There are some situations where I will refer a person to a free website service.
But I always point out the pros and cons of using such services.
In this blog post by Seth Godin he illustrates an excellent point about companies like Facebook and Google and how they offer free services but find ways to make money off of your attention. It’s a great post but as I was reading it I was reminded of one of the biggest disadvantages of free website or website builder services. You are bound by their rules and you are limited to only the tools that they provide for you.
This quote from Seth’s post hits the nail on the head.
Again and again, we see that if you’re not the customer, you’re the product. ‘Free’ usually means, ‘you’re not in charge.’ The race continues to be one for attention.
Like I said, sometimes free websites can be all you need if you are a starter business or freelancer or getting started out as a blogger. WordPress.com or Tumblr or even a Facebook page might be sufficient.
I have a post-it note on my monitor with a quote. This note is to remind me not to give away my time and services for free. I used to do that sometimes “to be nice” but I realized over time that doing so is a disservice to my clients and devalues my time which demotivates me and leads to mediocre work.
‘Free‘ creates no impact. And without impact, there is no change. And without change, there is no improvement
Unfortunately I don’t know who the author is but most likely it was Jason Leister. Check out his website if you work with clients. His free newsletter has been very helpful for me and has inspired me many times.
A self-hosted WordPress site is a worthy Investment
Typically when I build websites for my clients I am using the WordPress content management system, self-hosted. Using WordPress, the client and I build what I call a content base.
The content base is made up of the text and pictures that help sell your product or service and it also contains the website’s page structure. This can also include your blog posts and the products in your existing online store.
Separate from the content base is the look-and-feel, or design. The design can literally be changed with the click of a button. And the content base can be exported and imported into a fresh WordPress installation.
Flexibility. No Bounds. And Choices.
Let me paint this picture. So three years ago you invested around a thousand dollars to hire a web designer to build a WordPress website for you. Three years later the web designer decides to become a race car driver or something and is no longer available to work on your website. Then, you reevaluate and realize that your hosting company is too expensive or that it sucks so you want to change companies. And while you’re at it, you begin to think your website’s design needs a face-lift because it looks outdated and is hard to read on mobile phones. Well, it might seem like an enormous task (of course that’s why you would hire me to make it easy) but, either way, you’re in luck. A WordPress website can easily be exported to any hosting company. WordPress is also such a standard system now that most any web designer or web marketing agency can pick up where your former web designer turned race car driver left off. And since you already have the content base all that is needed is a new design. So a web designer can easily create a custom theme, or design, for you and wrap it around the existing content base. This saves you time and money in the long run and your website stays a living and evolving representation of your business. It remains able to adapt and change over time.
Did I mention WordPress is free and community run? This is one of those times when FREE is good a very good thing.
WordPress does require some monthly maintenance and I will soon offer two different levels of maintenance packages, or what I call the “Peace Of Mind Service”, at very affordable monthly rates. Hit me up to learn more.