The word “free” is a powerful word. It’s also one of the most beguiling words. That’s understandable, considering money doesn’t fall from trees. So what about free websites? You can have a website up and running without paying a cent. But before succumbing to the seduction of the $0 price tag, be aware that free can also mean “free of quality.” So before you make a choice, take a look at the good and the bad that free websites offer.
1. Lack of Professionalism
To influence visitors, you must gain their trust. And people will trust you if you look professional. But a free website won’t help you with this. For one thing, your site will likely be littered with ads, which free web hosts use to earn money. Ads range in size and appearance, but they have two things in common: they annoy visitors and make your website look unprofessional.
Then there’s the domain name. With a free website, you won’t get one. Your website’s address will be combined with the host’s address. So instead of something like, “best-antique-gold.com,” you’ll get “web-host-provider.com/best-antique-gold.” Which looks more professional?
2. Substandard Web Design
Ads will clash with the rest of your website. You can pretty things up with vivid images and colours, but the ads will still be there, mocking you. And as for your site’s layout, your options are limited. There aren’t many templates available for free websites.
3. Same Old, Same Old
All free websites look the same. This isn’t 100% true, but to your visitors, it might not matter. Many people share a host and there’s only so much you can do to make your site distinguishing. A free website probably won’t offer things like shopping carts and email boxes. And there won’t be many template options.
4. Insufficient Web Space
Webspace costs money, so don’t expect much space. This means your website won’t have much room to grow. This might be fine when you’re first getting everything running, but soon you may find yourself with a big list of website goals and not enough web space to achieve them.
5. Limited Bandwidth
Bandwidth, like webspace, isn’t free. And since your site won’t be the only free website sharing a host, bandwidth will be distributed to many. Naturally, your bandwidth will be limited. What this means for your website is slow loading times. And in this age of fast Internet speeds, a visitor may not have the patience to wait for your site to slowly load. He’ll likely press the back button.
6. Bad SEO
Websites depend on search engine rankings to reel in visitors, but a free website has little chance of ranking high. For one thing, search engines punish sites for slow speeds. Also, a website’s domain name is vastly important to the search engines, and if your website doesn’t have one of its own, your site will suffer.
7. Deletion by Web Host
A web host could drop your free website at any time. Maybe because of spam. Or RAM overuse. And many people who’ve lost their free websites claim the accusations against them simply weren’t true. Some people may never find out why their site was purged.
8. Web Host is Shut Down
Free website hosting isn’t a lucrative occupation and sometimes the money gained from ads is just not enough. A host might be forced to shut the doors. And just like that, the website you’ve poured your heart and soul into goes kaput.
1. It’s Free
If you’re new to web design, a free website might be right for you. You’ll have an easy way to practice web design skills and it won’t cost you a cent. Free websites are also great for personal use. Maybe a fan page for your favourite band, or a place to host some stories you’ve written.
Free websites are certainly enticing, but before you get one, ask yourself, “How important is this website to me?” Because though a free website gives you a nice money-saving advantage, it also gives you far more disadvantages. So if you’re serious about your website and you value high quality, resist the temptation of free websites and spend some money on something far better.