If you are a small business with limited funds, it may be tempting to try to build your own website using one of the free services out there. But, here are good reasons to use a professional instead:
- Professional Look: Use a professional so that your site will look… professional. Having a professional looking site gives credibility to your business. While these services show examples of sites that look great, it is often difficult to replicate these examples without training. Plus, in order for your site to remain free, you will probably have to put up with having the company’s branding on your site.
- Free Isn’t Always Free: If you want something more than the most basic site, you will probably have to pay for it. These payments are usually monthly and seem small, but when you add it up over months and years, chances are you will be paying a lot more than you think. If all you need is a small uncomplicated site, there is a good chance you can get that from a professional for a similar price or even less that these services charge over time.
- Advertising: Many of these services require that there be advertising on your page, especially if your are on a free package. If you are trying to advertise for your own business, you probably don’t want to be advertising for someone else’s at the same time.
- Ownership: With most free websites, you don’t actually own your site. Anything you type into the builder is there alone, and if it goes down, it is gone unless you have made copies elsewhere. Backups are fundamental to any website, but not having access to the actual files can make things more difficult. And, most importantly, what if the service goes out of business or if you have some sort of dispute with the company? Your website could easily just be gone. If you do go with one of these services, make sure to read the contract well. Don’t give away ownership to your content, and make sure you make copies of everything.
- Outdated Technology: While this is improving, there are still services out there that are not mobile responsive or use Flash technology. Websites that are not mobile responsive are not easy to read on mobile devices, and Flash does not even show on most mobile devices. With the growing use of mobile devices, you need a website that is easily usable on them.
- Intangible: When using a professional, you get so much more that just a website. You get discussion about where your business is going and what message and feeling you want to convey to your clients. And, you get help making that happen. You get people who care about helping your business. When I say this, I think I speak not only for Dogwood Web Design & Development, but for most web design and development professionals. Whether you choose to work with us or someone else, you will not only get a much better website, you will get help that can’t be described in a list of features.