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Free website builders – pros and cons

Web designer/agency or Squarespace? – Few things to consider for your future dot com space.

There are many on-line, automated website builders offering website packages at a very low cost. As they seem to be a no brainer choice for many small businesses and personal websites, there are things you must take under consideration before choosing this type of service.

1. Hidden costs

The greatly reduced price should trigger the alarm in your head! Many companies hide the real costs behind wacky offers and promotions and make it as hard as possible to get the information about the total cost. Usually you you won’t find out about the real cost until you submitted you credit card details, but don’t worry, the law for on-line sales allows you to withdraw from any obligations up to 7 days after signing the contract no questions asked. Also you must check the cost of renewal of your services after the end of the promotional period. It is possible that sticking with your current ‘more expensive ‘ provider is actually cheaper in the long run.

2. Limited customisation

As for every template-based service it can be hard to customise your site. You might find impossible to move this particular line of text, menu item or image.

3. Unwanted adverts on your site

Every free or low-cost service will include their own advert and/or branding on your website. You might don’t care too much if the ads are small and don’t ruin your design, but you and your visitors still going to feel their annoying presence! In some cases it might be desirable effect to have the site branded by a well-known company. It usually apply to the portfolio or blog and especially to a small e-commerce websites such as Etsy Shop or Ebay Shop, where your clients gain more confidence when buying on-line because of the service reputation.

 4. Traffic and SEO issues

Unless you have your own domain name, the company that is hosting your website can greatly reduce your  SEO perks coming from the visitors of your site. You should definitely register your own domain name and most likely get a dedicated hosting service once your blog or website goes viral. As the domain registration is fairly chap it is good to think about that from start to avoid transferring problems.

5. Performance

As the HTML and CSS code is generated automatically by software, it might carry a lot of unnecessary scripts and loops that will result in increased  website loading time. Most people get inpatient when the website is loading for more than 5 seconds. To avoid that use only crucial plugins and widgets, keep customisation to necessary minimum. If a certain page still loads slowly, splitting it may help.

Graphic and web design is more than ability of using fancy programs and tools to name just a basic ones such as  Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Acrobat, Dreamweaver, etc. There are many other things that a professional designer takes under consideration while taking on your project: composition and colour theory, typography, design ergonomics, cross-browser and cross-device compatibility, user experience and many more. If you are seeking of properly structured, SEO optimised, accessible and flexible website, the knowledge of HTML and CSS, is unavoidable, no matter how convincing the adverts of on-line creators are.

Depends on the scale of your project and your budget you have to choose between hiring a designer or using one of available on-line web design/hosting boundles. Sometimes the most proper solution will be hiring a skilled designer to build your profile with one of the web-creators – e. g. professional Facebook or Twitter profile, Behance or Carbonamde portfolio, Tumblr blog and so on. For people who would like to get a bit further and who are seeking a bit more control over their website or blog the most recommended solution is off course to learn open-source, CMS  based WordPress platform, which can easily handle almost any type of the web design project.

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