Do free websites really work?

Recently we’ve been looking at whether we really need content amid a culture of ephemeral, disposable communication? We now dig deeper and ask how we get all this new content out to the world. Having looked at whether we really still need websites, we concluded that they still form the bedrock of digital strategy.
We need websites, but we also need content: around 94% of all search traffic goes to organic results over paid ads and “a whopping 90% of consumers said that authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support.”
So content will increase your organic reach, but because is it also hard to do, companies really focus on making sure that content can be found.
When considering budgets, it is always tempting to make decisions based purely on cost. If a provider offers you access to their platform for free, then why not?
Issues to consider when choosing a web design and hosting service
First, we highlight some issues to look out for when considering website design and hosting.

  1. Domain names – do you want a unique name, or can you live with having Weebly or Wix in middle of your domain name? It’s like using a Hotmail address for your business, so it’s not for some.

 

  1. Adverts – will the platform insert adverts on your site in return for free hosting? Ads can take the form of either headers (visibly intrusive), scrolling (just irritating), or inserted randomly amid the content (incompatible with your content).

 

  1. Long/unreadable URLs – some providers will not allow free reign when choosing URLs. Some will include unwanted words/terms (some will inert the word ‘free’).

 

  1. Bandwidth limits – some providers restrict the bandwidth permitted (as do some broadband providers). If you get any amount of traffic you will need an unlimited agreement.

 

  1. Fixed templates – look out for fixed templates that don’t allow you to move buttons/search bars, or size up one section compared to another.

 
Having considered some of the issues to be aware of, we now move on to suggest the key services that you should look for when choosing a design and hosting provider. If the provider cannot offer these services then you shouldn’t be surprised if your site doesn’t produce the expected results.
 
3 key services that will deliver results for your website
 

  1. Design – Design is the bedrock of your web-platform. It is not just about stylish or pretty pictures. Yes, it should attract attention, but should also include some key processes and some key terms:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Service level Agreement (SLA)An SLA ensures that essential elements are in place that will keep your site working for you (remember Seen-it-all-Si?). It will detail what services you can expect from your web designer and ensure that any issues are dealt with in a timely manner. It should cover at a minimum:

 

 

 

 

  1. Search Engine Marketing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Do free websites really work?
As we have seen, a good website reflects the combination of great design, technical knowledge and advanced understanding and application of SEO. We have also highlighted some of the key issues to consider when choosing your web design and hosting provider. If you think you can get all this for free, then great!
Ultimately, however, anything good takes a bit of time – and time is money. Hopefully, you can also see now that it also takes some knowledge and skill. So, to achieve your own website that allows your great content to be found, then treat ‘free’ with the suspicion it deserves and speak to someone who can speak your language.
If this blog has got you thinking about your own website and how it is working for you – but are not sure where to begin, WebAdept have been producing digital marketing solutions and strategies for 20 yrs. Get in touch with us, we would love to hear from you!

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