The heart and soul of our work here at Original Ginger is building the perfect custom branding and marketing solution for you, which means we’re committed to helping you discover the right set of tools for the unique needs of your company and your budget. But we also know that when you’re starting out and it’s time to get your business online, it might seem like a free DIY business website builder is a great option – the price tag looks too good to pass up, and if you can run a company, how hard can it be to build a website? If you want it to work well, look great, and help grow your business, it’s actually pretty tough. Ask someone who’s been designing and developing websites for 20+ years!
Before you jump headfirst into one of the many “build it yourself” template providers because they’re supposed to be free and easy to use, you should keep reading to find out why they may not be the best choice for a business website.
It’s true – the premise sounds awesome: choose a template you like the look of, spend time customizing it, provide some content, and out pops a shiny new website for your business at no cost to you. Unfortunately, (as with most things) free is rarely actually free, and there’s a HUGE difference between just being online and being found, being relevant, and being effective. In this case, that’s the difference between true benefits for your business and lackluster returns, unexpected expenditures, wasted time, and a potentially unprofessional result. Trust us when we say, no business can afford that.
Here’s a breakdown of how most of the perceived pros of free website builders have some pretty serious cons you may not have considered.
What makes a free DIY business website builder so attractive?
What’s better than free when you’re trying to save costs for your company? It turns out that “free” is pretty subjective, as these template providers need to make money too.
In most cases, the features you really need – plugins for functionality, storage and bandwidth, analytical tools, or even a so-very-important custom website address – will cost you extra to unlock in an ‘a la carte’ fashion. For the professional results that you originally envisioned, it’s likely that you will need to upgrade your entire account, which means paying a monthly subscription fee for the rest of the life of your website. So much for free.
If you put in the hard work building your site, it belongs to you, right? We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but in many cases, if you’re working with a free site builder… well… it doesn’t.
It’s easy to believe that when you build your business website yourself, you’ll be able to design things exactly the way you want them, and that it will be a quick and straight-forward process. While some of the steps are simplified (like the core coding required,) a website builder is still a tool and you are likely to experience a learning curve. Just like learning any new skill, you won’t be an expert at using it at first: it’s going to take some time and some patience to get a feel for working with the builder. Since you’ll be working on your own, there won’t be anyone to help you if you feel overwhelmed and confused, or to help you troubleshoot your mistakes.
How many hours do you want to spend agonizing over theme builder documentation, or choosing which colours to use where with mediocre results. While a free website builder can help you put the very basic foundation into place, there are often limitations in how much you can customize function and design. Also, free website builders can’t help you with the crucial components of web design and branding that are the driving factors behind the online success of any business. SEO to help your company get found by search engines, or the design theory that makes a site eye-catching, easy to use, and professional looking aren’t things that can just be “dragged and dropped” onto a page: they’re critical elements that are too important to be left to trial and error. What’s the point of building a website if Google can’t find it, or if it’s broken from day one? Fixing and rebuilding will quickly eat up the time you thought you were saving.
But I need to save money, time, and own the content on my business site. Now what?
We’re definitely not pointing all of this out to dissuade you from building your own website, but we want you to succeed when you do!
The OG team has spent a lot of time talking to business owners just like you, to find out how we can best help. We know that companies come in every shape and size, with budgets to match, and you’ve told us considering a free website builder often comes from the worry that you might not be ready for a full service re-branding or custom built website. You told us how important you think it is to have a solid foundation: a business website that performs perfectly from day one, that is portable, open source and fully customizable however you see fit and fully owned by you! We have great news – that option exists and we can tailor the perfect solution based on everything you asked for.
Imagine your website: beautiful, functional and effective
Unlock Access to Our E-Book:
Website Design: 21 Tips that Convert
This guide will help you understand the balance between design, function, customer experience and user experience for an effective website. It’s a strong resource, an informative read, and would be very helpful prior to meeting with an agency like Original Ginger.
Our agency is made up of creative professionals who can develop a custom, affordable website with a maintenance plan if you feel you need one, to help you make sure things are running smoothly and securely. But if you’ve been thinking about using a website building platform to build a website yourself, talk to us first. We have a wealth of expertise and web design knowledge to share, and we can help you choose a solution that will fit your needs and budget while providing supplementary services if and when you need them.
Give us a call at 778.298.1966 or Toll Free at 1.855.298.8650 and ask about our small business website packages. We also provide coaching services if you need some dedicated time to speak to an expert about your options.