Why Free Websites Are Bad for Your Business

It’s no secret, professional website designers and developers are feeling the negative effects from a wide range of companies that offer the public “free” websites and hosting packages. If you peruse any of these companies social media accounts, you will see all kinds of open discussion about how much people love these “free” sites and negativity towards professionals who have spent years in education, experience and invested huge money in software, that charge for web creation.

Although I personally dislike the look and functionally of most of these “free” sites, there is still a place for them. They are acceptable for personal blogs, hobbies or sharing family info like kid and pet photos. However, if the main purpose of your website is to promote, sell or drum up business in any professional industry, stay far, far away from them!

If you think this article is about my company losing web business, it’s not. It’s about educating an audience and making the world wide web a better place. I have a handful of reasons NOT to go the DIY (do it yourself) route, instead go the DIR (do it right) route. Here they are...

Free Sites Are Not Really Free
Whatever their marketing pitch is, nothing in this world is “free.” It takes huge amounts of time and money to create websites and host them, and these “free” companies are raking in money - not from you, but from advertisers that use your website to sell ad space on. Here’s something to chew on... What if you owned a flower shop and you created a “free” website used to promote your business. Then one day, you see and ad for a competing flower shop on your site (because that’s how online ads work - they are placed on websites with similar topics and keywords) in the header or side bar? You have just recommended your competition and made a fool of your business!

Limited Space
Every “free” website company I know of has a cap on bandwidth and disk space. If you run over that monthly limit, your site shuts down for the rest of the month. So let’s just say you get a whack of traffic on September 1, and it uses up your allotted bandwidth (the amount of data transferred from your host server to the viewer). This would result in your site being shut down until October 1. Can you afford to go a whole month without a website after all that effort creating it? From the visitor's point of view, you are closed for business. Of course, there is a way out if this - you can upgrade your free account by paying for additional space - now we are on a level playing field!

Free Domain Not Credible
The same way having an actual business name is credible, so is having your own web domain name. If you had 2 flower shops to buy form online, www.fredflowers.com or www.freesites/fredsflowers.com which one would you choose to spend your money on? Having your own custom domain shows you are serious about your business and displays a more secure feeling for your customers. Keep in mind that you own your custom domain and it can follow you wherever you host your website - which is not the case in the “free” website domain extensions.

Search Engine Un-Friendly
Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing do not consider these “free” sites as credible and their spiders do not index them well. Regardless of the content quality on your “free” site, if you expect to rank high on search engines, think again!

Spam Attraction
Because of the large volumes of “free” websites in a single location or server, spammers are licking their chops and ready to attack creators with little web knowledge. Your site is way more likely to get hacked with a “free” package as opposed to having a professional secure your custom built site. Just a few weeks ago I talked to a local business who got their Wordpress site hacked - and they had full access to it. This caused headaches and downtime. On the flip side of this, is the fact that YOU may be considered a spammer before you even know it! A lot of “free” website users abuse the internet and send out millions of spam messages. This red flags the host (free website company) as a spammer, and your site may be grouped in to this label whether you know it or not.

Expect Surprises
When you have a “free” website, you are vulnerable to unexpected outages, surprise downtime and you are at the mercy of the company’s rules. If the company that gives you a “free” website decides to shut down or sell their business, there goes your website! Also, because your “free” website is being shared by millions of other users, there is a huge chance that 1 of those sites will cause a server malfunction or requires support that will cause your server to shut down. There is no warning, it just happens without notice.

Ever walk into a room and see someone wearing the exact same shirt as you? Kind of embarrassing isn’t it? This applies to your online presence too. These “free” sites share cookie-cutter templates and the small offering of templates are used by millions of people with slight colour and photo changes. Bottom line - you look like everyone else on the web, faceless and are easily forgotten.

What You Should Do
It still amazes me that even after all these reasons, the fact they are “free” vetoes them all. If you are serious about your business and you require your website to help put food on your table, then invest the resources required to avoid all of the “free” website problems.

At Bradley Advertising, we know websites. We are award winning web designers and work with the top programmers in the industry. Our goal is to provide our clients with the best possible solution for the most reasonable cost. All of the websites we develop are professionally designed and programmed to the client’s specific needs. We only host our sites on premium servers and guarantee 99.9% uptime.

To learn more about our services and rates, or to set up a meeting to create your custom website email us today!


This article was created by founder and creative director, Steven Bradley.