This is something I heard from someone at a networking event. Small business owners realize that their budget is limited, so they end up doing their website themselves through a "free" website builder. It's a tempting solution for those that don't have a the budget to hire a professional. However, many small business owners end up with a website that delivers poor results. They discover that their free website was, in reality, a costly mistake. Here's why:
Setting up a website is more than making it look pretty.
While the idea of a "free" website may be attractive, there is much more to building a good website than uploading your text, logos and graphics. There are many other important factors that ensure your site benefits your business, including:
- Correctly configuring the site setup
- Optimizing for SEO performance
- Optimizing for local search (for local businesses)
- Creating landing pages and lead conversion forms
- Integrating with social media
- Tracking analytics
And that's just the short list. Configuring the SEO parameters involves many more steps. Here's a more extensive list by Local SEO Checklist on what goes into fully optimizing a website for high search rankings.
Launching a new website is just one part of the puzzle. To make it effective and worth the time and effort of creating it, the site must be properly configured so it appears in search results and attracts and converts visitors. Otherwise, what's the point of going through all the trouble to create your site if no one finds it?
Creating a website takes time and expertise.
Building a site yourself, you probably decided to do your own graphics and you probably spent hours agonizing over the copy. Unless you're in the website or marketing business, these tasks are probably not your area of expertise and the hours add up quickly. The time it takes to do a website properly goes well beyond uploading graphics and text. It's also time you could have spent getting new customers, tending to current customers, developing employees, managing your business (get the idea?). If, in the end, you have a site that doesn't work properly, what's the real value of that free website? And beyond pouring your time into it—the project detracted from progress you could have made applying your business expertise elsewhere.
Anybody can create a free (or nearly free) account on a website builder. The problem is that many business owners don't know how to use those tools properly. They put a website out there, but aren't aware of the back-end details involved. As a result, they have a poor performing website. Even if someone has the knowledge to do it themselves, there is a substantial amount of time involved. If you're a business owner, can you afford to spend hours on your website, when you could be focusing on your business?!
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