There’s a countless number of build-your-own-website businesses out there. You can choose from pre-made templates with standard themes and insert your information and images where you want them – and you can have all this for free. In most cases, you have at least a degree of control over fonts and colors, but most users simply leave things as they are in the example. They’re wildly convenient and relatively cheap, so we should all use them, right?
While many businesses (small and startups, in particular) are simply trying to save money by choosing one of these pre-made sites, they’re likely costing themselves in the long run. Using a themed platform can result in fewer visits, deterred customers, and a staggering loss over the years.
Why They’re a Bad Idea
There are many reasons why you should invest in a custom website design. Settling for one of these templates is a poor choice because:
- The websites are slow. Mass-producing websites often leads to an overloaded host, which reduces the download speed and surf-ability of each.
- They’re not actually free. Premium content and features are locked away for paying members and can be obtained by purchasing service upgrades. Hidden charges such as image hosting or email can add up.
- Your page will likely display an overabundance of irrelevant ads. To help balance out the “free” websites, these hosting services rely on advertisers who help foot the bill. You are unable to manage these ads and will not receive profit from the traffic they bring. For control over ads and ad space, most companies require you to pay for premium or upgraded service.
- There is a great deal of uncertainty in the stability of the hosting company. The company is not guaranteed to last. It can pull the plug on your site at any time, for any reason, or can sell the service to another host.
- There is limited bandwidth to work with. In addition to sluggish or slow download speed, you are limited on what you can work with and how much space and storage you can use.
- You won’t have a branded email, such as [email protected], and the website address is unprofessional and often reads like themewebsitefree.com/mybusiness.
If you truly want your business to succeed, invest in a custom domain and look. This decision could mean the difference between your business’s failure or its success online. What might sound like a free ride might cost you in the end.