The world of websites can be incredibly confusing. You know you need a new website but which platform do you choose?

➡️ WordPress

➡️ SquareSpace

➡️ Wix

➡️ Shopify

➡️ Magento

➡️ Joomla

The list goes on…. you can’t possibly research the pros and cons of each site so when an advert pops up to build a free site in Wix or have a free trail using Shopify or a low-cost SquareSpace setup it can be tempting to jump on one of the free/low cost options and build the website yourself. After all, it can’t be that hard, otherwise they wouldn’t advertise build your own options.

The thing is, no website is free, no matter how it’s advertised. When signing up for a free trial or option people often don’t consider what the true cost of a free website really is.

Here are the 6 main costs of a ‘free’ website…

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More than 100 hours of your time

Each custom built website takes me approximately 100 hours to build. There are so many details that need to be right for a website to build trust with their audience which then leads to making sales and generating enquiries. 

When creating a website for your business you naturally want it to be flawless. This includes having it look just as beautiful on a mobile as it does, a desktop. 

You need it to be compliant. To have the necessary privacy policies and GDPR consent plugins. To know what cookies it’s using so you can inform your visitors. 

It needs to be legal. This means having the right licenses for themes, fonts, images and no plagiarised texts. 

Then there’s blending the design together with the branding, copy and images. 

It’s not a quick process and not something you can expect to get right first, or even second or third time. 

For me, it’s ok that I spend 100 hour lovingly building a custom built website, it’s my job. But for you, it’s not your job – just think how much 100 hours of your time costs if you’re missing out on client work because you’re trying to save money by building your own website. 

Your sanity

Lots of websites come with drag and drop builders, which are brilliant. It can make the idea of building your own site a good one and implies the process of the build will be easy. 

The problem is websites aren’t completely like any other software so there are lots of hidden features you need to enable or add to get the design just how you’d like it. If you’re not a developer, you’re not going to know this. Instead, you’ll drive yourself crazy going round in circles trying to get the answers and figure it out. 

Your customer’s trust

There are specific elements of a website which will help to build your customer’s trust and confidence in your website. This includes – a great mobile experience, everything working properly. Consistency across the entire website. Up to date designs. Website designers spend a lot of time keeping u to date with the latest trends to ensure we’re always bringing our ‘A game’ to your website. 

Because the truth is; if your website looks homemade or like it’s been thrown up quickly, then people aren’t going to engage with or buy from it. 

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Platform Fees

Nothing is ever completely free. You have to pay for your domain. After the first year there is a renewal fee which most definitely is not free. If you want to upgrade/add a shop/get more traffic you have to upgrade and this can be quite a jump. 

Performance

Websites on free plans often have the most basic of templates to choose from, plus are run on the slowest servers.  If your website is slow and basic, and not coded very well, as free themes tend to be, Search Engines aren’t going to include them in their search results. Which means your free website isn’t only worse than useless, it’s also cost you 100 hours of your time and money you could have been earning instead. 

Actual Customers

It’s no secret that the more sleek and professional a website is, the more people are going to want to engage with and buy from it. Think about it like this: 

Say you’re going to buy a pair of trainers – you can go to the website which is super slick, super fast, completely compliant with GDPR and the buying process is a quick and easy one. 

Or you go to the homemade website which is clunky, slow, doesn’t have the right customer notices and the sales basket takes forever to load.  While you’re waiting you start to wonder if the trainers will even be legit or fakes. 

Which website are you going to buy from? 

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Conclusion

Whilst it can be tempting to have a go of building your own website, I really wouldn’t recommend it. It can be hard to rebuild your reputation after a flakey website as people tend to remember when something doesn’t work, more often than when it does. 

If you’d like to chat about a custom built website and how it could work for your business. Or you’re on a budget and a Simply Site is a better option for you, get in touch and I can help. 

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