Why you shouldn’t use a free website builder

Feb 13, 2018

There are some incredible options available for building a modern website – and as technology continues to move forward at a rapid pace, they are also plentiful.

Choice is usually no bad thing, unless you aren’t exactly sure of what you need or want – in which case, choice isn’t always a benefit!

If you’ve been looking for a new website, or to update a current site, you’ll likely have heard about providers like Squarespace and Wix – they can be a good temporary solution for some, but there are reasons why they aren’t likely to suit your needs long term.

When it comes to building and developing websites, the old adage of ‘you get what you pay for’ has never been more true, spending what you want, will likely not get you what you need.

That being said, let’s make it clear that free online template systems definitely have their place – you can get a nice looking site together quickly, and if you know what you are doing, for a fairly low cost.

 

So why shouldn’t you use a ‘free’ service, and what should you be looking for?

  • Thinking longterm. It’s more than likely that you’ve got a plan for your website to be around for a while – while some of the available online builders might help you get a website up quickly, they can also leave you tied in with a specific provider long after your needs have outgrown what they can offer.
  • Ownership of your website, and its assets: You’d think that if it was ‘your’ website you would own it – but not necessarily so. Many of the free services online will allow you to get a site up and running and offer an easy way to sort out a domain (website address) and hosting as part of your package, but be careful when reading the terms of your agreement – moving your site to another provider at a later date can be difficult, and costly.
  • Functionality: While many of the online services that offer software as a service are great – they also have a limit to their functionality. Every site has different needs and the only way to meet each of those varying needs is by having a website that is customised to meet those specific requirements.
  • Quality: User experience is a critical part of any business or service, and websites are exactly the same. Much of the experience of your website is dictated by what goes on in the background, especially the way that your website files are being hosted. Online builders often offer free hosting, but as it’s a shared experience with many other websites, the quality that it can offer is always likely to be compromised. Each website should be hosted to the specific requirements that each website may have.

 

So what is the alternative?

There are many ways to build websites and each website should be built to suit its needs, not just at the development stage, but also with a longterm view.

The majority of the sites that we develop are built with WordPress – it’s the most popular content management system in the world, and is currently the framework for nearly 30% of websites in the world.

One of the great things about WordPress is its ability to customise to suit your needs – and to move at any stage should you need to.

Ready to learn more? Get in touch, we’d be glad to help.

About the Author | Roddy Mackay
Tentmaker Creative is a small communications consultancy run by Roddy Mackay, a creative with 15 years’ experience of working with a variety of clients in a range of places to help them tell their stories well. Roddy’s work is split between running Tentmaker Creative and as a freelance photographer, where he shoots a combination of travel, weddings and commercial projects. As Tentmaker Creative, Roddy works with a range of other creatives to help clients think through a bigger picture – and to create content and strategies that help you engage your audience more effectively.

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