03/18/2016 Joe Jensen

Think Outside of the Squared Area: Why Free Web Design is Anything But

Is web design an expense or an investment? Before you answer, consider this question your mind: would you want to go to the cheapest dentist you could find? Or hire the lowest-cost divorce lawyer in the phone book, if you need one.

Most of us wouldn’t. It isn’t that we don’t like to save money, it’s that we want quality work more than we want the savings, and we know that getting the best – whether it’s in comfort, help, or advice – is going to take a little bit more.

That’s every day common sense, and a concept most of us learn as adults, not to mention as business owners or executives. And at the same time, that common sense is something that certain template-based web design companies want you to forget when they advertise their services. They would love for you to believe that building a high-quality website is a simple as forking over a few dollars and then taking a “drag-and-drop” approach to building a web presence.

If it were really that simple, why wouldn’t other companies be doing it? And why would anyone bother to pay for a professionally-designed website in the first place?

To find the answers to these questions, you have to think outside the square and look at two hidden details template web design services don’t want you to consider…


There Are Hidden Costs With “Free” Business Websites

In many cases, companies will give you a “free” website because they are going to come out ahead in other ways. For example, they may put ads on your website without your permission or approval. They might own the rights to any content you post on your website, use your pages to link to other websites within their networks, or charge you big fees for “premium” hosting, design, and e-commerce features you need to put your business online.

In each of these situations, what’s being offered as free is really just a way to hide the bill. When that happens, you can bet that eventually it’s going to end up with you being charged a bit of money… and when you are, it’s likely to be more than you expected.


The Real Price of a Cheap Website is Steep

In other cases, template companies make their money by charging low setup and design fees. But, a cheap website can be even worse than a free one. That’s because the company might not be charging you a lot of money, but your cheap website will probably cost you a fortune in the long run.

Today’s customers are savvier than ever. Your closest competitor is just a click away on Google. If someone comes to your webpages and finds a design that hurts your credibility, or a lack of the kinds of features and functions they expect from a business like yours, you aren’t going to get conversions. In fact, you might not be able to get search traffic in the first place, if the template being used isn’t easy for search engines to crawl and understand.

Ultimately, these missing sales are going to be a much bigger drag on your business than a small investment in a professional website would have been. Even worse, there’s no way to measure the revenue you would have been receiving if customers respected you more and took you seriously.

It’s always great to save money, and anyone involved in the world of business knows how important it is to keep marketing budgets and line. But, when you opt for a cheap cookie-cutter website, you end up getting exactly what you pay for. Working from a template is in a way to save money on web design, it’s a chance for your competitors to pull ahead of you without having to work for it.


“Out of the Box” Website Limitations

Sure, you saved a couple of bucks by designing your website on a “Do it yourself” website builders.  But did you put together a quality website that is going to go head-to-head with the long list of industry competitors?  The first limitation is the lack of knowledge regarding design, imagery and overall flow of a website.  These are the building blocks of what drives your clients to purchase a product, sign up, or pick your company to perform a service for them.  They’re things that have to be researched, and kept up to date with the latest industry information.

While your website might “look good”, there is another limitation with the DIY builders, and that is when it comes to online marketing.  All of the “Create your own” have a template starting point.  This code could be bulky, and Google doesn’t like bulky.  Beyond the bulk, most marketing companies are not able to work with the interface limitations in the admin area and being able to customize anything.  Every little bit helps with SEO, and limitations can be a crutch to your campaign.

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