The best thing about ‘free’ website building platforms is their marketing. Those good looking folks at Weebly and Wix etc. really know how to sell a concept. They make it look so easy, so tempting and so, why not? Well, if you’re starting a small business and aim to stay small, and keep things very simple, then maybe building a website with a free website builder will be ok. But for everybody else, we wouldn’t recommend it. Let’s have a look at why.
1. You Never Own the Website
This one fact alone should start alarm bells ringing. Imagine pouring all that time and energy into building a website but never actually owning it? This includes Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Godaddy, Shopify, Yahoo, etc. In other words, the code and website files belong to them, not you. Furthermore, if you decide to develop a new site, it’s impossible to migrate your site off of their platform. You simply don’t have access to the necessary code, backend and site files. So, they have you by the short and curlies! On the other hand, if you build an open-source CMS website with WordPress, for example, you’ll own it all.
2. SEO Deficiencies
Developing your website with smart Search Engine Optimisation is of paramount importance for achieving respectable search engine ranking. Unfortunately, none of the free website builders offers adequate control over SEO parameters. So, no matter how much time and effort you put in, it’s unlikely you will be rewarded appropriately.
3. Building a Website – Customer Support
Make no mistake, customer support from the majority of freebie website builders is woefully inadequate. As a rule, most support is email only. So, imagine what happens when you need immediate help or your site has gone down? Sorry, you’ll have to wait in the queue.
4. You’ll Probably Have to Pay Sooner or Later
When they say ‘free’, this usually refers to a trial period only. Moreover, the free product you sign up for may be so basic that you’ll be forced to upgrade and pay more later. ‘Extras’ might include email, storage, FTP, App integration etc.
5. Building a Website with a Free Website Builder
Here are a few more reasons to avoid free website builders, mostly to do with speed and functionality.
- Slow Speed – Off-the-shelf website designs aren’t always the quickest to load, mainly because you may have customised the template. Plus, your site may be one of thousand competing for bandwidth on a single server.
- Lack of Customisation – You may soon be dismayed at the lack of choice of fonts, styles and custom-code possibilities.
- Limited Functionality – You’ll be limited to the tools developed by one web builder platform. Alternatively, if you build a website with WordPress (with a massive 64% market share), you’ll have access to thousands of plugins.