Free Website Builders
Free Website Builders
Ever hear the phrase “free is never really free?” If you are looking into building your business website with a free website builder site, this article will help you understand what you are really building. It’s better to build a free website with full knowledge of what you’re buying and what you can and can’t do with it.
Build a Website and Get Found
There is misleading information with the advertising of a few website builder sites. One very popular service gives the impression “Build it – get found.” (Actually most of these types of web builders give you this impression.) The truth is there is no software out there that will build you the perfect site that will suddenly give you search engine results. Most of these free services are pay-per-click partners, meaning they receive a commission when you sign up for the pay-per-click services through their website. The site will entice you with a credit for Google Ads or Facebook Ads. Google and Facebook are really hoping that you’ll keep using their ad services, and because you end up in the sponsored links area of a search (if you bid enough per click) the website builder can now say that you “get found.”
Google Ads are useful for people who have websites that do not receive high search engine results naturally. Bidding for clicks allows them the opportunity to have their web address compete with sites that have been designed better or have a higher Page rank. It can, however, be costly to outbid your competition, especially in competitive industries like insurance. If you are local insurance agent often your corporate office marketing department is bidding high dollar for the same local keywords that you are bidding on. Corporate is essentially competing with you for premium PPC spots. Your Free website can become a very expensive website in order for you to “get found.”
Time isn’t on your side
If you read the how-to articles and postings published by any search engine, they all say the same thing – it takes time for the search engine to index the billion new websites published each month. Ok, so it’s more like 50 million each month. The point is that there are too many websites waiting in line to be recognized by Google for their unique domain and content in a short amount of time. Within 6 months, you’ll know where the search engines are going to place you, for good or bad. If you’re in a niche market, you may get lucky and your natural search engine placement is within the top 40 sites for your keywords. This does not happen very often, but in theory, it could happen. The long wait for placement is another selling point for pay-per-click ads. If you bid enough, you’re immediately placed well in the sponsored links on the right hand side of the search results. If you don’t have a big PPC budget, patience is a virtue for website placement in a natural search, but don’t hold your breath for good results.
Nice Graphics and No Business
The big sell with any website builder service is a nice looking result. You are provided with professional looking graphics, quality images and stock photos, and usually a few special features that allow you to upload your own product images, logo, and unique content. The end result is an attractive website. But the catch is that you will have to market your website heavily in order to gain any measurable traffic. This means paying for web ads, paying to advertise your web address on all the rest of you marketing materials or spending hours online adding your website link to as many other websites as you can (you should be doing this last one regardless of how your site was created).
The biggest piece of advice I have for businesses that are wondering what to do about a website when their marketing budget screams “pick cheap!” Cheap can cost more in the end. The costs may not be felt as lost money, but the cost of not increasing your business with your website is a cost I consider more expensive. Just think of the number of customers that you can add when your website is found in searches for your type of product or service. Over a year’s time, the amount of money spent on pay-per-clicks is probably more than what a good SEO designer would charge for a custom website. You don’t need to spend thousands on a website that will perform in your target market.
If you find yourself in a situation where you absolutely do not have a budget for a website, take a look at creating a blog for your website. Most blogs are free and allow you to pick a template, change some basic colors and even upload your own header image in some designs. You can add pages at will, add photos, link to videos and more. Since no free service is perfect, the trade off is using the blog service’s name in your blog title. You could pay to have an original domain name redirected to your blog, or you can pay a designer to create a blog on your domain name, but that is assuming you had money to create your website in the first place.
Advantages to using a Blog Service
Search engines love blogs. Blogs are simple entities that are mostly text, and search engines love text. You will have better luck with search results if you use free blog software than you would using a free or low cost website builder. The two are constructed differently on the back end, but let’s not go into detail about that. Blogs are also expandable with thousands of free plugins that can add new features or functions to your site. If you’re a do-it-yourself’er, the more accustomed you get to marketing your website, the more you will learn and grow. And there are blogs about blogs so you will always have thousands of resources to help you learn more and do more.
If you need to go cheap, make sure you choose a website option that moves you toward you business goal. Cheap is never easy and can sometimes cost more in the end. Do your research, know your goals, and be educated about what you’re buying.