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Why Using a Free Website Builder for Your Business is a Mistake

One thing that I’ve come across while doing keyword research for blog posts and Google Ads is that a lot of people are searching for “free website builder” for their small business websites.

Now, I can understand that free is definitely tempting. It’s nice to not have to pay for anything, especially if you’re creating a business right now and don’t have a lot of money.

And free can be fine if you’re just creating a small blog where you’re planning to write about your daily life or about a show or something like that where you’re not expecting a lot of (if any) income from your website.

But a website for your business or organization or community or even a portfolio website to show off your skills is not a time to be using a free website builder.

Instead, it’s going to be well worth your investment to pay for a service like Wix or Squarespace or purchase a domain name and web hosting and tools — like WordPress plugins and themes — or hire a web developer or designer to create your website for you.

Because in the end, while you’ll pay more to get started with your website, you’ll make that money back and more in the long run with a much better website than what you could build with a free website builder.

You Get What You Pay For

At the end of the day, you get what you pay for.

If you pay a lot for a premium product, you’re going to get a lot in the way of features, support, fixes and more (or at least you should). But if you pay nothing for something, you’re not going to get a whole lot in return.

Free Website Builders Limit What You Can Do

The fact of the matter is that the free website builders will limit what you can do to create your website.

Sure, you can create a couple of pages, but you won’t be able to customize your pages or layouts. You’re locked into whatever options they give you. Want to do something outside of the box? Welp, you’re all out of luck there.

Want to find ways to boost your SEO with your website? Again, good luck trying that with a free website builder. You won’t have the same options that you would with a WordPress website or even a Wix or Squarespace website.

Free website builders put your website in a simple box and won’t allow you to do anything outside of that box.

You Won’t Actually Own Your Website

Also, you don’t actually own your own website with a free website builder. They do.

You’re not going to be able to move that website around if you want to use a different service or try a different web host. Exporting your website will be a challenge, and don’t expect to get much help from them.

And owning your own website is mission critical for any business or organization. That means you can move the website around, take backups of the website that you have in case something happens and don’t have to worry about something happening to the content you took so long to create.

With a free website builder, they can take down your website whenever they like and leave you completely empty handed with no website.

Don’t put yourself in that situation.

Bad User Experience

Another problem is that a lot of these free website builders are just a bad user experience.

It can be a challenge to figure out where to go to add text or an image to the page. Or you might have a hard time figuring out where you can manage site settings or all of the images you’ve uploaded to your website.

Want to figure out how you might be able to add columns to your website? Good luck with that.

These builders aren’t nearly as good as the tools offered by WordPress, Wix, Squarespace and others. Those are created for customers and care about user testing. The free builders don’t do any of that.

Instead, you’ll just feel lost a lot of the time.

A Worse Website in the Long Run

Finally, with all of these issues listed, you’re going to end up with a worse website in the long run.

It’s not going to look any different than someone else’s website on the same website builder. It’s going to be hard to manage and even harder to grow the website (most of the free builders don’t even allow for online stores). And you’re going to have a frustrating time trying to grow your business or organization.

While paying for a premium tool or for a professional to build your website will cost more money, it will eliminate all of these headaches and give you a much better website for the long run that will help you grow your business or organization.

A Free Website isn’t Going to be Free

Also, just because they say you can create a website for free on their platform doesn’t mean that it’s actually going to be free.

If Something is Free, You’re the Product

For starters, there’s a saying in the tech world that if something is free to use, you’re probably the product.

The biggest example is social media websites. Yes, it might be free to sign up for that new social network, but how are they making their money? By selling advertising space (which includes knowing way too much information about you) and/or by selling your data. You’re as much of a product for them to sell as much as a user of the platform.

The same is possible for whatever free website builder you’re using. And with the rise of AI, your website’s content could be sold or used for AI learning and generation without your knowledge. Your intellectual property could be taken from you if you’re not careful.

So just because it’s free doesn’t mean you aren’t paying in some other way.

There will be Security Concerns

Also, another problem you’re going to run into is security concerns.

If someone is offering to let you create your website for free, I can just about guarantee that they are skimping on security so that they can make as much money as possible.

So what does that mean for you? Well, it means that your website is going to be at a greater than normal risk for getting attacked by bad actors. It’ll be easier for them to get in to mess with how your website looks, where your domain points to or, in the worst case scenario, getting access to customer or client information if you have that on your website.

I don’t think I need to tell you that that’s bad for your business. That’s going to be a much, much larger headache for you than if you had paid for something that’s more secure.

