As the international community continues to become more connected, so, too, does the need for business to gain a foothold in the online space. With so many options to choose from when it comes to creating a robust online presence, more entrepreneurs are looking to build a free website so they can save on costs.
No longer can brick, and mortar stores continue to thrive without engaging their online customers. Now, the allure of creating a free website is enticing when you are trying to bootstrap your way to success.
While there is nothing wrong in trying to go this route, you still need to keep in the forefront of your mind; there are costs associated with this undertaking.
Too often, we hear about stories where an entrepreneur goes the free route, only to later be overcome by the money it takes to create something of real value.
Creating A Free Website
There are very few things in life that are free. Trust, love, affection, and loyalty are some of the natural elements of life we may associate with the term “Free.” Depending on who you talk to, these can sometimes come at a price.
The single most valuable asset that you will potentially ever have is Time.
We hear the common phrase “time is money.” That certainly is true if you work for someone, say like your typical 9 to 5. What that statement essentially equates too, is that you are trading your time for dollars.
As a business person who is responsible for an organization, you have to view things a bit differently. Your time is so precious the thought of it being wasted should make you cringe.
Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly are all perfectly fine platforms to use to showcase your brand to the world.
Wix has over 500 templates to choose from, along with a growing app market.
No matter how quick and easy these companies say building a website is on their platform, it’s still going to take you some time to learn the ins-and-outs.
It could take you a month to get things the way you want it, or maybe even less, but the point is, you are spending time tasks that will eventually cost you money in the long run. More on that below.
But Is It Really Free?
Yes, if you want a basic barebones website, it won’t cost you anything. But if you are serious about attracting, and engaging your customers, you’ll have to pay for some upgrades.
Just take a look at Wix’s Premium Business Plans.
That’s $25/m for the Unlimited plan which is their most popular within this segment. You can’t expect your customers to take you seriously when your URL says www.wix.com/mywebsite. The branding is entirely off and gives a cheap impression. Your customers are going to say to themselves, “If they can’t even spend the money on a solid hosting plan, what’s the quality of their products like then?”
That sentiment forces you to upgrade to one of the premium plans.
Furthermore, you’ll have to shell out for a domain name which will cost you $20.00 CAD/year
If you are serious about your business, then you’ll want a professional Logo as well. If you want just a simple Logo, expect to pay between $100-$200 depending on who you go with.
Selling your products through your online store? You’ll have payment processing fees for each order. Depending on who you use, let’s say PayPal for example, you’ll pay 2.9% plus $0.30 for each transaction. That’s on top of paying to ship your item to your end-user. If you are offering free shipping, then know that your business has to absorb the shipping cost, so make sure your margins can handle that.
Of course, you’ll want to set aside a marketing budget. After all, you can’t expect people just suddenly to come if you build it.
Suddenly, building a free website is starting to add up.
If you want a website design that stands apart from the competition, with advanced functionality, then you’ll have to invest to get those features.
SEO, content creation, email campaigns, advertising are some of the assets you’ll have to invest into when trying to scale your brand.
Maybe you need to give your customers back-end access to a course, download software, or maybe you are running a directory of some sorts, either way, you’ll need to move away from those free website platforms.
There’s nothing wrong with any of those free website platforms, as long as they fit your needs. Just know, that to be successful, you’ll need a tailored solution.
In the end, you’ll end up spending money to get the right results for your brand.