Template Sites vs. Free Website BuildersEvery business owner strives for maximum ‘bang for the buck’ yet needs to keep their bottom line down. When investing in your website it is easy to be attracted to free/low-cost website builders. These sites are well-advertised and name-recognition can be a powerful influencer in decision making. Instead, consider what features your online business requires to remain competitive, and read below to see how these free/low-cost site builders fall short. There is an old axiom and it applies here: “You get what you pay for…” Instead, to expand your market share, increase your web design budget by a modest amount and invest in what is likely the best option for your business and its continued growth and success: a customizable template site.

First, let’s establish two important facts to achieving online business success. We’ll explain why later on in the document:

  • Must have an easy-to-use, fully-functional, scalable, SEO-compatible website.
  • Must have customized, accountable, continuous Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign (with additional marketing disciplines if needed).

You may already be familiar with the most popular ‘free/low-cost website builders listed below:

  • Wix

  • Squarespace

  • Weebly

  • Shopify

These builders will construct, or permit businesses to create their own websites. While these site builders can establish your web presence, their site functionality is extremely limited. This presents major issues when optimizing a website to rank on search engines such as Google. Site limitations also prevent site visitors from finding what they came for easily so many will quickly leave- for a competitor’s site. Here is a more complete list that specifies the negative aspects of free/low-cost sites and why:

Free/Low-Cost Website Builders CONS:

    • Restricted features – features that you may want on your website may not be available such as:
      • eCommerce features including transactional technology and shopping carts.
      • Plugins: a shallow pool of options many of which may not be supported or updated.
      • Limited design templates: which means the most popular designs will be in wide use.
  • Less personalization/website customization: Having a unique personal image is critical to many businesses. This is not possible with these sites.

  • Domain ownership and exclusive site design are not included.

  • Heavy page load time, limiting ranking abilities: This means the pages take a long time to build. Too long for most site visitors. Since these sites are not fully optimizable, ranking on search engines is also not always possible.

  • Limited goal placement (contact submit forms/phone numbers) for prospect conversion: You cannot get new business if you do not ask for it via strategically placed Calls to Action (CTAs) such as forms. Without web page CTA placement where it is needed, site owners severely restrict opportunities for conversions/leads/sales.

  • Site metrics limitations within the builder- inability to understand consumer behavior on a web page: Key to making the sale is having what the visitor wants and making it easy for them to find and buy it.

  • Not compatible with most major Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools. An effective SEO campaign gauges the effectiveness of an initiative and makes adjustments as needed. If you cannot measure how well any campaign is working, you are likely wasting money on promotions, etc.

  • May include ads with their “free” plans with limitations removable only if you upgrade to a paid plan. Ads are distracting to your prospects and potential customers. Also, your site is making money for the site builder, not your business.

  • Not designed to handle complex eCommerce needs: blockchain, the supply system process, shipping, tax processing, and transactional technology all change regularly. ECommerce features on Free/low-cost sites are not scaleable or are very limited.

  • Limited customization options and flexibility.

  • Do not support strategic on-page SEO initiatives to attract visitors and drive sales.

Your business cannot grow with a site that is essentially Web Design 101. Can you afford to build your business on an outdated framework? Or one that you’ll quickly outgrow and have to replace within months? We would not pan these web builders without offering a better solution:

Customizable WordPress Template Website PROs:

  • Framework format still allows for endless customization possibilities as unique as your brand.

  • Scalable: Accepts advanced marketing tools, add-ons, and plugins.

  • You own your site and your domain.
  • Themes/Design layouts – much larger range of options; customization with few, if any restrictions.

  • eCommerce functionality – offers more flexibility and choices

  • Flexibility and scalability – options to add functionality tailored to fit your business requirements.

  • Endless possibilities for on-page conversion opportunities.

  • Compatible with most major Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools.

  • SEO Compatible: Can be modified for specific SEO key terms (title, alt attribute)

  • WordPress is the template site of choice widely used globally. Sites build quickly and offer far more scalable features than free/low-cost sites. Therefore it offers more templates, supported plug-ins, and is constantly updated.

  • Affordable solution for small to mid-sized businesses.

Deciding who will build your website is as critical as what kind of site you’ll need. That is why it is important to speak with the experienced professionals at Active Web Group. We want to learn about your business- from you. We’ll ask about your current online business requirements and those projected within the next 3-5 years. Together we can weigh your options and build the most effective and profitable website for your business. For a confidential discussion, give our team a call at (800) 978-3417 today!