Why pay for a website when you can get one for free?

20th Jul 2020

Why pay for a website when you can get one for free?

20th Jul 2020

7 Ways that having your own professionally designed website pays for itself

These days, it’s easy to get your business online. From social media platforms and free website providers to custom-built websites, the options are plentiful.

And with so many free options on the table, why would you pay for a website?

Benefits of a professional website
  • Adds credibility
  • No ads or data mining
  • Professional email address
  • Website does exactly what you want
  • Grows with your business
  • Secure
  • Tech support
  • You own your own content

More professional and credible

Your website is your online reputation. You want your website to reach your customers and immediately show them that your business is reliable, dependable, and the real deal. 

Most free website providers don’t give you your own domain for your website. This means that instead of having a URL like “seriousbusiness.co.nz”, people visit your website through a URL like “seriousbusiness.crazyfreewebsite.co.nz”.

Now, that might be fine for a hobby site or a not-for-profit club, but for a business trying to make a good impression; it’s not a great look.

A professional website from a reputable provider will start you off on the right foot with your customers.

Eliminates ads and data mining

Free websites, like wordpress.com and others, make their money somehow. Sometimes this is from providing a low-tier product for free in the expectation that customers will upgrade to a paid package at some point.

Some free website companies make their money by selling advertising space on those websites – so your new business site could end up advertising the services of your competitors or products that you don’t wish to be associated with.

Other free website companies provide an advertising-free website for their clients, but then track and monitor all the traffic and data through that website, and on-sell the aggregate data to big companies for their own marketing campaigns. 

If you're not paying money for a product, sometimes you are the product that's being sold.

Having your own domain means you can have a dedicated professional email address

Paying for your own domain name gives you more than just a professional URL for your website. With your own domain name (like Turboweb.co.nz or SinglePage.co.nz for instance) you can also set up email addresses for your company without using one of those free email providers, or the email given you by your internet company.

info@mygreatbusiness.co.nz just looks so much better and more reliable than mygreatbusiness97@yahoo.com, right? 

With your own domain, you can usually set up several email addresses for free, included with your domain subscription price (usually up to four, with additional emails very reasonably priced). This means you can have different email enquiries going to different people as needed. You could have an accounts@ email for your accounts and invoicing enquiries, a sales@ email, and an admin@ email, for instance. Whatever works for you.

A properly set-up email service with a dedicated domain is also much more likely to get through people’s spam filters, so your emails to your clients are more likely to be seen.

Custom design means the site is exactly what you want

Free websites are all template sites – websites that are created from a fixed set of options and fill-in-the-blanks. They’re not bad as a starting point, but they can be quite limited. On the other hand, a custom-designed website provides you exactly the website you want, tells your company’s story, and delivers a great customer experience for your clients. 

Read more about template versus custom sites here.

Easy to expand your site as your business grows 

A free website might look perfect for your needs when you're starting out, but you really don't want to be locked into a beginner site, or hampered by restrictive terms of service.

Free websites are, for the most part, designed to be used by small operations and hobbyists. They are deliberately short of features and flexibility.

This is so the website company can either sell you an upgrade to a fully-featured website, or because their business model isn’t really about creating great websites, it’s about harvesting your data or gaining subscriptions to market other products to you. 

Whatever the reason, what you’re left with is a placeholder website that doesn’t give you the functionality that you really need to run a business. Some have no ability to add online shopping options, others prevent you from directly selling anything through the website. You might not even be able to sign up to Google Analytics to get access to your own web traffic information.

By paying for a well-designed website upfront you are guaranteeing that you’ll be able to add whatever changes or adaptations you need in the future. A good business website should enable you to expand into different offerings as your business grows and changes.

Booking software integration, online payment options, product displays, catalogues or menus, downloadable brochures, gift vouchers, employment application forms, and all the other things that your business may need in the future can be added to a good custom-built website.

Security and tech support

Free website companies don’t spend money on having responsive, available customer support teams for you to contact when things go wrong. Most will only have customer support available for their paying customers and, even then, you might have to spend a great deal of time navigating your way through a many-tiered phone system before you talk to someone who knows what they’re doing.

Tech support is something that is easy to dismiss as unimportant when things are going well but it only takes one hacking attempt, or one corrupt file, for you to really need some help.

Most people are not excited at the idea of spending their evenings and weekends trying to reinstall a backup copy of their website because everything has crashed. Being able to pick up the phone and just get it sorted can be a lifesaver. 

Some things are just worth paying for.

You own your own website

Free website providers can shut your website down with no notice, and no warning. If you read the fine print on the service agreements you'll find that most of the time, they have no obligation to save backups of your site, and no obligation to give you access to your data. This may not seem like a problem, until you find that your free website provider has just gone out of business and shut down its servers, taking your website with it.

On the other hand, many users who start with a free website and then want to upgrade to a more professional service find that they cannot easily migrate their site away from the free provider. Free providers may not offer any tools for migrating the data to a new host, and clients end up paying freelancers a pile of cash to extract their data and set it up on a new platform.

By paying for a custom website on your own domain, you know that you own your own website and all the information on it.

Also consider...

Read more about choosing the right platform for your site.

Learn about Turboweb's SinglePage websites, perfect for businesses wanting their first real website.

Find out about setting up different Google services for your website, to access great analytics and data.

 

Talk to Turboweb today about making a great website for your business, that can grow with you, and do all the things that you will want to do, today and into the future.