Free Website Services
By now, everyone has seen or heard of a low cost or free website creation tool. Wix, Weebly, WebsiteBuilder, WordPress and even the search giant Google (just to name a few) all offer free website services. But are these tools really any good? As a certified web developer trained in creating custom sites from scratch, my honest answer is… Yes!
These services offer an excellent service for a price that can’t be beat. Having a web presence is so essential to any startup business in today’s world, and many small businesses simply don’t have the capital to invest in a custom built website right off the bat. And for some, honestly, a custom site is not necessary. Take for example a small shop owner who is fairly tech savvy and simply wants to post the business hours, location, a brief “About Us” section, and a quick overview of their services. A free website is the perfect solution for such a case. It establishes a company online with all the essentials they will need, and a very easy learning curve with no knowledge of coding required.
Sounds Great. Whats the Catch?
My advice is this: use these tools if they make sense to you, but also understand their limitations. There is a good amount you can accomplish with these free tools, but there are some things they cannot do. E-commerce is notoriously troublesome on these platforms, and it becomes easy to be over-encumbered if you plan on selling more than just a few products. Also, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is more challenging on a free website platform. If you have an idea of what you’d like your site to look like, you may have to settle. Most free website tools have a user limited to a certain template.
Is a Free Website Really Free..?
Well, yes and no. All free website providers offer paid or “premium” packages. If you opt for a totally free
option, expect there to be some branding of the service on your site (which can be removed for a monthly fee). Also expect some emails and phone calls marketing premium services. The speed of most free website services is reduced for free members, so you may experience a slower site. You may be restricted to a subdomain as well, meaning instead of mygreatcompany.com you may be stuck with a more legthy URL like mygreatcompany.freewebsiteprovider.com.
So what Do I Do?
Free website services are great for small businesses or startups with limited capital, but are not without their limitations. Imagine the difference between an off-the-rack rental suit or a suit custom tailored to you. If cash is tight, the rental will serve just fine, but it simply wont compare to the options, flexibility and perfect fit of a custom tailored suit.
To see how much a professionally developed custom website will cost, check out our Cost Estimator.