A Free Website? Why Not?

A Free Website? Why Not? image free websiteA Free Website? Why Not?The commercials and videos explain how quick and easy it is to publish a “free” website.  Pick a template … add content … upload images …  publish.  Voila, you have a website.  Customers will flock to your (virtual) door! Why on earth would anyone pay someone to develop a website?

But here are a few questions behind the commercials and videos:

Choose a template…

Does your company have a logo? Will the color match any of the available templates?  Will the logo fit the space provided by the template? Do you know how to make it fit so it looks right (not stretched or squished)? Is there a space for a banner?  Do you have the software and knowledge to prepare a banner in the right size and color so that it looks like it is a part of the overall design and not an amateur add-on?

70% of people surveyed, claimed they would not buy from a company with a poorly designed website. – Basekit Survey

Add content…

What do you want to tell your viewers – exactly?  Do you know what keywords are important for your site? Are you satisfied that you have the writing ability to write strong copy – that is spelled correctly, uses proper grammar and has good ratio of keywords to text? Can you write SEO-friendly content that fits the pages and answers the right questions? Are you familiar with H-tags and how they should be used?  Have you developed a strong “call to action” and can you highlight it within the template?  Is there enough text on the page to get good rank on Google, but not too much so that you overwhelm your readers.

Upload images…

Does the free website template offer exactly the images you want? Do you have access to other images that fit the copy? Do you know where to find good clip art? If you are using clip art, is it sized correctly for the page? Do you have original photography? Do you have access to photo-editing software?  Do you know that it is important to size and save images in the correct format  (e.g. whether to use a .jpg, a .gif or a .png) right size and optimal resolution? Do you know how to add an alt tag to an image – do you know what the alt tag should say?

Search Engines…

Do you know how to get verified on Google and Bing?  Do you know how to submit a site to Google Places and Local Bing?  Are you familiar with Google Webmaster Guidelines regarding SEO?  Are you following the guidelines?

A few more questions…

Will the site be hosted on a unique domain name?  (eg. http://example.com) or will it be hosted as a subdomain? (eg. http://freewebsite.example.com)? It does make a difference.  While the site is free to develop, will there be a monthly charge at some point? And what will that charge be? (Sometimes, the monthly charges are higher than a web developer charges. Having a web developer design and host the site could save money in the long run.)

You get what you pay for…

This old adage is especially true for websites. The slick “drag and drop” websites make designing websites look easy.  However, there are many hidden components to a website. Unless you are a talented web writer, a good graphic designer with the right software, and have at least some knowledge of SEO and how websites work, you might save time and money by hiring a professional website developer.

Maybe the right question is:

How much money will I make if I have a well-designed, well-written website that ranks high on search engines?

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