If you have done any googling on website building you have probably found a number of companies offering FREE WEBSITE BUILDERS! This can sound like a great idea, you get to build a website yourself, and free (or low cost) but there are plenty of good reasons why you should stay far far away from these companies.
1- THEY own your website! You many own the domain, but that is just a URL, all the code that runs your website belongs to someone else. That is like owning a car, but someone else owns all the parts that make it run…. Not sure I would want someone stealing my engine in the middle of the night, or adding a giant advertisement on the side without my permission.
2- Since they own the site they make the rules. They can decide what you can and can not do with the site. I have seen website builders that boast free shopping carts, then they limit e-commerce shops to a whopping 2-3 products, with a hefty monthly fee when you need more than that. They will tell you what payment processors you can use, and they may event demand a cut of your sales!! Want to start a newsletter signup? You will probably have to pay them extra for that, how about a contact form? They might offer something basic but customizing it is surely out of the question. Website builders are a lot like landlords for home rentals, they can, and will restrict, what you can do with your website. Expect lots of red tape….
3- The design options are extremely limited, and customizing or modifying a design is out of the question. I understand most people do not have the resources to hire a designer and a developer, many of my clients come to me needing both the design and development, and we often start with some sort of template for the design, but we can customize any design to your specifications, or we can start from scratch if you like. Web site builders will give you a few sub-par templates, and customizing them is simply out of the question. Most of the designs are not well built, so seo will suffer, and many are built using flash, which means there is a huge chunk of devices that will not be compatible with your site. Not to mention your site will look exactly like someone elses… if the company has 20 templates and 20,000 customers…. you do the math….. you are not going to stand out from the crowd, or brand your site with a cookie cutter website that looks like everyone elses….
4- They are in it to make money off of you, even if it does not seem like it at first. Usually the free website builders will plaster ads all over your site, to generate revenue off you. Some will allow you to pay them (monthly) to remove the ads, then they will up sell you on every little thing… want a different header style? expect to pay… want a different font… expect to pay… Want to remove their logo on your website? Expect to pay…
5- If you ever decide to leave the company you will not be able to take your website with you. They own the code and there are no exceptions. You will have to start from scratch, if you have any seo going for you, this will be painful.
I highly advise you stay away from Website Builder companies, that includes Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace, among others.
When you hire a developer to make your website, you will pay for the domain, host and the developers time. You can ask the developer to create whatever you want, there are no limitations to what you can do with your website!! When it is done, the developer should be handing you a copy of everything, it is YOUR site, YOU own it and you can do whatever you want with it. Most developers will have some sort of disclaimer that any custom coding was created for you and so it can not be sold to someone else or used for another site, aside from that, it is yours, all yours. No landlords to answer to, no limitations, no ongoing fees. There are plenty of affordable options out there for people on a budget, our $299 special is a good place to start. Or feel free to contact us to discuss your project, we have plenty of options to fit every budget.