Free means less security. And less security is going to be a problem for your website.

You Could Lose Your Entire Website

Also, there’s a good chance that you could lose your entire website if you use a free website builder.

These types of services come and go all of the time. If they are offering something for free, there’s a good chance they are running on some slim margins. And it won’t take much for them to go under and for you to lose your website.

Additionally, you won’t really own the content on your website. Sure, you’ve added the text and image and maybe even videos to the site, but trying to export that content to move it somewhere else, like to a WordPress or Drupal website is going to be a challenge.

If this is a serious website that’s going to help your business, your organization or even yourself achieve goals, you can’t afford to have your website in a place where you could lose it all overnight.

That’s worth whatever the price it takes to create a website on a more stable platform.

Your Business Website is an Investment

The reality is that creating a website for your business or organization or for yourself as a digital portfolio is an investment. You are going to have to spend money in order to build something that’s going to last and help you achieve your goals, whatever they may be.

And if you build your website correctly (or have someone else build it for you), you’re going to end up making back the money you spent and a lot more.

Using Professional and Paid Tools Will Help in the Long Run

While using a free website builder might feel like the thing to do right now in the short term, it’s not the play to make for the long term, which is what you should be thinking about for your business or organization.

As I mentioned before, free website tools can make your website harder to build and maintain, especially in the long run. In addition to the challenges using the tool, there’s also the reality that your website could completely disappear overnight.

By using paid tools or hiring a professional to build the website, you’ll get to bypass all of that.

These paid tools make it easy to not only create your own website, but to manage and maintain it as time goes on. And scaling your website up as your business grows will be much, much easier.

And if you hire a professional to create the website, they’ll know exactly what to do to both create a great looking website that works but also build you a website that lasts and is easy for you to manage once they hand you the keys.

Trust me, future you will thank you for not using a free website builder.

You Will Need to Pay for a High Quality Website

The reality is that to get that high quality website, you’re going to need to pay some amount of money. And I know that if money is tight for you right now, that statement can be hard to read.

But the good news is that you still have a lot of great options in the paid category. You don’t necessarily have to pay for a $5,000-plus website.

Instead, you can use a tool like Wix or Squarespace to get started now. Or you can use Shopify to create an online store.

If you want more control over your website (and stay away from proprietary products), you can use WordPress to create your website. You’ll have to purchase a domain and web hosting, but you’ll be able to customize every part of your website right from the dashboard with their new site editor tools.

And if you want someone else to create your website for you, you can always hire a web developer/designer or a digital agency to help you make that a reality.

There are so many different options that are better than a free website builder for your business.

A Better Website will Help Your Business Grow

Finally, a higher quality website is going to help your business or organization grow.

It’s going to have a much better design that is unique to your business. It will be usable for visitors so they can purchase your products, fill out a lead generation form to get into your sales funnel, sign up for a newsletter or complete whatever conversions you have set for your website.

The website is also going to be easier for you to manage. The paid tools will make it better for you to create the website and to maintain it — whether that’s updating the tools, securing your website from threats, updating your content, writing blog posts or anything else.

And your website will always be running. There won’t be any reason to worry about whether or not your website is. Instead you can be confident that it is and is helping your business grow.

Paid tools or professionals are the best way to create a website to help your business or organization grow. Not those pesky free website builders.

Create an Affordable Website to Get Your Business Online Quickly

Are you looking to create a website for your business or organization and want a high-quality website without having to pay thousands of dollars? You’re in the right place!

The Small Business Website Starter Kit is built exactly for this. You’ll be able to create a great website on WordPress with a great design that shows off your business or organization. You’ll also be able to add on an online store or create multiple lead generation forms to help you achieve your goals. And your website will be built with growth in mind so that it can grow with your business or organization, and you’ll get all the training you need to manage your website.

The best part? You’ll get all of this for starting at $850 and your website will be live in two weeks or less.

So get your business or organization online with a great-looking website today!

Keep Learning with the Small Business Websites Newsletter

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to websites. How do you build a website that’s going to help your business grow? How do you manage a website to help your business grow? What’s the latest website news that you should know about? What are some websites you can look to for inspiration?

The Small Business Websites Newsletter helps you answer each of these questions. The biweekly newsletter will take a deep dive into some website-related topic, like SEO, WordPress, how to plan a website and more, to help you learn more about websites. I’ll also include some website news that you should know about as well as add inspiration I’ve found that might help you. And you’ll even get discounts for various products I offer. And all of this is for free.

So if you want to be better at building or managing your small business website (or any website for that matter), then you’ll want to sign up today!

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