Why should I buy a website when I can make one for free?????
These days there are a variety of free website makers for business owners to use, and no doubt there are pro’s and con’s to using these platforms.
In todays’ market place, the internet and social media are the undisputed king in advertising, far surpassing the more traditional mediums such as newspaper, mail, radio or even TV. The main reason for this is our ever increasing use of smart phones, tablets and mobile internet to allow instant access to whatever a customer might want at any given time. You have to be there or go home.
Now lets’ consider the scope of this medium. The World Wide Web is just that, worldwide. Great, that puts us before literally BILLIONS of people, just what we want. Consider also that your competition are also looking to put their business before the same market, which means of course, your website is out there among many millions of others all competing for the same space, the first page on the search engine listing. Literally the eye of the needle.
Free website makers generally have little or no SEO or Search Engine Optimisation options available and, this is key, the prettiest website in the world is useless if nobody sees it.
Here are 15 things to consider when looking at website makers:
1: Unprofessional Domain Name
When you make a free website your domain name will most likely look something like this www.freewebsitebuilder.com/yourbusinessname. Whereas this may not seem important, having your own domain name is an important aspect of your marketing. When searching for you, potential customers will see and judge your business on the quality of your advertising. When you have your own domain name, which looks like: www.yourbusinessname.com.au you will project a MUCH more professional image. In having your own domain you will in most cases have your own email account as well, such as email@example.com. How cool is that?
To achieve any of this you will need to register a domain name and get your website files hosted. There is a small fee on these things, although it usually works out to be around $15 to $20 per month for as long as you have your website. A service that is NOT offered by free website makers.
2: Updating your web site look.
Most search engines and indeed your customers will be looking for your website to change. Just like signage or regular advertising spaces in papers or on TV, the ads that work best are the freshest. Most add agencies have formula that they use to determine when and how to update the image they project. On most popular free website makers once you choose a design for your website there is no way to change it. This is fine, although if at any point in the future you wish to change the look of your website. There is no way to easily do this.
3: Staying fluid in a fluid market
The online marketing business is EXPLODING. The growth in this industry is fuelling great competition for your advertising dollars. What this means for you is choice and, just as we mentioned earlier, being able to move with the times will directly influence your bottom line.
Many free website makers lock you in by not allowing transferal of your website to another host thereby severely limiting your options for growth and change.
If you decide to get your own domain in the future and put it into a wordpress platform. You will have to re-build the whole website. Free website makers are great if you just want a small web presence where people are going to put your domain name straight into the URL bar of your search browser. However, while their user interface is friendly, they are very limited as to what can be achieved.
4: Loading Speed, is it that important?
If you can, remember a time when you were trying to find some information on a website and, you choose a website that looks like it has the answer for you… then it takes 15 seconds for the page to load. If this was your website you have just lost 95% of your customers because… frankly people don’t like waiting. Using the 3 second rule, if you don’t entertain, answer or give your audience a call to action within 3 seconds, you lose them.
5: Only Free For Basic Websites
Often these platforms are free for very basic websites, although if you have a bigger website, anything complicated or an e-commerce (shopping) site it will cost you money anyway.
6: Free websites are Not good for SEO
Search Engine Optimization is essential if you want people to find your website. It is essential to any advertising media to get your business in front of your potential customers. If your website does not come up in the first few pages of a search, you are not reaching your customers and this website is useless.
According to www.internetlivestats.com In January of 2014 there were 180,000,000 active websites on the internet. In September of 2014 that number hit 1 billion.
With such a flurry of websites and the information accessible to the everyday person, search engine optimization has never been so important. Optimizing your website means that you will be much higher (ultimately on page 1) of the search engines results for your business.
7: Often FREE is Not Free
Let’s go back to the old rule of thumb…you get what you pay for! These free website maker companies need to make money too. So fairly often, upon sign up they will ask you for a credit card to keep on file. Some free website maker companies will offer you a free trial… only to charge your credit card once the trial period is up. Often being more expensive than your own domain and hosting costs, if you were to do it yourself.
The other way that they make money to keep your website free but charge you for emails, pictures, website transfer… often these charges are outrageous on website maker platforms.
8: Ads On Your Website
These services need to make money too, so most of the time there is an agreement that you allow the free website maker company to include their own banner ads into your web page.
9: They Can Shut Down Your Website
Your website can be shut down with no warning. Inside the T’s & C’s of these services it is clearly stated that they can shut your web page down with no warning. If they do this it can be almost impossible to recover your lost data and there is usually no way to back up or save your account.
10: You Don’t Own Your Website
This is not owned by you… you are just creating a sub-page on their website. This means that everything that you put up there is no-longer yours and they can do anything with the information that you have provided.
11: They Can Sell Your Information
Like any business, these websites need to make money for someone… if you are not paying for the product, then you may actually be the product. Collections of email addresses and phone numbers are highly sought after and people pay a lot of money to get hold of big lists of people that they can sell things too.
Free website maker services are infamous for spreading malware, this is because their security is not good or for monetary gain. Either way it hurts your business, website reputation and Search Engine Optimization.
13: May Become Part of a Link Farm
A lot of these website maker services come and go so quickly because they are trying to make money quickly and unethically. Once they have thousands of pages, created by users they sell them to spammers, gambling sites and online scammers.
14: No Mobile Responsiveness
No doubt the greatest change in our lives, in only one generation, is the internet, closely followed by mobile smart phones. We now expect to access information anywhere, anytime and if you are available, you’re just not in the race. Most of these website maker platforms do not support mobile, so your website will not be mobile responsive. This is very bad for Search Engine Optimization and will make your website inaccessible, or worse still, annoying to anyone who is not on a desktop computer. Another reason why these website maker platforms are no good for small business.
15: No Re-Direct If Service Goes Down
Lastly, what if your page goes down? Well there are no re-direct services. So if your business relies on getting leads through your website and the site goes down. You cannot re-direct links to a new domain name. Your site and information will just be gone.
Website Makers are not all the same. Websites are not as expensive as you may think and it could end up costing you heaps more time, money and tears using these website making websites that claim to be free.
At Capijara, our team is more than willing to give you a Complimentary Call to discuss options relating to your website and digital marketing.
To organize a No Obligation Call Back Click Here