Are you deciding whether a free website builder or hiring a website designer/developer is right for your business? If so, you want to consider what your needs are and your expectations of what your website will do for your business. Below we talk about more than just the site build and what each option has to offer.
What exactly is a website builder?
A website builder allows you to build your own website without needing to know CSS, HTML, and other coding language. The website builder will have pre-set functions and code.
Basically, it will allow you to quickly and inexpensively set up a website. Your site will not look terrible and depending on your eye for design can look quite nice.
What exactly is a website designer/developer?
A website designer/developer is either freelance or works in a design agency. At Pro Web Marketing we will listen to your needs and vision and turn it into reality. We talk to you to get an understanding of your business and customers and design your site to generate more sales or leads.
How does a free Website Builder compare to a Pro Web Marketing custom designed website?
Free website builders usually come with a limited choice of design templates meaning your website can look like thousands of other sites. Many of the templates are designed for a specific industry. Sounds perfect until you find that the business in the town next to you has a website that looks like yours.
Pro Web Marketing will custom design your website to set you apart from your competition and it will be unique to your business. You are in control of how your site will work. You won’t be limited in colors, fonts, and functionality.
It can be difficult to incorporate your branding into a free website builder site. Colors can usually be matched but it can be difficult to recreate the look and feel of your brand identity.
Pro Web Marketing we understand web marketing and will design a site based on your brand identity. This would not just be the colors, but other design elements used in advertising, business cards, etc. Consistent branding across all platforms is important to build brand awareness. Customers are significantly more likely to purchase from a brand they recognize for their consistent image.
Often a free website builder means having to work on a free sub-domain that belongs the platform’s provider. For example, your website’s address will look like www.mywebsite.freewebsitebuilder.com. Provider owned URLs do not look professional, are difficult to remember and limits the activities you can do and the features you can add to your website. In addition, should you decide to move your site to a different provider you will lose all SEO you built up with your website since you will not be able to recreate that URL or redirect a subdomain to your new domain.
If you do not already own your custom domain Pro Web Marketing can help you secure one and keep in safe in our care while you retain ownership. In addition to looking professional and easier to remember this also gives you control of your domain and any SEO legacy.
WEBSITE DESIGN OWNERSHIP
With a free website builder, you may not own the design or the content YOU put on the site. It is important to read the fine print and make sure you can take the site with you if you choose to change providers. Having to recreate a website later can be costly and time consuming.
With Pro Web Marketing you are paying us for the design and own all rights to the site should you decide to move it to another provider. We would hate to see you go, but we will provide support for the transition to the new provider.
Most free website builders have limited features available. Many offer features like a contact form, user profiles, or ecommerce as part of a premium monthly package.
Pro Web Marketing will take into consideration all the features you are requesting when we quote a price. You will know what your investment will be up front. We will also make these features customized to your specific needs, you will not get a generic form or store.
MONETIZE YOUR WEBSITE
Many free website builders will most likely display ads such as Google AdSense but you will not have control as to where those ads are placed within your site nor will you be making money from the website builder’s included advertisements on your free site. You cannot opt out of ads being placed on your site or control the content of those ads.
Pro Web Marketing can help you through the process of monetizing your website if you choose to do so. We can design your site to make the ads less intrusive and ideal placement if you choose to allow advertising on your site. Bonus is that you reap the rewards of any ads displayed on your site.
Some free website builders only offer mobile optimization with monthly premium plans. It is important to understand if this will be included in the free plan and if not, how much will it cost to incorporate. Mobile friendly sites are critical for SEO.
All Pro Web Marketing designs are responsive, meaning they will have all functionality across all screen sizes and will still maintain your brand identity.
Most free website builders have terrible Search Engine Optimization and may not allow Google Analytics to be installed. Many have their own analytic tools for analysis. This may limit what information about your website.
Every website designed by Pro Web Marketing is optimized for all search engines and comes with Google Analytics and a monthly report emailed to you.
SITEMAP SUBMITTED TO SEARCH ENGINES
Site maps give information to search engines about which pages are on your site and when they were last updated. This helps the search engines know about your site and what content you have to offer search queries. Search engines will eventually find and crawl your site, a site map speeds up the process.
