Get a free website

Decisions, decisions...

It's easy to set up a website for yourself. Do a quick Google search and you'll find myriad companies promising 'get a free website' with tempting and convincing reasons to sign up. But there are better reasons to have one built by a professional - after all you get what you pay for.

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To use an analogy, you probably wouldn’t do your own plumbing or get a mate to have a go ‘who’s done a bit before’. Why? Because you’d want to make sure it was done properly by a professional, that it wasn’t going to go wrong and that it stayed working long term. So why cut the same corners with the future of your business? Here are a few comparisons on why a professionally built site is a better option long term than a DIY one.

Your business image

DIY: You’re restricted to using a template with a free web builder. You’ll be forcing your business to fit into a pre-made generic layout which is not designed to promote, work for, or grow your business. You’ll have a choice of templates but it will be ‘best fit’ and there’s more to making a website a success than just picking the right colours.

Bespoke: If a web designer is doing their job properly they will ask the right questions and design a site with clear objectives which is therefore geared towards growing your business, converting visitors and generating money. You’ll also receive help in developing branding and learn how a website can be used as an effective lead generation tool. You’ll end up with a powerful piece of online marketing.


DIY: It can’t be underestimated how much time is needed to look after a website and building a website yourself is massively time consuming. You’ll need to find the right free website builder, do the sign-up, figure out how to use it, play around with a few ideas, configure the emails and importantly, spend time in the future maintaining and updating the site if it’s going to be effective. This is all time, and a lot of it, that you could be spending doing something else to grow your business. So, the ‘free website’ is now out of the window because of all the work hours you’ve spent building and looking after the site.

Bespoke: Paying a professional to do it means you don’t have to. They know what they’re doing and can have the job done more quickly and to a better standard. This frees you up to spend time on other aspects of your business that you know how to do.


DIY: You are often limited to a certain number of pages or a certain set of functions. Ultimately, and commonly, you will outgrow your free website. Many of my clients came to me after starting off with a free site saying ‘it won’t do what I want it to do’.

Bespoke: Your website will be built to be future-proof and with future expansion in mind. BUT, be wary of companies who charge a fixed rate for ‘5-page websites’ or 9-page websites’. To me this is bizarre as it depends what’s on the page – a page with some complex functionality is more time consuming to develop than a page of text so charging ‘per page’ is a nonsense. And, your website should reflect your company: it should be able to evolve, develop and be built to accommodate future business growth in order for it to say relevant and useful without you worrying about running out of pages.

Google rankings

DIY: Unless you’re an expert in SEO (search engine optimisation) your DIY site will most likely not perform well in search results. You want to be found by customers and a free website builder won’t necessarily help you to achieve this.

Bespoke: Having a website built professionally will mean you have a higher likelihood of appearing in a decent position in a web search. Professional designers know how to do SEO and can help you write the right content to achieve this. Many other factors contribute to good search engine positions (tidy code, up to date techniques, etc) which a good web designer will ensure are included.


DIY: What happens if something goes wrong. Who do you call? Many of the large free web builder companies have huge international call centres where you won’t be able to talk to an IT expert to resolve problems quickly. It can be a time consuming and frustrating process and because you opted for a ‘free’ website technical support is practically non-existent.

Bespoke: You’ll be able to speak to your web designer directly to solve issues or queries. You’ve paid for follow-up support so you’ll get it.

Return on investment

DIY: Add up all the hours you spend building and looking after your free site, time spent on maintenance and seeking support, time and money spent on Google Adwords to improve rankings and increasing conversions. It’s not really free any more. And, balance this with how many visitor conversions you’ve had.

Bespoke: A decent website will cost a bit but with an increased likelihood of it being effectively targeted to your audience the chances of it paying for itself quickly is much greater. Get a professional website quote and figure out how many website conversions you’ll need to pay the designer’s bill. It’s not many, is it? And, it’ll keep on working after you’ve made your money back.

Speculate to accumulate

If cost is an issue, a free website could end up being a false economy in the long run. Some web designers, including this one, are accomodating with clients’ budgets and offer payment by instalments to spread the cost of a professional build. And, back to your plumbing that you did yourself, how long will it be before you need to call in a professional to do a proper job?

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