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Should I use a free website builder?

Many online platforms are giving lots of people who wouldn’t traditionally have had the skills or expertise to set up their own websites. And a lot of the time you can find lots of promises that you can set up your website for free. Obviously as a company who makes their way by designing, building and maintaining websites we’d say that this is not recommend, but read on for justified reasoning and why you should pay for a professional web build.

Your website is the showcase for your business, the visible public platform, a vital marketing tool and often your source of income (through sales, affiliates etc.). If this is the case, we shouldn’t really be having this discussion. Here are just some of the limitations of free website builders:

  • Limited customisation; if you’re using an off-the-shelf template then you probably won’t be able to change or customise much of it, unless you know how to code it in. And even then, with a prescribed template, changing some of the code may cause errors in the website or break it completely.
  • Slow load time; templates will often be designed to cater for lots of options and ‘what ifs’ to suit the wide variety of people who may use it, and this means that it will probably contain a lot of content and be slow to loads. And that puts people off and gives a bad impression to the customer.
  • Difficult changes; later down the line when you decide you’d prefer a different platform, or maybe you want to upgrade certain features, the free web hosting might not let you transfer the data over. Then you’ll be stuck with the mindless task of transferring one website’s content to a new website manually. And believe you me, that is not a pleasant task.

Don’t get us wrong, for the small-scale freelancer or for a personal blog then perhaps a free option is ok, if you don’t need anything customising or have a huge amount of information to store. But free hosting or themes are very often free for a reason, with a catch or without all of the features you need. So make sure you’re fully aware of what you’re getting in to.

And don’t forget all of the other benefits of using the experts and paying for website support and work – what would you do if your website was hacked, what happens if your website goes down and you don’t know why, how would you customise a bit of code to make something look different? It’s quite likely that you won’t know, or it will take you a while to work it out, longer than your business can really afford.

So if you’re looking for a professional website, get in touch to find out how we can help: hello@webfwd.co.uk

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