“Get a custom built business website for FREE! No setup fee, no commitment.” Blah. Blah Blah. What’s the catch, there’s always a catch…
You see the commercials on TV, the web, and who knows where else. But its sickening to see people being lured into these horrible ‘deals’. Yes, “free” can sound awfully tempting when you’re a small business owner, but your website is one area where you just can’t afford to skimp. Whether it’s good or bad, your website is going to leave a lasting impression with potential customers and eventually determine the success or failure of your internet marketing.
“Limited time offer. Last day. Get a professional website for FREE.
Excuse my bluntness, but this is total B.S.. Great small business websites NEVER start with free templates. Your website layout, especially the front page, is something you put genuine effort and care into creating. The same way you would if you were building a beautiful storefront.
Would you hire a guy off the street vs. an experienced electrician to wire your building because he said he’d do it for free? I’m going to guess your answer would be “NO.” Chances are you care about your business being safe and not burning down.
Well, the same holds true with your website. No, your business won’t literally burn to the ground, but you shouldn’t risk damaging your business and losing customers just to save a few bucks. It’s not worth it.
WHY FREE WEBSITE OFFERS DON’T ADD UP
You want to stand out from your competition, right? So, you’ve got to have a look that no one else has, custom to your brand. It’s not a “nice to have” it’s a “need to have.” Every word, picture, and link needs to be purposeful. And that means you’ve got to have a solid strategy — not something you can just throw together in a few hours; that’s the problem with free websites.
CHANGES & UPDATES TO YOUR WEBSITE
Prices, events, new products, features, services…these are just a handful of things that could need updating on your website. Your ability to manage or make changes to your website is going to be absolutely critical as your businesses grows and evolves. The last thing you want is not having the option to change content on your website or be left relying on a company who you can’t get a hold of to make these changes for you. When that ultimately happens, you’re forced to work around their schedule and risk overpaying for changes you could have probably made yourself. In other words, it’s never a good spot to be in.
UNDERSTANDING THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Is your website free for the first 30 days or is it a free website but you have to pay additional ‘service fees.’ Just how much is this free website really going to cost you? What happens to your website once the trial period is over? Who owns the information and the images on your website? Do you own your domain name or will the company keep it when you decided to leave?
Always make sure you are crystal clear about what you’re going to get and what happens if you decide to leave.
Take time and weigh all of your options, understanding all terms and conditions associated. What is the total cost for additional features, maintenance, etc. for the next 24-36 months? Compare that to what it would cost to hire a professional web development firm who could create a stunning site directly for your brand and teach you how to maintain the site without having to pay extra. When you do, there’s a good chance you’re going to find out that “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” also applies to websites.
If you’re interested in knowing more about how a quality web development and internet marketing team can help you reach your goals, we would be glad to discuss your project with you over a complimentary consultation. And, no matter what you decide, we wish you the best in developing your business to it’s fullest potential!