A lot of people feel really smart when creating their own website. After a little searching, they discover a “free” platform with a drag and drop interface that seems so great. No knowledge of coding required and you feel like a rock star! What could go wrong? The problem is not that you are saving money with a free option, the problem is that this option is costing you an average of more than double or even triple what you save.
The largest cost of using a free platform for many people is a hidden one. It’s the cost of websites built by users who may not know what makes a website really work, therefore it doesn’t get found, or it doesn’t function well. That lack of functionality is costing you business every day.
Free platforms like Wix hide the complexities involved in coding and site preparation. Sounds great right? Not. The fact that all of these complexities are hidden means that they are out of sight and out of mind. As a result, many users do not even complete the set up for proper coding, responsiveness to mobile devices (not just shrinking tiny), search engine optimization, titles, tags, or descriptions… all are completely ignored and neither the user or the platform provider care. Google, however, does take notice. Their algorithm is set up to rank sites according to compliance and completion of many of these hidden elements that are ignored. As a result, your site is not ranked at all or will never see the first page of search results. A website that can’t be found will definitely cost you more than you’re saving in lost revenue. Let’s do the math:
If the average job is $200 and you’re missing out on two jobs per month, you’re losing $4800 every year! Chances are, your jobs are more than $200 and you would receive more than one per month. That’s a lot of lost revenue! Paying for a professional build really pays off in more ways than one.
The fancy scripted bits and colorful buttons won’t help solve the problems. They only add more code to the mess for the search engine to evaluate. Adding more gizzys might seem attractive to a human, but the search engine spider is reading the underlying code, not viewing the overlay.
Many people feel that covering the free website with stark tonal differences will somehow wow the visitor. These kinds of websites are usually black with white, yellow, or orange text. I’ve also seen straight up neon colors or two color sites deployed. Nothing sends a visitor away faster than this kind of mistake. Rule of thumb is, if you can close your eyes and still see your website ten minutes later fried into the underside of your eyelids, you need a professional. Try to remember that people are seeing your site on a backlit machine, not a flyer. It doesn’t look cool… it screams “leave me”.
If you have a free website, you’ll most likely have to advertise for the platform provider. You are probably getting the hosting from the same place. Is the server response fast? Do they provide you with an SSL? Chances are, your answer to both of those questions is no. People pay a premium price for fast internet connections to process data through their devices. If your site’s loading speed makes them wait, they will not stay. Load time and site security are a couple more things that Google takes into serious consideration when deciding who to rank first.
Your free site probably has no logo. Branding is not your name in justified text. Branding requires a logo design that will carefully convey your business’ message, products, and/or services in a positive and memorable way. If you’re using text or just threw up a piece of clipart with your name on it, people will notice. Having no logo gives the visitor the impression that this is just a one-man operation or a fly-by-night company that threw something together to try to scam people.
I like to think I know what looks good but if I tried to fix my drywall it would look shocking – I’m not a carpenter and would never pretend to be one, so why should you pretend to be a website developer when your business depends on your website? If it was ‘easy’ to build a website that works then there wouldn’t be hundreds of thousands of blog articles about search engine optimization (SEO), content structures, on and off-site reputation management and conversion optimization.
Websites are not flyers and should not be treated like other traditional media. In order to generate revenue with your site, you need to know that all of the details are taken care of to get it right. How long can you afford to keep losing business? When you’re ready for a professional to take a look at your website, contact me! I’ll be happy to help.