Are free websites really free?

As a small business owner in Australia, you know the importance of having a website to represent your brand online. However, building a website from scratch can be a real challenge. This is where free website builders come in. They seem like the perfect solution, but are they really free? Are they worth the investment? We'll debunk the myth about free websites and bring you the truth about what they really cost, both financially and in terms of your brand's image.

But before we bash all the free web builders let us stress, if you are a:

Then free web builders are fine! This is more for the established Aussie business.

But is anything really free?

Depends on what you consider free...If you mean will it cost you money? Then yes you can build a site for free. What it will cost you is time, so much time and possibly your mental health. Also data, your personal data. Yep in the digital world if something is 'free', then you are the product. Sounds weird but let me break it down for you. If you sign up to a 'free' anything, then chances are all you had to give them was your email or phone or something. That means they will gather your data. Mainly for marketing but there are some dodgy mofos out there too.

Free website costs

Yes, free website builders may be "free" in the sense that you don't have to pay any money upfront, but that doesn't mean they come without hidden costs. Do you want a custom domain name, more storage space, or a professional email address? Prepare to pay a premium fee. Need to add more pages or expand your website's capabilities? Expect to pay up for every additional feature. And by the time you're done paying for everything, you might as well have hired a professional web developer to build your website from scratch.

Boring AF websites

Speaking of professional web developers, they create unique, custom designs for their clients. When you use a free website builder, you're limited to the templates they provide. While they may look sleek and modern on their homepage, these templates are often overused or unprofessional. The result might be a website that looks like a dozen other sites out there. Your website is an extension of your brand, and you want it to stand out for the right reasons.

Limited Functionality

Free website builders can only take you so far. You won't have access to fully customised features or third-party integrations like you would with a professionally developed website. This could be a problem if you need to use your website as a tool for generating leads, storing customer data, or managing e-commerce transactions. There's only so much you can do with a free website builder, and the last thing you want is to outgrow its capabilities within a few months of launching.

Search Engine Optimisation Impacts

Finally, free website builders often have severe limitations when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). How do they make money if they don't charge you anything upfront? By serving up intrusive ads on your website, of course. These ads can negatively impact your website's load time and search engine rankings. And even if you manage to get some traffic to your site, you may not be able to track and measure it as effectively as you would with a professionally developed website.

Free website builders may seem like a cost-effective solution to building your online presence, but they're riddled with hidden costs, limitations, and sub-par features. They might be okay for personal blogs or non-profit organisations, but for Australian small businesses that want to stand out and achieve their goals on the web, they're not the way to go. Don't be fooled by the promise of something for free. Your website is too important to take chances with. Instead, invest in professional web development, and watch your brand soar online. Get in touch if you want to know how we can get you sorted.