Why you should avoid free website builders

Why you should avoid free website builders

As a business owner, it might be tempting to go onto a free website builder. You see the commercials and think, it must really be that easy to build your own website. Companies like GoDaddy, Squarespace, Weebly, or Wix want you on their platform while withholding critical details about the effectiveness of your website.

We have worked with countless clients who have made the transition from those platforms to their own independent website. Over the years we have been taking note of the poor practices by these free website builders and want to highlight why you should avoid these platforms if possible.

You don’t really own your website

Everything involving the website files and code belongs solely to the platform. If you want to migrate your website to a new hosting platform, you’ll run into the problem of not having access to the files. All that work you put into making the site on your own will have to be redone on the next hosting.

If you work with an agency that will host your website, you’ll have an easier time with anything involving your website’s files.

A lack of flexibility

You’ll be working with templates that many consider a time saver. However, most people are able to detect a website that is following a template, especially if it’s from one of the popular free website builders. You can organize however you please, but everything from fonts, buttons, colors, and lack of tools leave a “cookie-cutter” impression on your site.

Having a website with custom code allows you to elevate your business to its goals. Custom code gives your site the “wow” factor in terms of appearance and functionality.

Limited functionality

The tools developed for these free website builders are often limited to just them. This also means there is not a huge appetite among the community to develop more tools for these platforms. If your website was instead on WordPress, which is open source, there would be plugins galore.

There are more options when you’re website is on an open-source CMS (content management system) like WordPress.

Poor SEO performance and insights

These platforms offer “SEO tools” which implies more features than actually available. In order to perform true SEO on your site, you need to make modifications to files on your server. The problem is this website is not technically yours and therefore you don’t have access to these files.

Some builders will give you access to fix the basics like meta descriptions or alt tags, but leave out access to specific pages like shop, product, or blog pages. If you want great SEO, you cannot compromise on your access to your site’s files.

Without full access to your files, you can’t compete on SEO with other companies. As much as you try to implement the best practices you learned on your own, not being able to make modifications or optimizations will lead to your SEO strategy plateauing at a certain point.

SEO is also constantly evolving with changes to search engine algorithms coming on a regular basis. If you’re a business owner that’s designing a website, marketing your business, and doing SEO then there’s no way to stay on top of the changes. Having a dedicated agency is a great way to alleviate the pressure to stay up to date.

Low-quality customer support

Sometimes you need to reach a person to help you out with your website or your emails. Unfortunately the only mode of communication offered by a lot of these companies, if at all, is through email. That is not the best way to provide support since there is a delay and the agents might not be responsive to your needs.

If you need immediate support then that is a whole separate problem. You will be considered lucky to get someone on the phone, but they likely will not be able to provide assistance. At that point, you’re wondering if it’s just you or if everyone else gets treated that way.

You can find lots of reviews online detailing the shortcomings of the customer support systems on each of these platforms.

Why Runningfish?

Free website builders only go so far to provide adequate service to business owners. You should work with an agency that provides flexibility, expertise, insights, and reliable customer support. When you call us, we pick up because we want to help your business succeed.

Get in touch with us about your project.

Common questions

What are the specific advantages of using an independent website over a free website builder?

Using an independent website offers numerous advantages over free website builders. One of the most significant benefits is ownership. When you create an independent website, you own all the files and code, giving you complete control and flexibility. This means you can easily migrate your website to a new hosting platform without losing any of your work, unlike with free website builders where all your files and code are tied to the platform. Additionally, independent websites allow for custom coding, which can significantly enhance the functionality and appearance of your site.

Custom code enables you to create a unique and tailored user experience, adding a “wow” factor that template-based websites often lack. This flexibility extends to SEO capabilities as well. With full access to your website’s files, you can implement advanced SEO strategies and optimizations, ensuring your site can compete effectively in search engine rankings. Moreover, independent websites can integrate a wide range of plugins and tools, particularly with open-source CMS platforms like WordPress, offering greater functionality and customization options. Overall, an independent website provides the control, flexibility, and scalability needed to support and grow your business effectively.

How can custom coding enhance the functionality and appearance of my website?

Custom coding significantly enhances the functionality and appearance of your website in several ways. Unlike template-based websites, which often look generic and similar to countless others, custom-coded websites offer a unique and personalized design that aligns perfectly with your brand identity. This uniqueness can create a strong first impression and differentiate your business from competitors. Functionally, custom coding allows for the development of specific features and interactive elements tailored to your business needs, providing a superior user experience.

Whether it’s integrating complex e-commerce solutions, advanced search capabilities, or unique interactive features, custom code can make your website more dynamic and engaging. Additionally, custom coding enables better optimization for performance, ensuring your website loads quickly and runs smoothly, which is crucial for retaining visitors and improving search engine rankings. Overall, custom coding provides the flexibility to innovate and implement any feature you envision, giving your website a professional edge and making it a powerful tool for achieving your business goals.

What kind of support and services does Runningfish provide compared to these free website builders?

Runningfish provides a comprehensive range of support and services that significantly surpass those offered by free website builders. Unlike these builders, which often limit customer support to impersonal and delayed email responses, Runningfish offers direct and reliable customer service. When you need assistance, you can count on speaking to a knowledgeable professional who is dedicated to resolving your issues promptly. This level of support ensures that your website remains functional and effective without the frustration of long wait times or unhelpful responses.

Additionally, Runningfish brings a wealth of expertise and insights to the table, helping you navigate the complexities of web development, SEO, and digital marketing. Our team is equipped to handle everything from custom coding and design to advanced SEO strategies and performance optimizations, ensuring your website not only looks great but also performs exceptionally well. With Runningfish, you gain a partner committed to your success, providing the flexibility, expertise, and support needed to elevate your online presence and drive your business forward.