Is a free website really free?

Is a free website the best option for my business?

Is a free website really free?

Key Points In This Article:

  • What you need to pay for
  • The downside to website builders
  • Is a “free” website the best option for my business?
  • Your biggest and most important considerations

Let’s answer the second question first. Is a free website really free? The simple answer is No.

If you do your homework though it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. Make sure you check the fine print though – the first year prices are to get you using their system but come second year many tend to charge a lot more.

You need to pay for:

  • hosting
  • SSL certificates (no longer just for sites that have online shopping functions – your customers privacy is imperative)
  • business emails
  • domain name and more

With some basic computer knowledge and a little patience it is fairly easy to build a website. Most provide hosting companies have a website builder or you can use software such as WordPress where you can use an easy to use drop-and-drag feature.

The downside to using website builders or Do It Yourself, like WordPress, are:

  • You have access to fewer templates for free. The better ones require you to buy them.
  • You have access to fewer editing tools
  • For some website builders you can only have a certain number of pages.
  • If you’re looking for certain features for your website like slideshows, image galleries, contact forms, etc this might not be possible or you may have to pay
  • Limited social media integration
  • In some instances a basic understanding of coding is required
  • For your site to rate high organically an understanding of SEO is required

Now we’re not saying website builders are bad. On the contrary. For many businesses (especially small-to-medium ones) a website builder is a fantastic option. No longer do you have to badger your website developer or wait 6 weeks for him/her to make a change to your site.

Is a free website the best option for my business?

Okay, so we established that a free website isn’t really free. But the question remains – is using a free website builder the best option for your business?

If you have:

1. No experience building a website and don’t need to rank. If you don’t have much or any experience in web design and just want a webpage and don’t need to rank high on search engines or need your customers to find you then a free website builder that you do yourself will be fine.

2. No experience building a website and WANT to rank high. If the purpose of your website is to be found by your customers but you have little to no experience building a website, a website builder is still fine. But unless you want to spend months researching all the key elements to make your website rank high we suggest you get someone who knows what they are doing.

3. Basic experience building a website. If you are great with computers and designing website and understand what is required to get your site seen a website builder should also be fine. The best advice is to make sure you compare hosting, domain and other related prices and ongoing costs.

4. Experienced. If you have the time use WordPress, Concrete 5 which allows a lot more customisation. Find the best hosting service.

Your Biggest & Most Important Considerations

SEO, CONTENT & UPDATES

If you are not familiar building websites, the most important aspect to your website is your content, SEO and updates.

Putting together a website and having it rank high are two separate factors. You can build your own website fairly easily but we cannot stress enough how important it is to ensure the time is spent on your content and the backend of your website.

For your customers to make contact with you, your content needs to plainly and clearly tell your customers who you are and what you do.

For search engines to rank your site, your content must contain “keywords” (the words your customer will put in to the search bar).
Your content also needs to be around 300 words. This is where it pays to have someone experienced in search engine optimisation to build your website.

Keeping your website up to date with it’s themes, plugins/apps and platform (e.g. wordpress updates) is a must for security.
Keeping your website updated with new content (images, testimonials etc) is a great way to keep your website ranking with search engines.

Whether you have started a website and need a hand to get it to rank high or would like someone to build it right for you we, at ATA WebDesign, are here to help.