A Free Marriage with Strings

I am sure you have seen the TV advertisements: “Create your own website for free.” Sounds enticing? Companies like Weebly and Wix have created a business of seamless integration of web design and hosting at an attractive price. Free.

The question comes to mind: “Are these companies engaging philanthropy to the Internet by giving you a free website?” The reality is: “No”

 

For Better or Worse

With these companies your website’s page speed performance is now hostage to the performance of their servers. Many complaints of slow website speeds have plagued these companies as they try to cram as many websites on a server to save costs.

Website page load speeds are now tied into search engine rankings. If a website is too slow then a search engine will move on to the next website and not accurately rank your website. This can hurt your domain and business in search rankings.

If you want more information on hosting options see last month’s article: Where does your website live?

 

If Free then set me Free!

A very important piece in this relationship that is overlooked by many is your content. Your content is important and you should treat it as your property. It may only be a few pages but for many businesses it could be 100’s of pages of content especially if blogging is involved.

When you place content on these types of websites it now becomes theirs.

The questions come to mind:

What do I do if I am not happy with my website hosted with one of these companies?

What happens if the company that is hosting my site goes out of business?

To date either Wix or Weebly still does not provide a 100% export function to move your content to another website. Why?

Partly because of a technical issue with proprietary technologies such as animations or screen sliders but more importantly because of a their business model. They don’t want to give you a divorce.

There are techniques on the Internet of copying your content from these websites but they are complex even for the technically inclined and none so far have 100% accuracy.

Having your content on a content management system that is 100% portable such as Word Press, Drupal, or Joomla gives you the control over your content. You have the flexibility to host it where you want it. You also have the flexibility to decide who you want to support it.

 

When Free is not Free

Both companies provide a sampling for Free but ideally they are pricey Internet hosting providers.

The free part doesn’t allow you to use your own domain so you are stuck with using on of their generic generated domain names. Doesn’t really help your business brand.

For a 4 to 8 bucks more a month they allow you to use your own domain name but with limited storage and functionally.

Move up to 8 to 12 bucks a month for more space.

Ideally they want you at around 25 bucks a month for shared hosting features that would cost a fraction a month at other hosting providers.

If you sell online Weebly charges an extra 3% of the transaction on top of what credit cards charge. Ouch.

 

Overall these companies offer a way to setup your website will little to no technical knowledge with the price of retaining your content and charging higher than normal hosting fees. If you have or generate a lot of content it would be wise to avoid companies like these.

Success Media Services is committed to helping their clients find the correct solution for their website that is scalable to their business needs. We look after the immediate and long-term goals of our clients. Let us know how we can help you.

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