Saving Money to Lose Money
We’ve reached a point where almost everyone uses the internet for one purpose or another. One of the things the internet is most used for now is finding goods and services. Because of this fact, it’s become absolutely essential for anyone who runs a business or company to have some sort of online presence. Studies have shown that it’s practically impossible to stay in business without at least a functional website for customers to go to online, and anyone who owns a business will tell you that, usually, you need a lot more than a simple website if you want to stay in business. The internet has increased company competition and made it more difficult for any one company to stand out among the crowd. SEO or search engine optimization is one of the most popular marketing practices centered on helping companies and organizations show up more often and in higher spots in search queries.
Whether you want to simply have something online for customers to find or you’re planning on implementing a full SEO and branding plan, the first step in creating a good online presence is having a website. The problem with this is that building a website isn’t something just anyone can do, and hiring a professional can be fairly expensive. This coupled with the necessity of companies having a website has created a market for easy DIY website builders. Why pay all that money to have a professional build your site when you can do it yourself for less than half the price or even for free? Well, believe it or not, there are a lot of reasons you shouldn’t use free site builders.
A few Reasons NOT to Use a Free Site Builder
- Visibly Bad Quality: The quality you get from a free site builder is nowhere near what you’ll get if you hire a professional web design team. Designing and developing a functional and user-friendly website is something that requires a lot of skill, experience, and expertise. The pre-made templates and drag and drop elements of a site builder aren’t able to capture the complexity of a really good, professionally built website. The difference in quality isn’t just in the functionality.The appearance of the site will also be sub-par. In order for someone to offer free or cheap website templates and elements, you have to assume that not a lot of time, money, or skill went into creating them. The overall quality of website built this way is going to be below average and definitely below the quality needed to stand out in today’s digital world.
- The quality you get from a free site builder is nowhere near what you’ll get if you hire a professional web design team. Designing and developing a functional and user-friendly website is something that requires a lot of skill, experience, and expertise. The pre-made templates and drag and drop elements of a site builder aren’t able to capture the complexity of a really good, professionally built website. The difference in quality isn’t just in the functionality.The appearance of the site will also be sub-par. In order for someone to offer free or cheap website templates and elements, you have to assume that not a lot of time, money, or skill went into creating them. The overall quality of website built this way is going to be below average and definitely below the quality needed to stand out in today’s digital world.
- Templates and Pre-Made Graphics: Many free site builders only offer a handful of design options to begin with, so right off the bat you can pretty much guarantee that there are other people and companies using the same template and graphics as you. While in most cases, it’s alright to use a template you need to find one that matches your brand and that you can tailor to fit your needs. Many free builders make you build your brand around the site, and not the other way around.
- No Go SEO: One of the main aspects of SEO is creating a great website for Google to crawl, index, and then rank. The higher your website ranks, the more likely it is to come up in search results. With site builder sites, you can’t verify your website with Google in order to have them crawl and index your site. Even if Google were to crawl your site, the use of a cheap pre-made template and non-responsive design will lead to a low search ranking. Coming up in search results is a company’s strongest weapon when it comes to standing out amongst the competition, so don’t ruin that by using a free site builder.
- Mobile Unfriendly: Responsive web design is something that many consumers expect when they visit a site for the first time. Websites built with free site builders usually aren’t mobile friendly, making it extremely difficult for anyone to look at or use your website who is accessing from a mobile phone or tablet. By not having a responsive website, you’d be cutting out a huge chunk of your potential customer base. A lot of people won’t bother to visit a website on their desktop if they couldn’t do so on their phone, and many individuals simply don’t want to work with a company who doesn’t have a mobile friendly site.
- Too Much Flash: No matter what free site builder you’re looking at, chances are much of what they offer was built in flash. Flash just isn’t SEO friendly, so having a site full of it is going to continuously hurt any SEO efforts you may try. In fact, Google is so against Flash that they’ve made it so their Chrome browser no longer supports it, which brings us to the next point. In addition to Chrome no longer supporting Flash, many people don’t have the necessary software to run flash. So, having a website that’s built with a lot of Flash is going to exclude probably around half of your potential customer base.
- Promote…Someone Else: A lot of free site builders don’t allow custom domain names, and if they do they charge a fortune to let you use one. You’ll generally end up with a URL that looks something like this: www.NameOfYourCompany.FreeSiteBuilder.com. This means not only will your customers know you used a free site builder right away, you’ll also be promoting the site builder every time someone comes to your site. Even in instances where site builders don’t charge an arm and a leg for a custom domain, they still slip other forms of promotion into the site you build. You might see a banner or graphic in the footer telling users, “This site was built with Free Site 3,000!”
- Save Money to Lose Money: You’ve probably heard the phrase, “You have to spend money to make money.” Well, in the case of a free site builder, it’s the opposite. Free site builders usually offer the website you build for free, but might charge you a membership fee to keep the site live and maintained, or they’ll charge a fee that allows you to use your own domain or remove unlike a professionally built site, a pre-made one won’t help you make money over time. That’s not to say that you won’t make ANY money, but will the website pay for itself? Almost certainly not. In fact, most research shows that companies using these kinds of sites generally lose money. On the other hand, spending the money on a professionally built site usually helps you to make more money. Professionally built websites used by good companies with a solid business usually pay for themselves within 2 years. That alone should be a good enough explanation for why not to use a free site builder!
It might be tempting to save time and money by building your company or niche website using a free site builder, but it’s not worth it. The downfalls of having one of these websites far outweighs the benefit of saving yourself a little money. If you want readers, clients, and customers to frequent your website then hire a professional web design team to create your website. Remember, you have to spend money to make money and when it comes to creating a great website the best way to do that is with a team of skilled, experienced professionals. Ever used a free site builder, or know someone who has? Share your experience in the comments!