Real Cost of a Free Website Builder
When you are starting a new business, it can be pretty tempting to reduce your set up costs. One way lots of people attempt to do this is by using a free website builder (no naming names).
This is definitely a short term solution, but it will cost you later down the track and that might be ok with you for now. Your website, 9 times out of 10, will be where all your marketing and advertising is directed towards and is how most of your customers will try and find you, you want to ensure that it’s working hard for you!
Free builders can fill the gap, but they look like they are free and are limited in custom design options, they shouldn’t be used for anything like an online store or even more than a temporary landing page while your proper site is being built. Free websites are usually slower to load as you are sharing the hosting space with everyone else on that service and they can charge for all the little extras; using your own URL, removing their branding, more font choices, adding more pages, putting in a contact form — all these things add up. Not only that, some of these features such as customer URL’s or email are locked into the free platform, so when you eventually try and move them away, it becomes a real struggle.
I often have people get in touch with me after using some of these platforms initially, only to become increasingly frustrated with the restrictions and added hidden costs, that once we have created a new website for them, they almost always say that they wish they’d gone down this route to start with! With the time it has taken them personally, and the steep learning curve with creating a website from scratch on an unfamiliar platform, it would have been more cost-effective to engage a professional from the outset.
The best recipe for any website is to ensure that what you are creating, you own, or at least have the flexibility to do what you need to do and when. You get to choose what products and platforms you use when it comes to purchasing your domain name, or hosting, or what you use for your email and cloud-based storage. Right down to the best marketing platforms for newsletters, social media connections and analytics. Flexibility around how this is set up is important to future proof your businesses online space, allowing for growth not only in your customer base but also in your team.
So many of my clients have been wrapped with their websites that we’ve built, (just look at my testimonials!) and they’ve lasted them well, we’ve been able to adapt as we’ve needed to; adding things like an online store or direct booking system as we had those earmarked in the beginning. When planning a website with someone like me, we are future-proofing what you’ll need in the coming years, we are looking at structure and customer experience, as well as creating a solid plan to ensure your website converts to clients and customers. You won’t get that kind of expertise from a free builder, unfortunately! Get in touch and book a time if you’re wanting to start out on the right foot and we can work through the best option to suit your needs and budget.