We’ve all seen the ads; small businesses, organizations, and individuals are sold that creating a website is EASY and CHEAP. All you need is a drag and drop interface and you’re done. But there are many things to consider before investing your time and effort into these DIY set-ups.
- Cost – We get it, it’s expensive to start or run a business. We are in a time where DIY is thriving. However, what is it costing you? Not having a web designer means you’ll need to figure out what you want your website to look like, organize content, and make sure everything is working. This takes TIME and time is MONEY. Is it worth sacrificing the time that you could be working on other things for your business?
- Design – You want your website to reflect your business. You want a place where potential customers remember you and where returning customers are able to easily find information and make purchases. Your website needs to stand out and be unique. Usually with these plans, there isn’t a lot of room to customize the standard templates they give you. If they do give you options, they can be just as difficult to use as professional systems.
- Mobile – With iPhones and tablets, you’re likely to have a lot of visitors on your website that aren’t on a computer. This means that your site needs to be responsive so that it can scale for whatever device it is being viewed on. Some of the free providers include this, but others still rely on Flash to create the site. This is old and outdated technology and will not work on mobile devices, which means you could be losing customers and leads.
- Where is my content? – You own all of the content that you put onto a free website, but you are at their mercy when you want to switch providers (or if they go out of business!). There won’t be an easy way to export your content in the future. This can increase the cost down the road, when you’ll have to pay someone to transfer all of the content manually.
- Search engine optimization – Your business or organization has competitors and you want to be the first on Google. The problem with using these free websites is that they make it more difficult to move your website higher in page rankings. A lot of times your web address is: mycompany.freeweb.com or something similar to that. Not having it link to just mycompany.com can really hurt your SEO.
Summary: Don’t waste your time with these services. One could argue that having one of these websites or doing it yourself could actually hurt your business instead of helping it. Consult a web designer to create a site that helps your business grow.