Is a free website worth the money

We see the commercials out there targeting individuals and small companies to use a free website service. When people hear about these services they think first about pricing without considering ample value or longterm pitfalls from these services.

These are advertised as the perfect solution for small businesses. There are some draw backs to many of these services that aren’t advertised as well. Should your business use a free website builder?

Limited Design Capabilities

Many of these website builders advertise their ability to offer a large amount of free stock images.  They have so many templates to choose from.  Even with these cookie-cutter options, you may only be able to create 10 or so unique designs. Many of these free builders require your site to display advertisements across your website.

These advertisements are displayed as a means of paying for their services.  The advertisements are marketing to various business. You have little control over the type of ads that display across your website. These ads may ruin your intended design. Your visitors will see something that is now competing for their attention.

Business Reputation

What does a free website say to future clients? A free website with ads might hurt trust. Compare this experience with a competitors website. If the competitor has no ads across their website, are visitors more likely to go there?Clients are internet savvy today.  They are always aware of websites that look unprofessional.

Design and Branding

Many businesses believe that if they make it, clients will come.  It’s not about creating a website simply to have one. What people forget is having a website that lacks some of the latest creative features will leaving your site looking technically behind others.Some people believe that if you are merely building a website for the sake of having one, using free website builder services would suffice. What people fail to consider is that having a website that lacks creative features is no better than having no website at all. One of the main reasons people visit websites is because of the inherent features they present.Take into consideration the rise of popular social networking websites, they allow users to chat, share experiences, upload images, and even do business online, all within the same website. Majority of free builders do not provide the necessary features to incorporate message boards, chat rooms, online gaming, and merchant services among others.If your intention is to put up a website without these features, then you would be better off having it available only from your computer since not much interest will be generated for your website.

Design Tools and Support Options

The more tools that are available to users across the internet has grown over the last few decades. The new tools available might not be the best tools for your business.  Websites aren’t one size fits all. If this were the case, large companies like Pepsi would be using a free website builder. Majority of free website builders provide only standard tools and support options.

New designers will find limited tools and support options. There are options to upgrade to more features beyond the free versions, but then why pay if the goal is to produce a free website? Free means limiting design and functions.

Lack of Website Features

On top of all the other missing features, one of the biggest “lack of features” is on your actual website. You will have a few free tools to add to your website, but the advanced features are not available without upgrading. These type of features are the ones that funnel in new customers.

Hosting Issues

Another important consideration when it comes to website building is website hosting. Great quality websites need an equally reliable and fast web hosting service to back it up. Many people do not recognize the fact that efficient bandwidth can cause a lot of money, something that free website services do not invest in.

For majority of free website builder services, the websites are placed into heavily loaded servers that can result in unreliable presence as well as unexpected errors. If your website goes down, then what good is having a website? Technical difficulties in terms of reliable servers and hosting services can result in a damaged reputation when a visitor is using your website.

Not as Advertised

Majority of free website services state that their goal is to remove thehassles and time required when building traditional websites. However, the reality is that some of the free website services are not as easy as drag and drop and can be complicated to a certain extent. For many novice designers, getting the website from the design stage to the final product can be very challenging primarily because of the lack of organization of feature.

Many free website builder services are not really completely free. For most of these website services, only the first 30 days are free and after that a nominal fee will be required from the website owner. If you fail to pay for the monthly fees, the website will be closed down. This is very unfortunate if you have invested time in building the website and have already established regular visitors.

Say you want to move your website away from their service. Many free services won’t allow the website files to leave their services. Even though you have invested time building the site.  A traditional site can be downloaded and moved to new web hosting services.

No Guarantees

It is important to recognize the fact that you get what you pay for. This means that since you are getting free service, you have no right to expect 100% website presence from the provider. Therefore, the possibility of waking up one day and finding your website inaccessible is not entirely far-fetched. If you are using the free website service for business, the results can be devastating for you.

Another thing that is vital to remember is that free website builder services do not guarantee Search Engine Optimization or SEO. This means that their templates are not SEO friendly, which will possibly result in your website being listed at the very last page of every search engine. Majority of search engines ignore websites from free services which means that they get very little exposure to the Internet. In terms of online presence, your website will be very negligible.

All of these reasons defeat the purpose of maintaining an online presence. A free website is a risk that can result in loss of credibility, slower websites, and possibly more headaches in website maintenance. If you truly want to have a worthwhile presence on the Internet, then free website builder services may not be the best solutions for you.

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