Is there such a thing as free website design, and if so, how does it work? Now, it might seem strange that a company who’s end goal is to create website designs for its clients will be discussing a topic like this one, but bear with us for a moment.
Fact or Fiction?
Yes, it exists. There are actually a few free resources for website designs. You could set up a Tumblr blog website. Blogger.Com also offers free blogs and websites. So yes, they are there, and they are free.
However… and yes, there is a however… there are a few pertinent facts that most people will not be aware of when they set up these free websites for themselves or their companies.
Firstly, when you set up a free website through an organisation like Tumblr.Com or Blogger.Com, what you are in fact setting up is not your own website in the normal sense of the word. You are in fact setting up what’s called a sub-domain. As the name suggests, it is a sub-section of a normal domain (website).
So what does this mean? Well, first of all, when you hand out the address of your new (free) website, you will notice that it usually has the following format:
in a week!
Fancy doing it yourself? Not only is creating your own website free, you get to make use of our years of experience to show you best of everything.
Our “Website in a Week” online video course is a step-by-step guide that shows you exactly how to create your own website. And we’ve found a hosting company that will offer free hosting to all our students, so all you’ll need to pay (except for the course price), is R75 per year for your domain.
The “mycompany” is usually the name you choose for your website, whether it be timmyandsons (Timmy & Sons), free2beme (Free To Be Me), or something similar. Then there is a period, and then usually the name of the website which “houses” your website. In this example, blogger.com.
So, in essence, your website is a sub-domain of blogger.com. Again, why should you care? It’s still free, isn’t it? Yes, it is, but as with most free things in life, it’s usually a “Lite” version of the regular brand.
Free Website & Search Engine Optimisation
With a sub-domain, there are several things to bear in mind. First, and foremost, is the issue of Search Engine Optimization. With a sub-domain, there simply isn’t any. The chances of a sub-domain being anywhere close to the front page of Google or any other search engine are so slim, they are practically non-existent.
The end result of this lack of Search Engine Optimization means that unless you physically give people your website address through other forms of marketing, you will never get people going to your website. Again, so what?
Search Engine Optimization, and websites that are designed to best utilize this technology, quickly move up in search engine ranking. With the correct implementation of SEO, not only will your marketing budget shrink, but customers will be knocking down your company’s door!
A free website does not offer this kind of recognition. The portal (Blogger, Tumblr etc) basically uses the sub-domains and the visitors that they receive to improve their own page rank and search engine optimization, without passing any of that authority along to its subsidiaries.
Free Websites & Brand Credibility
Another factor to consider is that of professionalism. It’s the same as a company with a Gmail email address. Although it’s inexpensive (free, actually), it doesn’t lend an air of professionalism to your business. Would you rather contact “[email protected]” or “[email protected]“? How about placing an order with a company at a Gmail address?
This is very similar when dealing with a sub-domain website address. Which website address is more credible: “smith-and-sons.blogger.com” or “www.smith-and-sons.co.za“? The answer is pretty simple. Although it might not always be the case, do you want to take a chance that your company might be perceived as a one-man-show, or simply a fledgling company?
For a customer or client to give a company its trust, these are important factors to consider. The minute you present a professional, well-organized website as opposed to a sub-domain on a blogging portal, your trust value shoots up. Add a proper email address, and it goes even higher.
Clients will always want to deal with professionals, and will be much more likely to purchase your services or products when they receive an air of credibility from your online presence.
So, although a free website might seem like a good idea, it’s not ideal if you ever want an established, credible presence on the world wide web.
using free tools & resources