Most people starting a new business, or building a website for the first time (where have you been?), typically want to keep the cost low, which is understandable. So you typically Google the term “free website” and up pops a host of companies offering free websites. The thought of having free web hosting and building your site without paying anything is tempting.
Until you get a reality check. Once you sign up to these so-called “free website services”, you slowly start discovering the limitations and many of them turn out to be not free at all.
If you’re thinking about getting a free website, take a moment and read the below list of 5 reasons why free websites are almost always a bad idea.
1. Really slow website
Most free website providers host hundreds of websites on the same server. Sharing your site with others can make your website load at very low speeds. Slow websites create a bad user experience and can harm your search engine ranking: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2010/04/using-site-speed-in-web-search-ranking.html
2. Unprofessional web address
Having a website address like mybusiness.freewebsites.com does not look professional at all. Visitors to your website and potential customers aren’t going to take your website seriously, and your business for that matter, when you don’t even have a proper domain name. You can ask these companies for a custom domain, but you usually have to pay a monthly fee to upgrade to a premium plan. Compare that to paying ~$10 a year for a domain name.
3. Unrelated ads on your website
Most free website services are supported by advertisements. You create the content and build your website, but they get paid for the ads that appear on your site. Often these ads are distracting, intrusive, and look ugly. The worst part is, sometimes your savvy competitors can then pay these free website hosting companies to advertise on your website. Talk about sabotaging your business.
4. They own your data
Many people who start with a free website and then want to move to a paid service, find it impossible to move their data. Free website providers do not offer any tools to easily migrate your site. The result is you end up paying your new web design firm to manually export your content, which can quickly increase your bill.
5. Limited design options
Unlike a custom designed website from a design firm, the free website builders utilize pre-packaged templates that are extremely limiting. You end up with a canned looking website that doesn’t match your brand, and looks unprofessional.
So what do you do? Take a moment and figure out the value of your website. If you want to attract customers and appear legitimate, it’s probably worth investing in your web presence. Talk to us about our custom website design. The cost might be lower than you think, and the end product will certainly provide more value in the long run.