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4 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Building a Free Website

Published: April 29, 2015

Whoever said that the best things in life are free obviously never had a business website. Like the proverbial “free lunch,” there’s no such thing as a free website. You simply pay for it in other ways, and your ultimate cost is likely going to be pretty steep.

The truth of the matter is that there is no Santa Claus, and there’s no such thing as getting a quality website that effectively drives customers to your business without paying for it. While some website building options are less expensive than others, the myth of a free website is just that – a myth. Here’s why.

No Business Can Sustain Itself in the Long Run by Giving the Store Away
Two business owners are talking shop over a cup of coffee. One says to the other, “How can you afford to stay in business by giving away your merchandise for free?” The other owner replies, “That’s easy. I’ll make up for it in volume.” The point here is that a totally free pricing model is simply not a sustainable strategy for long term business success. Sooner or later, money is going to have to pass hands if the free website provider is going to stay in business. The only question is “Can you afford the high cost of a free website?”

Free Doesn’t Necessarily Mean No Cost

  • The typical free website provider relies on a number of tactics to generate the income needed to stay in business.
  • You may be required to commit to an overpriced domain hosting account.
  • You may have to accept intrusive ads on your “free” site that will annoy your potential customers and send a clear signal to the search engines that your business is somehow not a real business that can be trusted.

Free Now Doesn’t Always Mean Free Forever
Some website providers lure businesses in with an offer of a free website only to start charging a monthly fee for it a few months later. At that point, you may be unwilling to start over from scratch with a new site or take the chance of alienating your customers and prospects, and may reluctantly decide to simply pay up. Not surprising, those new monthly fees will often be more expensive than if you had chosen a paid website option in the first place.

Free Usually Means Cheap Looking
Unless you own a junk yard, you wouldn’t think of presenting a cluttered and disorganized image for your prospective customers. It simply doesn’t inspire confidence in your ability to meet customer needs now or provide service and follow-up after the sale. Yet that’s exactly the type of unprofessional impression that many free websites will give your business.

Consumers today are much more sophisticated than they were in the early days of the Internet. They can spot a cheap, fly-by-night operation a mile away. With so many competitors to choose from, why would anyone opt to go with a company that reeks of cheapness and instability? If you were in their shoes, would you buy from someone operating from a free website?

Free Usually Means Someone Else Controls Your Site
Many free website providers retain ownership or at least effective control of your site and its content. If you ever decide to move on to greener pastures, you will likely have to pay a hefty “ransom” for the privilege of retaining your content. Unfortunately, whatever SEO juice that you managed to build up with your free website will most likely be lost.