Are Free Websites the Right Solution for Small Business Owners?

Companies offering free websites – like Wix, Weebly and Yola – are popping up everywhere.  I love free stuff. I use tons of it. But just because it’s free doesn’t mean that it’s the best solution for your small business.

When you’re bootstrapping your business – which is often a great approach – I completely understand that free tools can be your life ring. Tools like Evernote, Wunderlist, Trello, Facebook, CoSchedule, Canva and Gmail are invaluable to many of us small business owners. But knowing where to save and where to spend is absolutely critical to your survival. So this begs the question, are free web services such as Wix a good place to save money?

3 Reasons to Spend Money Creating Your Online Home

1. Free websites monetize on the backend – so you’re going to be spending money anyway.

I’m sure the people that are offering these free websites – like Wix – are awesome and quite frankly, I wish I’d have thought of their idea and put in the countless hours that it has taken them to design, build, test and market their solution. But all of those things they did took money. They have employees that want paychecks. They have TV commercials that are very expensive. They have a brilliant CEO that wants to make money. And they have shareholders that would be much happier if their investments went north rather than south. So what does all that mean?

It means that they want to monetize their product. They free services are there to get you to pay for their many paid services.

I’m not against paying companies like Wix, but know what you’re getting – and what you’re not getting. When we work with clients, we sit down to analyze their business, their customers, their goals and their strategic vision. We want to know where our clients are going and build a tool to get them there. Spending money for a tool that doesn’t get you to your goals is just a waste of a very precious resource. More about that…

2. Having the ability to create a website doesn’t make you a web designer

This isn’t a knock on you. There are plenty of things that I’m not good at. I mean, I can change a tire, but I sure as heck am no mechanic. The same holds true for web design. I spend hours researching the affects of font shape on readers opinions of website, the affect of call to action button location on click through rates, the proper – and ever-changing – best practices for SEO to get your site ranked in Google, the percentage of users in each industry visiting sites from mobile devices vs. desktops and tablets, etc.

The point is that just because you can create a website, that doesn’t mean you can create an EFFECTIVE website. And quite honestly, your time is too valuable to spend it creating a website that doesn’t work. If you’re in the business of selling coffee, spending your time bettering your product and customer experience will far outweigh the benefits of a poorly designed website.

Websites are a tool and if they are used improperly, they do more harm than good. A hammer in the hands of a skilled carpenter can lead to beautiful things. A hammer in the hands of an unskilled amateur can lead to chaos and extra work in the long run.

3. Web design isn’t as expensive as you think if you choose the right company

Money. It’s always a touchy issue. But effective website design doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think. We are a moderately priced firm because we believe in long-term relationships with out clients. We aren’t trying to squeeze every penny out of them and then move on to the next. To give you an idea of price, a simple site without custom features or an online store runs about $1,000. Your business can EASILY make $1,000 from a properly utilized website. So while it may sound expensive in the short run, most people in the US are spending far more than that on cable television throughout the year. If you’re willing to spend more on cable TV than building your business, you may want to re-evaluate the future of your business.

So back to affordable websites. It’s easy to find a company that will charge you $10,000 for a simple website. It’s also easy to find a college student that will design you a website for $200 and a case of beer. What’s not so easy is finding a talented web agency that will create a website for a reasonable cost and that truly understands business and design. That’s what we focus on.

Are we the best designers in the world? Probably not, but we are pretty darn good. Are we the best business people in the world? Probably not, but we are pretty darn good. But we are great at using our business and web design expertise to build effective websites to help grow your business. And we aren’t the only ones. There are companies out there just like us that understand how to create effective websites for reasonable prices.

Here’s the point…

I don’t care if you buy a website from us or someone like us, but I do care about your business. I care because small businesses are going to drive the economy that not just I live in, but also my children. I want you to succeed. I want you to do well.

I also know that our world is moving online quickly and you need to be ready if you are going to succeed. Spend your time on the things you’re great at… and let us do the same.

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If you need help finding a web designer, just contact us and let us know. We can not only help you directly, but we can also help you ask the right questions to find a developer that you’re comfortable with.

 

 

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This post was written by Josh Layhue

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