Is a Free Website Builder Right for My Small Business?
Would a FREE website builder be the right decision for my business?
That is a good question and it really depends on a few things: First, what is the current state your business is in, and do you have a marketing budget to work with?
If you are just starting out and have time to learn how to build your own website, then a free website builder may help you get on your feet.
If you are an established business owner ask yourself these questions:
Do I have the time to build a website for my business? Do I have the capability or desire to learn the programs necessary in order to achieve a beautiful website that actually compliments my business and generates new leads?
What we know is that every company is unique and one size does not fit all and when it comes to establishing a website presence on the internet, there is simply no silver bullet or perfect website template to generating thousands of leads so a free website builder just simply doesn’t work for all businesses.
Are first impressions everything?
When people start looking for the type of product or service you offer, they often start by searching the internet.
General visitors first impression of you and your business will be your website. As you have often heard, it’s incredibly important to make a good first impression.
The color scheme, the number of pages, the layout of text, the quality of the images and the functionality of the website must really compliment your business in order to represent your company as you want it to be seen and how your customers want to see it.
Your website should be something you are extremely proud to show to customers.
For instance, if you are a restaurant owner your website should really deliver and experience of what it is like dining at one of your location. We want to feel what it is like to sit at one of your tables.
Where should you be spending your time to grow your business?
Very few business owners have time or desire to learn all the skills necessary to create a website that can attract new users, encourage old users to return, and to accomplish your KPI (key performance indicator) goals.
Delegating the task of website design, development, monitoring, reporting, researching and making improvements to your website could save you not only time, but money and your sanity.
So what do you do? Should you do-it-yourself, find a freelancer, or hire an employee?
Is the juice worth the squeeze? (Saving money)
Many small business owners try to save money by using a friend or family member and a free website builder. However, most people are unaware of the numerous aspects involved in creating a custom website for their business.
Okay, we know… your nephew John can build a website, but can he build a website that actually generates leads for your business?
Your website needs a few key functions that really churn new visitors into buying customers.
Lets’ talk about a few:
Sitemap: It must be easy to navigate and understand, containing all the information that readers and search engines need. The images must be appealing and optimized correctly. The pages must contain search engine ready content, load quickly to keep viewers interested in your website long enough to turn into customers.
But wait, lets back up a bit. How do new users even find my website?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization): In order to be found, the website must appear high on the Google search pages. These are just a few of the features of a website that a business owner must get right in order to reach and serve clients well.
Can anyone actually find my website in the search engines?
Being found on the internet is another big issue that a website owner must take into account. Search engine optimization is a complicated science unto itself.
Most business owners don’t understand how Google ranks web pages on its search results pages. Google uses an algorithm to determine which website is listed first, second, third and so on.
If you don’t know how to get your website to rank high with Google, you may not be found by new customers searching for businesses like yours.
You could have the nicest looking website imaginable but if your website is not found by prospective customers it will not help your business grow, which is why you need SEO tools or an SEO professional with ranking experience.
Let’s look at a well-known free website builder: WordPress. It is advertised as being simple to set up and use, but is it? There is a significant learning curve which proponents fail to mention.
The WordPress jargon is not easy to understand starting out. For example, most people don’t know what a widget is or what it does. Then there are plugins, permalinks and tags to take care of.
WordPress has hundreds of themes (frameworks) to chose from but it can take hours to find one that is right for your purpose.
A few themes are free, most are not. Just the fact that the website must be built on a pre-created framework means that the layout of the website is constrained by the theme. Unless you are a gifted techie, getting WordPress to do exactly what you want it to do is not easy.
Other Free Website Builders
If you have web hosting with GoDaddy or 1and1.com, they provide website builders but, again, the terminology is an obstacle. Learning to operate these “drag and drop” website builders and getting the pages to look the way you want them to can be a big challenge.
Even if a free website building has oodles of options, it can be overwhelming to learn and remember how they all work.
These hosting companies do not offer free support for their website builders, so if you get stuck or confused there is no one to call for help.
Wix is another free website builder that is widely advertised as being simple to set up and use. However, online reviews indicate that this claim is seriously exaggerated.
Wix might be a reasonable option for a temporary website but for a well-established or growing company it is not really appropriate. To begin with, the URL will be http://yourwebsite.wix.com/yourwebsite with no caps. This does not give a good first impression to a new client. You want your website URL to be clear and clean, such as YourWebsite.com, with no extra characters.
What’s more, your website will be in the Wix hosting space instead of your own hosting space. This can be compared with renting an apartment versus owning a home. In the first instance, you are limited to what improvements you can make. In the second, you are free to create the environment that is best for you.
Furthermore, you give up the control of security and functionality to Wix. Additional problems can arise because Wix does not give its users unlimited bandwidth or file storage. A better plan is to retain control over your website and have no limitations so that your website is what your business and clients need it to be.
Your website is your company’s online store front, sales rep, brochure and much more. It’s where the public can learn about you and interact with your company. It’s about reaching and keeping good customers. Your website may be the first contact a customers has with your company so it must be perfect, presenting you and your brand in the most positive light. Every aspect of your website must work smoothly every time, whether the person is using a contact form or ordering a product. There is no room for error or a customer could be lost forever.
Take a moment today to call Awebco at (217) 903-5999 to discuss your website situation. Let the Awebco representative explain what can be done to enhance your online presence and image. There is no obligation and you will find it exciting to explore the possibilities. Calling Awebco may be the best marketing decision you make for your business this year.