What Freedoms do you give up with FREE Website Platforms?
10 Reasons Free Websites Might be Bad
Free websites are not BAD for everyone. The choice of ‘renting’ Free space and losing control can be beneficial for those just looking to have modest presences and share a few pieces of information If you feel that none of the points below are a major concern for you, you may be able to make good use of these budget-friendly services.
However, it’s best to know what you’re getting yourself into before you do so. Here are some of the top reasons why free platforms tend to make bad websites.
Years ago I utilized the FREE services offered by Google’s Blogger platform and had several sites that performed well in generating an internet presence.
Here’s one…Nothing recent, but it was ‘hot’ for a while. Many of the links are surely not functioning.
I quit using Blogger because many features needed were not available and they have the ‘Right’ to remove any Blog they deem not appropriate
Here are some thoughts to consider:
1. It Might Not Really Be Free
For starters, you may be signing up for a subpar service that isn’t even actually free. For example, some platforms promote their trial periods in ways that make it sound like you’ll be getting a site for free.
In reality, you may have to hand over your credit card details or lose access after the trial is over. Worse, if you provided your payment information during the signup process, the provider might charge you without notice.
Another potential issue is hidden costs. For example, you may have to pay higher than normal fees for services such as website transfers, image hosting, professional email addresses, and other advanced features. In summary, make sure to read the fine print before you go all-in with a tasty offer.
2. Free Websites Typically Have Poor Performance and Scalability
The most glaring issue that typically comes up with free websites is poor performance. Pages tend to be slow to load, which hurts your User Experience (UX) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
This is due in part to restricted hosting resources. In addition to preventing your site from loading in a timely manner, this can also make it hard to scale your site. Limited bandwidth and storage will put a cap on how much content you can reasonably publish.
3. You Won’t Be Able to Use a Custom Domain
Another big drawback to free websites is that your site will have a branded domain, such as yoursite.wordpress.com. This looks unprofessional, can be confusing to some visitors, and is not beneficial to your own brand.
Most platforms offer custom domains as a paid add-on. However, you can usually acquire one at a similar or lower price from a domain registrar and pair it with low-cost hosting for a much better effect.
4. Your Provider May Place Ads On Your Site and Limit Monetization Opportunities
It’s common for free website providers to put ads for their own services on users’ websites. This is unfortunate for you because ads can be off-putting to some visitors. Users may also become distracted by them and navigate away from your site.
You might be willing to put up with this if you got a cut of the revenue these ads generate – but you don’t. In fact, most providers prevent you from running your own ads and may even have restrictions regarding your ability to monetize your site at all.
If your primary goal in starting a website is to make money, you’re definitely better off paying to launch it. This will give you complete (or at least more) control over your content and the ability to scale your site over time.
5. Limited Access to Your Site Data Could Cause Problems
Free websites usually don’t provide the same level of access to data that paid ones do, especially when compared with open-source solutions such as WordPress. This can lead to a variety of problems, including:
- Lack of access to analytics, which can inhibit your optimization and marketing efforts
- Difficulty moving your site to another provider if you want to switch to a paid platform
- Limited ability to take your site down if you no longer want it to be visible to the public
When you invest the time and effort required to build a website, you want the end product to be yours. Limited control over your own content and data can be frustrating to say the least, s0 factor this into the cost of paying for hosting.
6. Providers Can Shut Down Your Free Website
Free website services often include clauses in their Terms and Conditions that enable them to cancel your account for any reason and remove your website from the internet in the process. Usually, this happens due to a violation of terms.
In this event, you could lose years of work invested in your site. It’s also possible that your provider goes out of business or otherwise closes its doors. This might also result in your website being permanently deleted.
7. Your Information May Be Sold
When it comes to free services on the web in general, it’s pretty safe to assume that the provider is selling your information to other companies. After all, they’re not making any money from you otherwise.
In this day and age, online privacy is more valuable than ever. As such, make sure you know what you’re giving up in exchange for your ‘free’ website.
8. Free Website Builders Provide Limited Customization Options and Functionality
Another huge setback that comes with free websites is the lack of customization options and other functionality they provide. Some of these may include:
- Restrictions on which themes and plugins you can use
- Limited e-commerce functionality (or none at all)
- Fewer site-building tools, such as pre-built elements or templates
- A cap on the number of pages you can add
- Minimal or no SEO tools
The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ definitely applies here. If you’re getting a service that other people pay for at no cost, you’re probably not really getting the same service.
9. Minimal Customer Support
Speaking of which, platforms that offer free websites don’t usually provide much – if any – support for non-paying users. At best, you can expect a self-serve knowledge base and maybe a community forum where you can ask other users for help.
This may be fine for small roadblocks, but if you’re facing down a big-time error, you don’t want to be without guidance. Especially if you’re not particularly tech-savvy, paying to have someone in your corner could save you a lot of trouble down the line.
10. You May Encounter More Security Issues
Last but definitely not least, your free website may be less secure than similar sites hosted on paid plans. Companies simply aren’t going to invest as much in servers that aren’t supported by paying customers.
On top of that, free websites have a reputation for distributing malware. Not only is this horrible for your users, but it could also seriously damage your brand’s reputation.
Solutions and Expense to OWN your Own Website:
After fumbling around for several and LOSING a lot of valuable content I settled on a couple of VERY workable solutions.
There are expenses involved but they are not large. Most people can now very functional website with a $200-$250 dollar a year budget.
I tried several hosting companies and finally settled on one I can speak to an English-speaking, well-educated person 24/7 on the phone.
We finally went to a dedicated server for several reasons, but it is not necessary in the beginning.
I highly endorse Inmotion Hosting and their fast WP hosting.
If you only need 2 Website hosted I advise choosing the WP2000S, otherwise consider WP3000S
Disclaimer: You must be aware: should you choose this fine company by clicking on the banner below I will receive a small affiliate remuneration.
Again remember, excellent Customer service is so valuable.
Another consideration is the CMS platform that you will use for your website.
I have been using WordPress.org which is FREE since I switched from Blogger, along with 38% of all other websites in the world.
If you choose the recommended Hosting package above it is geared for WordPress.Org.
I tried working with Joomla a few years ago and felt very constrained in the ability to Create.
Regarding the Creation of the Website YOU own.
I will admit there are hundreds of FREE themes available and about the same amount of Premium Themes in the marketplace. Times have changed since I started with Wordpres and “Drag and Drop” has become almost a standard method that absolves almost all coding problems.
I am a stickler for the quality of Customer Service 24/7 and that was a major factor in my choosing Elegant Themes many years ago. At that time they had a wide choice of themes all included in an annual fee.
Today (if you expect to be online more than 3 years their lifetime membership is the BEST value on the internet.
Their NEW DIVI package has endless possibilities for creating YOUR environment and they are constantly adding items on a regular basis.
Along with their well-trained staff, I can also offer guidance should you chose this Premium Theme option.
Disclaimer again: Should you chose to purchase the quality Theme package by clicking on the banner below I will receive a slight compensation.
To sum it up, I would encourage anyone who expects to succeed in ‘business’ on the Internet today OWN your own Website. The minor costs are far outweighed by the income potential available today for any venue of Business.
I do offer a package to help guide you through the process, but my objective is to GUIDE, not do all of the work.
Contact me with questions before you make the final choice of Owning your own Website Real Estate
Share your experiences in the comment section below