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Create a Free Website VS. Professionally Designed Sites

Website Design PortfolioFirst, let's cover what the purpose is of having a website. To sum it up into one word: Advertising. The number one purpose of having a website is to get your business seen by the online community in hopes that people will visit and buy into whatever product or idea you are propogating. Whether you are marketing products for your business, blogging about your personal ideologies, or selling your resume or portfolio, a website is meant to be seen and to attract your target audience.

With that in mind, let's explore the question of whether it is better to try your hand at using hosting services that allow you to create a free website versus contracting a professional web design company to do the work for you.

The Pros

There are a number of benefits in choosing to create a free website using various free hosting sites. Let's hit the obvious first, that being a lowered cost for your business. You can transfer your registered domain or purchase one from such sites as those mentioned and receive basic hosting at no charge with the use of their website editors and the ability to choose from a number of web design templates. You can also choose to go the completely free route and not purchase a domain, but rather use an available subdomain from the hosting company. Usually, the site builders that come with the free, basic hosting are designed for those who have little to no experience in dealing with web design code so it is friendly toward the unskilled. In some instances, hosting providers that allow you to create a free website will understandably hold back such tools and allow for only uploading and modifying the HTML files.

So with this option:

• You do not need to design a website as you can choose from a list of pre-designed web templates
• You do not need to know how to write the code to make a website
• Most importantly, lowered cost

In choosing to have your website be professionally designed by a web design company like Method Technologies, the most important benefit is having a team build you a completely custom website that is specifically tailored toward your business. Most web design companies offer various deals in choosing them as your website designer such as free hosting for a period of time or the purchase of a free domain. This team can maintain your website and keep you free to run your business more efficiently. If the web design company also provides Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services, this will help keep your website competitive with other businesses for online presence.

So with this option:

• You have a customized web design for your business
• You have a web design team that maintains your website, freeing you to run your business
• Most companies offer SEO services to keep you more visible on the Internet

The Cons

Let's look first at choosing to have your website professionally designed. The biggest con would have to be the cost factor. This is not to say that spending money on your website is a bad thing, but can you spend the amount of money required in your business plan? Some companies cost more than others which leads to the second negative aspect of this option and that is the quality and work done by the company you have chosen. Many web design companies, in an attempt to compete with the cheaper or free options of website building, use pre-designed templates much like the free options. The last con is the risk of needing to end the relationship with the contractor company (either because of poor work, or affordable issues, or whatever the case may be) which results in a stagnant state of trying to figure out what to do now.

So the cons with this option:

• Finding the right company that fits your business budget, if it fits at all
• Not knowing the quality of work or honesty of the web design company
• Losing control of your website if the relationship terminates with your web design team

Now let's explore the negative aspects of choosing to create a free website on your own. The clearest negative is quite plainly put, "you get what you pay for." In this option, you do not have a team that supports you and almost all of these sites that offer free hosting, offer their most basic hosting service which is very restrictive in what you can do and how much space you have to do it. Another con is equally as cliché, "free is rarely ever free." All of these sites that offer free hosting with a free subdomain, use your website as a source of income with advertisements. The subdomain is also tied to the hosting website so if you wanted to create a website for yourself, the website address would be a subdomain that would look like instead of The last con to consider may also be one of the most important. These sites probably do not offer any SEO services or very limited SEO capabilities for free. Remember, the main purpose of a website is for advertising and SEO is what will get your website visible on the Internet.

So the cons with this option:

• Finding the right company that fits your business budget, if it fits at all
• Not knowing the quality of work or honesty of the web design company
• Losing control of your website if the relationship terminates with your web design team

How To Decide

The options are laid bare, now let's decide. There are purposes for both options and those purposes are what we need to use to make the decision. If you are using your website not as a means for income (like a site that is more of a blog to share your thoughts or opinions or a site for communties or groups like churches or sports teams), the free option would be best. The reason being is purely a cost analysis issue. No revenue means no money for expenses. Another reason to choose a free option is if you already have a professionally designed website and need a specialized addition to your website and the cost of adding one is not within budget so having a free hosted site is a nice temporary option or perhaps permanent option of the reason for the extra site is for blogging to help drive traffic to your main website.

As mentioned initially, the main purpose of most websites is to advertise your business. Advertising and marketing expenses should be included in any business plan as new clients are what will keep a business going. If that is the case for you, check your business plan to see if it is within budget to build or improve upon your website with essential tools and services to make your business more profitable by making your website more noticable. Better looking websites also attract people and custom designed websites from proffessional companies can offer that whereas templated sites cannot. You are restricted to only using pre-made templates that another company may use as well especially if the template design is popular for your industry. Imagine seeing a potential customer seeing another website that looks exactly like your own. There may also be features that you need that templated websites cannot offer that are specific to your business. For those, you will need a web design team to develop your unique solution.

Quality and reputation are important in both instances. Some companies that offer free website creation are better than others and can offer more than another. The same can be said for using a web design company. Some companies do not live up to their reputation. Check online reviews and testimonials and most especially, see if someone you know has already had experience that you can trust. No matter which choice, for what ever reason, do not forget to do some research and find the best option and company that suits you and meets your needs.

Tags: website | web design | create a free website | professionally designed

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