Free Websites for Small Business: You Get What You Pay For
These days, every business knows that they need a website. At the very least, it serves as a digital business card to advertise on your actual business card, or to use as a tool in your advertising campaigns.
Most small to medium sized businesses, agencies, organizations, and committees will need to decide whether to use a free website builder, learn to build it themselves, or to hire a professional development company, in order to get a new website. This can be a very difficult decision, as you want your website to look professional, but a smaller organization’s cash assets are very precious.
We have worked with thousands of small to medium sized businesses over the years, and price is always the biggest factor when getting started.
The thought of spending $8,700 on your company’s new e-commerce website can be very intimidating for a small business. It is money that could purchase new equipment, pay the rent bill; or, it can even pay for all of the company’s employees for a month.
With that thought process, the idea of building a website for free is incredibly tempting. There is nothing more appealing than the word “free,” and there are many tools these days that will allow you to build a website for that price.
So, why not just build a free website?
It’s a good question, and worth consideration. But, a factor to consider is that unless you fill out a cheap template with your company information, websites take time to build, regardless of who builds them. Additionally, if you fill out a cheap-looking template, it will produce a cheap-looking website, which will then cause potential customers to develop a cheap feeling about your business.
When was the last time that you purchased anything by entering your credit card information into a cheap-looking website? These types of websites typically cause people to stop and wonder if entering personal information, such as a credit card, will cause them to be at risk for potential compromises. Before a customer completes the checkout process, they will most likely have exited the page and possible gone in search of one of your competitors. Building a website from a free template is never the solution for a company or organization with a commitment to quality customer service.
So, that leaves you with two alternative options:
1) Hire a company to build your website.
2) Build it yourself or assign it internally.
Let’s say you decide to take on the project yourself or assign it internally. This will require you to learn very difficult programming languages. Our experience tells us that, on average, it will take about 6 weeks for an individual to learn how to code and build a website.
As a small business owner, six weeks is way to much time. You are everything to your business and taking time away from operations is not an option. The second option is to have a middle management employee take it on. By the time he/she has spent six weeks of time learning, designing, and launching the site, you will have paid them for approximately 240 hours at let’s say $25/hour. That’s $6000! And, the website looks average, has no functionality, could break at a moment’s notice, and your payment gateway could be vulnerable to compromises.
As a web development company, we get a lot of our clients after they’ve tried it themselves or hired a cheap freelancer with limited experience and had a bad experience. If you spend all of your time and effort creating a project that goes wrong, you will end up back at square one and likely out of about $6000.
Having a website built professionally is an investment. The site makes your money back. In most cases, spending the money to get it right the first time means not having to spend the money a second time to get what you should have gotten the first time. Doing it yourself is always an option, but you are always going to get what you pay for.
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