Is it really free?
Too good to be true?
Free website builders have come a long way since the original idea was first introduced with GeoCities in 1994.
Since then, there have been countless free website builders that have come and gone …and that’s precisely one of the reasons why you’ll want to be careful.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you may want to consider before going the “free” route.
Free Website Builders – The Good…
1. No Costs
The cost of making a website is often something that deters people from getting started. The great news is that you can build a great looking website for free without ever paying a penny for monthly hosting fees or domain name registration.
2. No Coding
Another benefit for the newbie who may not know any HTML or CSS, is the fact that you won’t have to do any coding at all. Most free website builders offer a drag-and-drop interface that allows you to manipulate all of the elements of your website. You know: the layout, the colors, the navigation, and so on. You can do it all without ever wrestling with HTML, CSS or PHP code.
Free Website Builders – The Bad…
1. Unprofessional Design
When working with a free website builder, you’re sometimes limited in the number of and quality of templates that you have to select from. That can become very frustrating if you’re not able to create exactly what you had envisioned, and might bring you to the point where you take out your wallet and upgrade in order to get exactly what you want.
2. Less Control Over Branding
Everyone like to be in control, especially when you’re creating something that has your name on it. When using a free website builder, you’ll be required to use a subdomain instead of your own custom domain. (i.e. – yourname.websitebuilder.com vs. www.yourname.com) That can often feel unprofessional and might make you think twice about, “free”.
3. Limited Pages, Bandwidth and Storage
With the free plans that website builders offer, they sometimes will limit the amount of traffic or disk space that you can have in any given month. If you’re just starting out, that probably won’t be a concern. However, some services will limit the number of pages you can create on your site (for example, 10 pages) and that will become a factor for a lot of people.
Free Website Builders – The Ugly…
1. Not Always Ad-Free
One of the tradeoffs of using free website builders is that you may be required to host ads on your site. That’s not exactly attractive, especially since you won’t be the one profiting from them. The only free website builder that I’ve seen that doesn’t require this is, Weebly.
2. Time To Start Paying
There have been many services in the past that started out with the “feemium” model, and eventually change to a paid-only model. If this were to happen to you, you’d have to decide whether to pay up, or move your site to another service. In the latter case, you’d lose all the SEO rankings that you’d built over time and be faced with starting all over again.
3. No Support For You
Whether it’s by chat, email, or telephone, technical support has to be done by a real human being. Paying someone’s salary is expensive and that explains why you won’t be getting support when you sign up for a free website builder. If you get stuck when building your site, you’ll either have to hack your way through it, or pay the piper.
Wrapping It Up.
Looking back over this list, it appears that there are more negative than positive aspects of free website builders. However, don’t let that deter you from using one, especially if you’re just getting started and want some tools to play around with until you know what you want and how to make it. Then when you’re ready to get serious, I would recommend going with a paid website builder.