as hard for your business as you do?
I agree there may be some situations where a free website will meet the needs of a business, but I think what people don’t realize is the important things that their free website may be missing. Sure the price sounds good, but is it costing you more money long term?
Here’s three things that your free website might be missing:
1. Web Standards
So you might be thinking, “Why should I care about my site using web standards?” Web standards set the baseline for how different devices communicate with your website. By not having a site setup this way, you could be losing some potential customers because their mobile device or browser doesn’t display your website very well. With so many mobile devices out there, you should really make sure that your site is mobile friendly.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a big buzzword today. There’s so much competition to be seen online these days, having your site optimized for the search engines is a must.
I recently came across a website that I knew was designed using a free website service. Curious, I checked out the code and discovered that none of the basic SEO best practices were followed!
When you have a website built for free what incentive do they have to optimize it for the web? How will potential customers find you online?
3. Flexibility and Growth
There are pros and cons to everything. Free websites are no different. A big pro might be the price tag, but there’s no doubt you’ll run into certain limitations with free websites. Whether it’s a limitation on the number of pages you can have, the types of functionality that your site can have, not being able to use your own domain (yourcompany.com), or just the overall design of the site. You don’t always have the flexibility that you need with building a free website. As your business grows, you will need your website to be flexible and grow with you.
With all the websites that we build, we make sure that they follow the latest web standards, are optimized for the search engines, and display well on mobile devices. While the price tag on a free website might be attractive, just be aware that it could actually cost you more in the long run. If the search engines can’t find you, and your site doesn’t show well on all devices, that will affect your bottom line. While we don’t build websites for free, we can still build you a great website that is mobile friendly, without a down payment. We’re making building a great website easy and affordable, one website at a time.
Josh is owner and lead developer at Clicks & Mortar Websites. He's an expert in designing and developing websites and loves helping other entreprenuers create a great first impression online. Learn more about working with Josh and his team here.