from our blog
Free Website... Good Idea?
If you want a free website, there’s a fair few options available to you. In fact, Westpac bank has even recently started offering free websites to small NZ businesses! With so many options now on the table, we thought it was time we weighed in on the subject...
Should you get a free website?
Yes, you should. Bet you didn’t think you’d hear us say that, did you?
People use the Internet the way they used to use the Phone book. They’re actively searching for the products or services you offer – so be there, or beware. If you’re not online, you’re practically gifting customers to your competitors. And even if they’ve come about your business through word of mouth or a printed brochure, many will 'check you out online' before deciding to contact you.
Not having a website can make you look outdated and unprofessional. For these reasons (and many others), it’s a fact that every business now needs a website of some kind.
So. . . if you have absolutely no budget to have a professional website builder create one for you, then yes – it could be worth taking advantage of one of the free website tools out there.
But keep reading. . .
Got plenty of free time?
Free websites will cost you – in hours. Because you’re ‘building it yourself’, you’ll need to pull together all the content, do your own persuasive, succinct copywriting, style and format all the pages, re-size and load in images, fiddle with the design to get it looking right, manage your website address and hosting…and more.
All told, we’d estimate you’d need at least 20 hours. Do you have this spare time to devote? And are you going to be able to make a professional-looking job of it? Or would you be better off focusing on yourcore business and having an expert get it done?
Support when you need it?
When considering a free website, make sure to ask yourself: “Who’ll be at the other end of the phone if I have questions? Or worse, if my site goes down or something else goes wrong?” At some point during your website’s life (or even while you’re trying to build it yourself), you are going to need help with it. Does the same organisation offering you a free website also have accessible and reasonably priced (or free!) support?
Free isn’t always free
Even ‘free’ websites generally will have unavoidable costs. One cost could be the hosting of your site, generally a monthly fee. Another is having your own domain name (which you absolutely, unless you don’t care about being taken seriously).
Simple isn’t always sophisticated
Free websites generally have a suite of standard templates to choose from. Bung in your logo, and you’re done! Sounds seductively simple, and it may well be. But this obviously templated look can turn off the more web-savvy customer, as well as putting you in danger of having a website that looks virtually the same as one hundred other businesses! The Internet is today’s busiest, largest marketplace – doesn’t your business need something better than a basic 'online brochure'. Think of some words that describe how you want your products or services to be perceived… Now, will a template-based free website deliver those kind of adjectives? Hmm. . .
You can build it, but will they come?
You can have a birthday party, but if you don’t make and send invites, there’s not going to be anyone at it! Images and text on a website are only one part of the puzzle. To actually attract qualified prospects to your website, you need a strategic marketing plan.
Any good website company will offer much more than just that, they’ll also be able to help you with tactics to get visitors through your online doors. Tactics including Search Engine Optimisation to be found (and ranked more highly than competitors) on Google, email marketing, Google AdWords, social media marketing and offline websitemarketing efforts, of course.
If you’re serious about harnessing the massive power of the Internet and realising a new era in your business, the Totali team can help.
Yes, we build websites, but we do much more besides. With your unique business challenges and opportunities firmly in our sights, we design end-to-end internet marketing solutions, and online tools, that will help you work smarter, sell more and save time. To chat about the options and the possibilities, contact us today.
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