Why free business websites can kill your chance for success

Do you think a free or ridiculously low-priced website is going to be of any value to your business?

If you do, you may want to read this and re-think your answer.

I understand the price is right, but most free website or hosting accounts I’ve ever seen have severe limitations on what can be done with them. (Or more importantly, what can’t be done)

And the reason this is important is because these limitations also seriously limit your website’s chance to succeed.

There are lots of companies, even some pretty major players that promote free or almost free websites to business owners, but they don’t always tell you the whole story.

There’s even a free version of WordPress, which is a blogging platform that can also be used as a “traditional” website, but the free version is very limited.

Truth is… If you just want a website for your hobby, or just to say you have a website, then a free website will probably work fine for you.

Free business websites DO NOT EQUAL value for you!

But if your business needs a website that will get found, can be flexible, and is easy to update and modify, then free won’t going to cut it… for a couple of big reasons.

Perception by your web visitors (if you get any at all)
Many free website providers use advertising to offset the cost, so your site’s header or footer will include a blurb or ads from their non-website related company or ads from others.  Either way, it’s pretty easy to spot a free website.

C’mon…Do you want your prospective clients to know you weren’t committed enough to invest in a “real” website?

They’re usually not flexible and scalable enough
There are many settings and changes on a website or blog that are absolutely crucial for Search Engine Optimization, to get getting found online and converting your visitors to customers.

You’ll discover what components are really important on your website inside How Your Local Small Business Can  Get More Customers on the Internet. (Not to mention many other marketing techniques like email marketing)

Most free websites, including the free version of WordPress just don’t have the ability to change these settings or make the proper changes, and are impossible to upgrade or add features to.

What do you do if you have one of these free websites?

Each business, including yours, has unique goals and needs, so talk with an experienced web marketing professional to figure out the best web marketing strategy.

Only then can you make an informed decision that’s best for your business, and offers the best value for you.

Personally, I think the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org on your own paid hosting account with your own domain name) has all the capabilities, ease of use, and flexibility to handle just about anything.

You’ll only pay for hosting, app $10/mth with HostGator, your domain name, app $12/yr with GoDaddy, and a premium theme/template for WordPress, I use Headway on most of my sites, $87 flat fee.

If you’re currently using a free website, and it’s not getting people to call your company, contact me and we can discuss your options.

What do you think? (Leave your reply below)

If you want help with your marketing strategy, writing effective sales copy, have any comments, or have a marketing project you’d like help with, e-mail me or call me at 603-686-5140

If you need help with website design, writing SEO optimized web copy, email marketing, or other online marketing strategies, I can help!

To your marketing success!

Merrill Clark

Website and Marketing Copywriter

Join my discussion by leaving a comment below…


4 thoughts on “Why free business websites can kill your chance for success

  1. Carol Burgard

    Great information Merrill. I’ve been approached many times about a free website and I agree with you. They do not tell you everything and usually they do not look very professional. I didn’t realize about the advertising though. Thanks again.

  2. Merrill Post author

    Thanks Carol…

    Yea… the advertising, often in the form of displaying Google ads, helps recoup some of the costs associated with the many expenses of running a hosting company.

  3. Teak

    Always figured there would be a “catch” with the “free” sites. Using Firefox & multiple add-on filtering apps, I don’t see much of the trash, altho the average user won’t bother with that, I’m sure. The old adage still applies: “You get what you pay for” – and ‘free’ don’t bring too awful much, does it?

  4. Merrill Post author

    You got it… It just pays to be thorough in your research before you commit to a web company that offers free services.

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