Maybe you registered a domain name with GoDaddy or Network Solutions and saw a tempting offer for a low cost or free website building tool.
Claims of “Free,” “Easy,” “Stylish templates” are very tempting. But here’s my advice why you should run for the hills from these offers and not because SamsonMedia creates websites. Actually it IS because we create websites that I can offer the following insights as to why these offers are not what they are cracked up to be.
IT’S WHAT YOU CAN’T DO WITH THESE SITES THAT MATTERS
Can’t Move Them: This is the main reason these hosting companies offer free site building tools because it marries you to their hosting platform. Good for them but not so much for you if you ever decide to move your site to another server. Sorry. Your site was made on that hosting company’s proprietary platform and it’s going to stay there. These sites are not transferable because they’re not really made with open-source web design coding and conventions.
Can’t SEO Them: Want to add search engine optimization features to generate more search engine traffic? Good luck with that, too. Yes, they’ll offer you the basic META tag fields for adding titles, descriptions and keywords but try adding ALT tags and renaming image files and you’ll find you can’t. Don’t know what an ALT tag or META is? They’re counting on it.
Can’t Use Third Party Tools: Want to add a cool new widget or embed a Facebook widget or social media sharing button from a third party service. Uh…no. The Internet is an amazing place for free and low cost plugins and widgets that can add exceptional functionality to your website as your needs expand especially if you’re using a hosted WordPress solution. With these proprietary sites you’re stuck using only the limited tools they offer in their tool boxes.
If these three reasons are not enough to make you see the light also consider the time it will take to assemble your website on your own. And while you’re at it, are you aware of the rules of usability, copywriting, color wheels and calls to action? The value that we bring to website development is beyond question to those who “get it.” And it’s my job to present the process with so much value our role as developers is unquestionable. But years ago when we started the business, prospective web clients would sometimes ask why they need us to build a site when they can do it themselves. “You don’t,” I say. Feel free to do it yourself. But what I held myself back from saying is “Yeah, and while you’re at it, change your own oil, cut your own hair and that drip in the upstairs sink needs some tending to.” Have fun!