Have you ever heard the saying, “you get what you pay for”? Or how about, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is”? Do you believe in either of those aphorisms? Have you experienced the truth in them over and over again?
In my experience, both are true about 99.9% of the time. This is especially true with “Free” websites for small businesses. I’ve been telling small business owners for years, of the horrors of using free and nearly-free websites like Wix, Weebly and even the free blogging platforms like Blogger.
Why are free websites, like Wix so bad for business? Oh, let me count the ways:
Free Websites Can Be Full of Bad Code and Outdated Software
Flash is the most commonly used and the absolute worst for small business websites. Wix is especially horrible about this. In case you aren’t familiar with Flash, it’s a dated multimedia software platform that allows websites to have animations, rich internet applications, graphic illustrations and more. The problem with Flash is that it’s painfully slow. So slow in fact that many devices (cell phones and tablets) and browsers won’t even bother to load it – or it will take too long to load and people will simply click away out of frustration (how many times have you done that?). What does this mean to you and your small business website? It means potential clients who land on your website may never even get a chance to see it.
Google Practically Ignores Free Websites Like Wix
Yes, really. We all know that Google has a complex mysterious algorithm for ranking websites. What isn’t so mysterious is that Google hates Flash (because it takes too long to load). So if you use a free website like Wix that uses Flash you are immediately handicapped. More importantly, one of the main benefits of a real website like WordPress is that you can verify your site with Google, thereby increasing your legitimacy and increasing your Google ranking. Free websites don’t let you verify that you are the owner of the site, which in Google’s eyes is a HUGE red flag. It also opens your site up to hacking.
The SEO Functionality is Minimal
Almost any free website will let you create page titles, tags, and pepper your content with keywords. But SEO is not a onetime activity, it’s an ongoing process and real websites like WordPress or Joomla allow you to add plugins like Yoast All in One SEO pack that work in the background of your content to boost your website performance beyond title tags and on-page keywords. SEO plugins like Yoast allow you to enter meta tags, meta descriptions and keywords and phrases that Google crawlers look for when rating content.
Free Websites Have Limited Design Options
Free websites, like Wix are perfect if you want a cookie-cutter website that looks just like every other second-rate website on the web. Wix may be easy and you can probably build a site in an hour or two, but will it look professional? Will you be proud to send potential clients there? Will it represent your brand well? The design options are limited and if you don’t know what you’re doing, it will look exactly like the free website that it is.
Nothing in this World is Free
Wix claims their websites are free, but we know they can’t offer a service and not make money. So if you want anything but their minimal site plastered with ads, and “Built by Wix” banners you will pay. Also you have to pay for their hosting service which starts at about $4/month and goes up to $25. And for that you get very limited – or no – control over your website.
Your website is the single most important tool for marketing your business, looking second-rate, cheap or just like a million other businesses is a sure-fire way to limit your business success. I can’t tell business owners enough how much it pays to hire a professional to build their website. A professional web designer will have the experience and know-how to help you design something that positively reflects your brand identity, is easy to read and navigate, has all the plugins and functionality you need to achieve your marketing goals, and help you get found by Google. Trust me, it is well worth the investment!
If you need a website or a website overhaul, contact us. We work with only the best web developers to create beautiful and functional websites for small business owners. Give us a call at 925-953-2240 or email us for your free consultation.