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Free website tools – do they help or hinder your business promotion?

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Free website tools – do they help or hinder your business promotion?

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Using a free website maker, tool or app to create your business website can seem like a good idea. They’re often cheap if not free, give you premade layouts so you can just pop the content in and have lots of documentation for support.

But once you’ve made your website, take a look at your competitors and ask, does my website put me above the rest? Has the time and resources I’ve spent creating the website given me the edge online? Will I see a return on investment?

In this blog post we’re going to show you how although they may seem like a good idea, free website tools can be a hindrance to you and could even have negative effects on your promotion activities.

Good for an entry level website

A new website may not be at the top of your list when it comes to starting a business or you may not have the budget to have a bespoke website created for you.

This is when you may look to free website tools such as Wix, free WordPress sites, Squarespace or GoDaddy. You could create a one page website, with information on what you do, your costs and contact details.

And whilst this has got you a website on Google, or a website to send your customers directly to, is it really winning for you?

Have you considered the following points:

  • Time consuming
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
  • Design limitations
  • Free website tool branding
  • Limited functionality
  • Hidden costs

They're time consuming

Free tools are time consuming

Whether you create a very simple website or a few pages, this takes time. You have to think about:

  • What content do you want on your website?
  • Where are you getting your pictures from?
  • What colour scheme are you going to use?
  • What font sizes and styling will you pick?
  • If you’re using a premade layout, which one will you choose, and do you want all the elements from it?
  • Where do you want your content to be placed?
  • What are your page headings?
  • What CTAs will you have?
  • What are the key messages for your website?

And much more – even for a simple website.

You will also need time to think through the limitations of the designs and how you can work around those.

Do you really have the spare time to think about those points? Do you want to spend time thinking about those points?

Building a website takes time – no matter the size.

How will you incorporate SEO?

Free SEO tools to help your business promotion

Website builders are very limiting when it comes to SEO. Their framework doesn’t allow you to easily add in meta data such as Google and social media descriptions. It also doesn’t offer tools to read through your content as you add it to your website, so you won’t have an understanding for how well optimised your content is and how you could improve it.

Our websites use Yoast – a free SEO plugin for WordPress websites. With it, you can create optimised meta information and it can check through your content and offer you on the go advice for how to improve it.

You'll be limited on design

Design limitations on free tools

Your website is the one place where you can have true control of how everything looks. Content, colours, images, videos, animations and functions. Everything.

On social media you’re limited by characters, your pictures have to be a certain proportion.

By using a free tool, you’re applying the limits of the service providers. You won’t have complete control of your branding.

Further to this, without the experience of a website designer or developer, you may not be able to achieve the design you want for your business, which further limits your websites capabilities.

They'll advertise their tool on your website

Free website branding tools

And visibly! Free website builders will apply their logo (usually to the bottom) on your website, and without paying an extra fee, that is visible to all your website visitors.

If you’re trying to portray your business as prestigious or high value, this could be having a very negative effect on your online promotions.

What if it needs funtionality?

Limited functionality with free tools

Do you need your website to sell products to clients, have a calendar to showcase events or have a request a quote form?

Free website tools are likely to only have basic options. For detailed customisations, you would either need coding experience, read through lots of documentation or settle for something less.

For simple websites, this may not be an issue for you. However if you want your website to grow and change as your business evolves, you will face limitations in the future.

It's free on the surface

Hidden costs in 'free' tools

Hearing the words ‘free website builder’ can sound like a good idea, however when you start needing it to be a bit more flexible, even professional, the costs can creep in.

  • Paying to use your domain
    • Before you can have your website under, you will actually need to upgrade your account to allow linking with your domain. If you don’t do this, your website address could look like this:
  • Paying for a premium design
    • If you’d like an off the shelf design or a design that looks a bit different to the rest, you will have to pay for a premium design. Not all of the designs on website builders are free, and usually it’s not so obvious when you have to pay.
  • Paying for more storage and bandwidth
    • What if your site needs to grow and have more content? What if it gets busier with more website visitors? You will be faced with paying more in order to increase the storage space for your website and the bandwidth on your account to ensure website traffic continues to flow smoothly on your website.
  • Pay to sell products
    • Free website builders don’t usually allow you to sell products straight away. You have to pay for a premium plan to get access to that functionality.
  • Paid plugins for more functionality
    • Whilst your website might be free to begin with, adding extra functions to your website could come at a cost.

For simple websites with little functionality free website builders would be a fair choice. However it’s important to be aware of the limitations and the real costs of creating one, including your time.

To summarise

Our creation process aims to give you a breath of fresh air and give you true control over your website. We take care of all the technical elements, provide you with clear costs and work with you as your website partner to create a website that fits perfectly with your needs.

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