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If it sounds too good to be true, it most probably is!

If you have ever fallen into the trap of being lured by a free offer, you are not alone. Seriously you need to ask yourself “what is in it for them?” and I can tell you with absolute certainty that it is not a good heart.

There is a place for everything and free websites have their place in the digital world but if you want ownership of your content and intend to grow your brand, rather avoid the free option.

As with anything there are downsides to free websites and here is a list of my top 10 reasons why I do not recommend this route.

  • The service provider owns the content of your website and if becomes a major hassle (not to mention the cost) if you want to transfer your website to a different service provider at a later stage.
  • The website builders provide limited customization and functionality and to top it off they look unprofessional. There is normally a limit to the number of pages and a restriction on the plugins you can use.
  • Your domain is not your own and goes along the line of abc.freewebiste/mybusinessname.com. It is much the same as using a free email platform rather than having sales@mybusinessname.com . It does not say much for your business credibility
  • Your site can go down at any time and you have no control over it. Your access to customer support is severely limited.
  • Just because it starts of free, does not mean it is free forever. What starts of free can end up costing so much more than what you were originally quoted for a website. There is always a reason behind the free offer – it could be to tempt you into a premium version at an upgrade fee or it may be for your information which could be sold on to other companies.
  • Poor performance due to restricted hosting resources. This could mean your pages load slowly and this in turn damages your potential customers experience on your website.
  • Free website builders need to make money somehow and one of the obvious ways to generate an income is through advertising. Be careful of advertising banners plastered on your website.
  • Security concerns on free hosting platforms could make your site vulnerable to hackers and there is nothing worse than trying to restore your data, not to mention the damage to your business reputation.
  • SEO (search engine optimization) is severely limited and this restricts your ability to grow your business through targeted marketing. This also includes limited access to your analytics which will jeopardize your marketing efforts.
  • Free websites are difficult to fix when something goes wrong and it is not unheard of to be offered premium support at a fee. Before you know your free website ends up becoming awfully expensive.

In a nutshell, free websites are fine for hobby bloggers, a school project or a digital portfolio but if you are serious about your business, rather pay to have a professional website built.

And as a final note, do your homework before you hand over your hard-earned cash – don’t associate expensive with quality. The two do not always go hand in hand!

Contact SDDS Web Design for a free quote today at info@sdds.co.za