Should you use a free website builder vs paying a professional?
Before I answer that, let me tell you that a large majority of my customers were people that have previously used a free website builder, or an online website builder at very low cost.
I understand budget is the biggest reason a person will head to a free website builder. If you don’t have the money I get it, its pretty hard to dole out the money for a good web designer.
So here I am going to list a number of pros and cons to getting a free website builder or an online service to build your own website and to just pay a low monthly fee in hosting.
- Cheap. You can get a website for free and just pay the hosting. Nothing is going to compare to that.
Sorry, I sat here for 10 minutes trying to think of another pro, and it just didn’t come to me, knowing what I know.
- Cheap. You get what you pay for. You build the site and you are not a website builder and it looks like crap.
- Templates. You are forced to use a template in their builder and are limited to options. If you see something you like on another site not built by the same system, forget about it. Not going to happen.
- Search Engine Friendly. I get a kick out of the systems that say search engine friendly. Its kind of like the misleading labels on food at the market when it says “Veggie Chips A Healthy Alternative To Chips” Yes, healthier than chips, but loaded with salt, oil, and a bunch of other chemicals not made for human consumption. Anyone can say search engine friendly because if there is a place for you to type a title in the page, and add some keywords, then it is search engine friendly. It doesn’t mean it will ever see a top 100 ranking in the search engines, but it is still search engine friendly. This phrase absolutely makes me livid. As a person that has achieved over 7000 top ten rankings for my clients, this phrase alone is the most annoying to me.
- Painted into a corner. The longer you spend trying to make your website look good, and rank in the search engines, these things never come together. You invest a lot of time and it makes it harder for you to abandon the whole thing and get a professional. Meanwhile, although you have not spent a lot of money, you have lost a lot of your time (which is money) and a ton of money you left on the table by having a poor performing website.
- Damaging reputation. When you use a free or cheap website builder and start advertising this too the public, it screams cheap to them, and it reflects on your company image. It is better to have no website than a cheap crappy one.
I would like to clear up a few things. When you go to one of these free services and you see all these nice looking websites that the builder made, it is a bit deceiving. I am not going to say it is impossible to build a nice website with a free website builder. What I am going to say is that a lot of these websites were still built by people that knew html, as the person that started the account got fed up, and hired someone to finish building the site with the “free” editor.
This is probably the most important point that you can ever read about cheap or free website building.
I want you to consider this.
If I told you right now that I had a 2014 Mercedes Benz C350 worth 50,000 dollars with 0 mileage on it, and I wanted to sell it to you for 2500.00 dollars, would you find the way to get the money?
Of course you would.
Now you are probably thinking that is a ridiculous question why ask it?
This is a lot more relevant than you think.
In most cases cars are a depreciating asset, unless you are a car dealer. If you get a free or cheap website through an online builder, you have a depreciating asset. As time goes by, you invest more money and time into trying to get your website (lemon car) to work, and it just never happens.
However, when you bought the Mercedes for 2500, it was an immediate appreciable asset. You can then sell the car even for half of the retail at 25,000 and you will make out like a bandit.
Here’s the thing.
Your website should make you a lot more than 22,500 net profit. Your website should make you tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year depending on your business. Your website should attract customers on autopilot because it was built like that in the first place. This will not happen with the depreciable asset of a free or cheap website. Going this route displays a lack of faith in your business plan.
Now lets make the transition.
What if I told you that if you spent 2500 dollars on a website that was built by a professional that was going to rank for hundreds of keywords and work like an additional sales member of your company, and it would produce tens, and even hundreds of thousands of dollars for you in the near future, would you hesitate?
Yes, you probably would. Do you know why? Because you do not believe it. If you did, there is no way a rational person would ever consider building their own website on a free website builder.
So there you have it. Here you are, considering a free website builder, but there is a fork on the road. You have gotten privy to some new information. Will you use it? I don’t know.
My team and I have built over 150 websites personally for businesses outside of this, and for my clients over the past 10 years, and I know what works and what doesn’t. Free website builders don’t work. The sooner you learn this, the better of you are.