What is the difference from building a free (or cheap) website and hiring a professional designer to build a website?
You never own your website. Most free and cheap website builders are custom programs that allow you to create a "home-made" website on the fly. They are an attractive option to businesses on a budget and to those who don't understand what a website can achieve but they have many drawbacks and won't work for your business in the way that you envisage. You are severely limited to what the 'magnolia' software on the free sites can do and it's not easily customisable if at all, even if you hire a professional designer to customize it for you. If you need it to be interactive and work for you, there are a few “upgrades” which you can pay for at a monthly fee but these soon add up and you find your investment does not produce the results you expect. In reality, if you are paying anything, you are just “renting” your site and we all know how limiting renting can be.
The company makes their software available only to their customers and when it comes time to move your site from the site builder, you can’t. You can only hire a professional to copy and paste the contents into a new platform that you can actually control. If you can’t afford the monthly due’s anymore or your needs change, your site is stripped from the internet and can no longer be accessed. You can’t download it and save it for a later time because it was never really yours.
Generic sites treat you generically, there is no personal service, no one to bounce ideas off or talk through problems with. With a free site you get an agent and the agent you contact knows nothing about websites or the SEO that is so vital to them. They don’t know HTML, they don’t know CSS or PHP, and most importantly, they don't know SEO! They can tell you what SEO is and blind you with science with what they are saying with big words and smooth talk, but get into anything technical and they know very little; if anything at all and as with all impersonal service, the next time you call, you won’t get the same person. Is that who you really want building your online presence?
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is the name given to activity that attempts to improve search engine rankings and is crucial to building your business through online presence. Your aim is to be on the first or second page of Google, not assigned to the oblivion of page 10; everyone gets bored after the first few pages and has already found a product or service that they can use way before they reach you so having someone who cares about you and your results and knows SEO is imperative. Some free sites do offer SEO services but they offer a computer generated SEO service at a monthly fee and that computer is normally using very old practices. The most effective SEO parts can only be done by a human and as SEO is all about content and how we say things and structure our website it needs to be done by someone who understands you and your business, who understands what you need and where you need to be.
Cookie cutter site builders are “one size fits all” but Crede Signo understand that one size does NOT fit all.
Every business is different. Even if you have a restaurant like all the other restaurants; you do things differently. Your atmosphere is different and your food tastes different. You don’t want to appear like everyone else because you are not everyone else. Your cookie cutter site builders are “one size fits all”. But every business is different and we understand that. We understand that even if you have a restaurant like all the other restaurants; you do things differently.
You want your website to reflect the personality and atmosphere of your restaurant. You don’t want to appear like everyone else because you are not everyone else. Your business is run by you and unique to you.
You should have a website that reflects you. Your website is your online shop front, the showcase for your business; your window to the world. You would not want your shop window to look like all the other shop windows in your street and would never intentionally want to blend in; you need to stand out to attract custom and show people who you are and what you do. Lets face it, free sites are GENERIC and bland. They are made in a way that will work for a restaurant or a lawyer but they don't reflect your personality or make you stand out.
They look generic, they feel generic and they lack that personality and individuality, both of which are vital in gaining that lucrative online catch. Professionalism in your field should be conveyed through your website in your way. Highlight what YOU want to say and who YOU are on your site, not what a limited, generic template “has available”.
You Are the Product
If you think you are getting a great deal because it’s “free”, Think again. Why would they offer this for free? Out of the kindness of their hearts? It costs a lot of money to build these sites and site builders. There is always an angle. They are making money on it in so many ways. For example: through selling adverts on your site, using your information to sell to other people for advertising purposes and more. You are never number one, you are a commodity rather than a priority and that will show through in your limited results. When you opt for a free site you are opting into being an advert for THEIR business not yours.
Consequences of a Cheap or free website
Too many times, new start-ups will invest their money in all kinds of things they need and for some odd reason, save money on the website and advertising. Unless you have been living under a rock, it should be obvious, not only to you but everyone who uses the internet that people use search engines like Google and Bing to find a local business. If you are not getting found in search engines like Google and Bing, you are going to have a very hard time getting new clients to find you.
If you are going to start a business and you want it to be successful it is imperative that you have funds to pay for a professional website and some advertising. Advertising companies spend billions on graphic design and marketing. Why? Because how a product (or website in this case) looks, has a dramatic impact on whether that person will pick it up and buy it.
Something as simple as your logo, the font, the location of text, or the colour can make a huge difference. We know the thought of having to spend thousands is not something most people can even contemplate and is why they opt for free site builders. But with us, gaining an online presence and consequently building your business does not have to break the bank. We have a range of options and will work with you to find not only the look, feel and functionality that you want but we will do it at a price that will work for you too. Treat your online business just as you would your brick & mortar business. It is the first impression, the front desk. Give us a call today; you might just be surprised.