I love answering this question and it’s logical enough to ask.
Every now and then we enjoy receiving things for free or discounted. Especially when it’s associated with a special deal. It’s a lovely carrot to chew on after paying for your goods and services whatever these maybe.
So how does evaluating getting a free website for your business count as the same?
A Free Website sounds good doesn’t it? Particularly when you think about how expensive (into the thousands of dollars) websites are charged at these days here in New Zealand. Free becomes super attractive.
You think to yourself that’s one less spend I don’t have to incur. I could use all this extra money in another area.
So in haste and excitement you tap the keys hurriedly to sign up. But no one is there to tell you otherwise and you don’t want to miss out! God it’s Free.
Free this, Free that. Arggghhh, wrong!
Now that 2013 is upon us, your next steps in business decision making will determine whether you struggle or don’t. Taking the “Free Website” option will produce struggle. It won’t be pretty.
Here’s how it goes.
After you fill in the minimalist and generic questionnaire, your free site goes live (on their servers). And by the way do you consider your business minimalist and generic? Course not.
You become expectant with expectations and you’re a tad excited. Obvious right? Then a few months pass and you begin to ask THE questions.
Can I add new content to my site? How come no one (new customers) can find me in Google? Why are there Ad’s on my website? Can I have another page? Can I have a blog? Why can’t I add a post?
The answers? Usually there aren’t any except “no”.
You experience confusion, sneaky betrayal even and get a wee bit shitty by it all. Then you blame the internet saying “I’ll never get this stuff”. You become resistant to anything resembling marketing online. You want to forget about it and block it out.
You wouldn’t be alone.
The problem is not the internet. The problem is not you by opting for free. The problem is the WRONG information broadcast out to unsuspecting New Zealanders that it is an awesome option to getting your business online. The free carrot in this instance is not one you want to bite.
I’ll piss a lot of people off with this and that’s o.k I’ll still sleep easy. The difference is defining. It is value to you the kiwi small business owner that there are options way better. Even at cost.
Here is why Free Websites Suck and why you must invest money (spend) in your business website.
Everyone knows a certain company in New Zealand along with a particular bank are now offering free websites to any business in New Zealand.
In one aspect which is short-lived, this is good. It increases the awareness NZ business are still lacking an online presence. For our country this is treacherous. It really is considering New Zealand is thought of so favourably overseas to do business within. Read it for yourself. New Zealand Business on Forbes. And here.
We must get our country online. But do we use Free websites as the means to tame this economic deficit?
No. This will set us back. I stand by that. It’s crucial that we do not embrace the idea that FREE is great. That it’s the only option in what some believe as desperate times.
Put your thinking cap on, just for a minute.
We are in a time where the world is facing a tumultuous economic period ever in history. NO ONE can afford to go backwards. Free (in this instance) is backwards.
This isn’t a sign of ominous event’s ahead, they are ahead yet so to the opposite. The opportunity for business prosperity. To get your slice requires work and preparation. But you know that already. Yet there is a concealed danger in our thinking that “we must still cut back”. This is reasonably valid in some areas, not all.
Cut back on your weekly latte’s, unnecessary business outing’s, a new suit. DO NOT cut back on effective ONLINE MARKETING and a quality business website is part of that equation, period!
Do you need to spend thousands of dollars on a website? Of course not. You just have to look with a reliable steady guide under your arm when shopping for one. (This small business website guide will be in the next post just for you.)
Here are the marketing disadvantages of a “Free Website”.
- You do not own the website. Check the fine-print. You can add what they allow you and that’s it. There is no ability for you to grow your website further or expand your business brand online. They can do whatever they choose with it. You must ALWAYS own your website outright. Consider it online real estate because it is. Like a new home you just bought, what do you do? You starting developing it to add value, exactly the same.
- Your domain name will read awful. In most cases this is the situation. It will read something like: www.yourwebsite.freehosting.abc.co.nz
- Little or no support. They just gave you a free website they will not be allocating any money or resources to support.
- Poor ability to rank in Google. Search engines easily pick up free template style websites. They know there is no serious intent to provide great online content for your customers so they will ignore your website. This means potential NEW customers will not find you online.
- You don’t have the ability to add content. Everyone wants to have a certain level of control over their business content. You want to be able to upload new images, video or text when you choose. Free websites do not allow this. You consistently have to ring and hopefully someone answers.
- Limited Bandwidth. If your website all of a sudden gets a lot of traffic, it will crash.
- Very limited disk space. This means your images to upload are fairly limited as well.
- They will advertise on your website. Because you do not own your website and as I mentioned earlier they can do as they choose with your site, they sometime run advertisements. This does not present a professional individual look and feel for your business.
- Poor business credibility. If your visitors see a free built style site, easy to detect and often generic, some will question your seriousness to market competitively. This isn’t made up stuff, it happens.
I believe you get it now.
This is a time for ideas and innovation. To market aggressively and stand apart from your competitors. This will never happen with a Free Website.
There is no major return on investment with Free? Nothing substantially tangible you can take to the bank and deposit smiling.
I don’t want to use this article as a bashing point to discredit the nationwide initiative to get NZ businesses online. We all want this but we must go with what works not what doesn’t.
Think for yourself now. You know the right answer for your business, life, future and family. At the end of the day if your website works and what I mean by that is it churns out leads for your business, money in your pocket, bills paid and food on the table. That’s the end result we want. The size of that result is up to you.
Decide do you want an easy fix that will out run it’s use by date in a matter of months, or do you want a long term online asset that will serve you well into the future and beyond?
I’m not here to pressure convince you rather enlighten and empower you with truth. The rest as they say, will be history.
The video below is quite old at 2 years and still powerfully relevant. However if you haven’t seen it just imagine the advancement from that date. It will dispel easily the free mentality. Hopefully it will inspire you, shock you even to get up there and market YOUR business with a super hero attitude your business and you, deserve!
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