A free website offer can be very tempting. You hear things like, “it’s easy to set up, no domain hassle, build at no costs.” However, there’s more to it, and there are huge trade-offs to free websites. You may not get to understand the downsides of using a free site in the early days, but you definitely will experience them over time.
If you wish to understand the real cost of the free website offers you get, keep on reading, and your future self will thank you for it.
There are a couple of things that are wrong with free websites. However, the first is this: You may not have the freedom to put up whatever information you desire, as the contents of the site need to meet up with the terms and conditions of the company offering you the website. Anything that breaks the rule might cost you your website, regardless of the amount of work you’ve put into it.
It may be shocking to realize that the hours of work you’ve put into setting up the “easy to set up” site is gone one day, maybe even hard to accept. But it happens, and the chances are high.
Since someone else sets the rules, oversees the activities, and ultimately decides what you can and can’t put on there, you’ll need to be very careful with your actions. You may not feel affected so much if you’re creating the site for leisure purposes. However, the effects will be catastrophic if the site is set up for business purposes.
Are those scare tactics? Not at all. There are lots of forums on the internet dedicated to helping people solve issues with their free websites, a large number of those issues are related to the site being banned or blocked.
You’ll find many cases where people have spent weeks building something then tried to log into their free website or free blog one day only to face the harsh reality that it has been taken down—sadly, they have no right of appeal!
It is terrible to be in the shoes of those affected, but at the same time, it’s easy to avoid. Today, the investment required for web hosting is minimal and is often called “pizza money”: you can get your monthly hosting for less than you’d pay for a family pizza.
To be fair to free websites, they come with certain advantages, but when compared to the cons, you’ll figure out how much of a bad deal it is.
All this while, you’ve learned the importance of being careful with your activities when using a free website. However, you may still run into issues even when complying with all the rules.
Free websites are notorious for the lack of space and lack of professional services they provide. An average free site looks boring, with nothing extra, looking like the same set of web designers designed them all. Often you can’t add features to keep your visitors engaged such as chat rooms, forums, or any form of interaction between visitors.
It gets worse. You don’t get a recognizable domain name. Instead of your “http://www.yoursite.com,” you get “http://yoursite.thefreewebsitecompany.com” or something like that. The domain names are usually long, unattractive and unprofessional especially for sites created with business in mind.
Adding salt to injury, free website providers may end up spamming your web pages with pop-up adverts without your permission, and this is bad for professionalism.
It may be manageable if the ads relate with the contents of your webpage, sadly, that’s often not the case. You may sometimes get ads with adult content in them, which is entirely inappropriate for your audience.
Talking about your chances of getting ranked well in the search engines: low at best. Rightly or wrongly you get labeled with all the hundreds of scam sites out there. Popular search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. might eventually list you in their indexes, but it doesn’t matter how much work you put in, you won’t rank highly on search engines.
Any web expert will tell you that purchasing your domain name and web hosting service is the best option if you’re serious about your website. While your domain name will cost you a little over ten bucks a year at most, it provides a lot of freedom and is much more professional.
For that you don’t just get somewhere to put your website that’s reliable and secure, you also get knowledgeable support, so it stays that way. You have someone to call on if you have any difficulties and even quite experienced webmasters run into things they don’t understand from time to time. You get lots of space to grow, and if you exceed that you get an easy upgrade path.
You can also decide to advertise on your site. The choice of ads and the charges for them lay in your hands. So, you don’t have someone telling you that you can’t incorporate affiliate programs or other potential revenue sources.
A “paid” site can be customized to your taste, looking exactly how you want it to. Your visitors can get the slick, professional website with a fantastic interface that you’ve always dreamed of.
Yes, you pay for having complete control, but from a business perspective, that outlay is almost negligible. It’s even tax deductible.
The alternative to doing this is a free website, and you should be ready to handle all of the trouble that comes with it; in this case you should at least consider backing up your vital data as frequently as needed.