Free website builders vary in submitting your sitemap to search engines. Some have tools that allow you to it yourself, others automatically do it at launch either for free or an additional fee. It is important to understand if and how this service is provided to give you a jump on the search engines discovering your site and changes.
Pro Web Marketing uses webmaster tools to submit your sitemap to all search engines and will resubmit anytime there is significant content changes.
TIME TO LAUNCH
Depending on how much time and effort you are willing to put into your website, you can have your site up and running in a relatively short time with a free website builder. Consider your time into learning the builder tool and designing your website when factoring in the true cost of your website.
Pro Web Marketing can have your professionally designed site online in 4-6 weeks with minimal time and effort required by you.
The back-end user interface of free website builders is meant to be user friendly, but often they are not. It can be frustrating to work within a rigid framework to create the vision you have for your site or when you are updating content.
Pro Web Marketing uses a custom WordPress template with a user friendly dashboard. After site launch we provide training on using the dashboard and making simple content changes.
STORAGE AND BANDWIDTH
Free website builders often do not come with much storage or bandwidth, which may be fine when you are first starting out. As your business and website grows you may require additional storage and/or bandwidth at additional cost.
Pro Web Marketing offers practically unlimited storage and bandwidth in all our hosting plans to accommodate your growing business. Our servers are managed to provide the necessary storage and bandwidth your site may need at any given time.
With most free website builder’s, you cannot create email accounts with your own domain name. You will most likely have to go through a 3rd like Google G-Suite at additional cost.
Pro Web Marketing provides branded emails using your domain name at no additional costs. Your emails look more professional coming from @yourdomain.com compared to @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, etc.
Most free website builders host your website on servers that are shared with thousands of other websites. This is not only a security concern but it can make your website load at slow speeds. Slow websites create bad user experience and are bad for SEO.
How often is your site backed up and how long are backups kept? Make sure to check that they are regularly backing up your website and are storing several days of backups. Should your website get hacked you can restore it without having to start all over.
Pro Web Marketing hosts all websites on load managed servers that are optimized for speed. We have numerous security measures in place making the likelihood of your website be hacked almost non-existent. All websites are backed up daily are kept for a minimum 5 days. We offer hosting plans to fit every budget/need starting at just $22 per month. Our plans includes website hosting, branded email hosting, maintenance, support and up to 1 hour of basic updates per month.
Support can be a challenge with free website builders. Some offer no help and leave you on your own to figure it out. Others offer support but only by email where you are then put into a que and may take days for you to receive a response. Most offer a premium support solution at an additional monthly cost to be automatically put to the top of the que.
Pro Web Marketing offers support by phone or email. The majority of requests are completed same day. If your support requires more time, we will give you an expected completion timeline.
We are available Monday – Friday, 9-5ET for support. Evenings and weekends we are monitoring our voicemails and emails for emergency situations and have 24/7 alerts to our phones for all our servers.
The purpose of your website is to make money, it is an investment and needs to generate a positive return. You will want it to accurately reflect your business and maintain brand identity plus provide the functionality you need.
Determine your needs, ability and time you can give to the project before deciding whether to use a free website builder or a web designer/developer. Understand what you are expecting your website to do for you and which will provide the best solution.
If your budget is severely limited, using a free website builders can be the short term solution. As your business and website needs grow you can transition to a custom built site. Research the platform and the features they offer, both free and premium before you start your project. Avoid using a subdomain and be sure to retain ownership of the site for future portability as your business outgrows your limited website.
WHY CHOOSE PRO WEB MARKETING?
Pro Web Marketing can design a custom website for as little as $750. If you are looking for a new website, it would be worth your time to include us in the conversation. We have developed thousands of websites with many happy customers. Read what our customers have to say about us at Google reviews and Facebook reviews.
We understand the importance of the content on your site and how it is presented. Many businesses assume all they need is name, address, contact information and what products/services they offer. This would be the base for your site, our experience has shown that potential clients use your website for much more. You want your website to answer common questions to your industry and instill confidence in your company as someone they want to do business with.
With Pro Web Marketing, your site will be professionally designed and supported. You will save yourself a lot of time that could be better spent growing your business. Give us a call at 877-577-6932 and talk with us about your business goals and needs and what Pro Web Marketing can do for you!