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The true cost of a free website

It seems that every day, there is another 'free' website service popping up. Their offers sound great, "Three clicks and done", "Create a stunning and compelling website in minutes", "No cost, no maintenance"...etc. But you have to ask, is anything truly free? There has to be a hidden cost or impact from a free website.

Brand Awareness and Brand Equity

Free website builders offer a library of various themes that you can quickly apply to your website. Some actually look pretty good and are programmed fairly well. However, using one of these themes makes you the same as the other guy. You didn't' open your small business or start your non-profit to look like the competition. Your brand and your message are unique. Why would you 'bland-down' your website by looking like the rest of the web? In order to stand out, your website needs to be unique, memorable, custom-designed and coded well.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

One of the biggest factors we've seen is poor search engine performance. Your website, above all, needs to be findable on the web. When people type in your business name or services you need to be on that first page of search results. We've seen that these free website builders perform the worst in terms of SEO. A majority of this fault lies on the web builder system itself. Their system either doesn't craft code in an SEO-friendly way or it fails to include key SEO ingredients required for your website to perform at its best. That said, not all of the fault lies in the system. Often times the users creating their websites in these free systems know nothing of SEO and do not apply good pratices, content, and keywords as they create their websites. While it may not cost you a dime to spin up a website on a free web builder (other than your time), the cost of no one finding your website is huge.  

Website ownership

Finally, why rent when you can own? Using a free website builder is much like renting a place. You only have so much control, access or capabilities. We've heard horror stories of companies who transition away from their free web builder tools and experience painful domain transfers, content issues or worse - hidden fees. It might make sense for a time being but in the long term, building your website on a free website builder is a poor strategy.

The case for custom website design

We custom design and build every website for our clients because we feel this is right. We're not going to offer our clients a template website that looks the same as 1000's of other websites. We're going to design each pixel and craft the code so that it's perfectly responsive and functions beautifully. On top of this, our approach allows us to craft our design and development around your goals and strategies so that we can reach your SEO and lead generation goals. Custom doesn't have to mean costly. We work with clients of all budget ranges to build something unique within their means. We believe craftsmanship matters because your brand, business or organization matters.

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WDD Web Design