Today’s topic is about custom built website versus a free website builder as you often see advertised on tv.

While free website builders may seem like a cost effective solution to many small or medium sized business, freelancers and similar, this type of website can in fact do little to attract customers and can have a negative impact on a primary website.
Essentially a website builder will have a set amount of template styles, often around a few hundred with which to choose from, however these website templates are limited in design and styling and are often not specific to your exact business. As a result of this you will have a website which is potentially used by thousand of other people and companies, which in turn will not make your business stand out from the crowd but simply look like a carbon copy of many other websites ; of which could have bad reputations. By using this type of website template there are no unique factors to your website and not only is the design non copy writable but the images will also be used on many other websites and you will also have no copyright ownership of these.

Another negative affect of using a website builder is the base URL. Many companies will allow you to use their website builder but under their domain, so essentially you are bringing traffic to their domain rather than your own unique domain. Example of this below…

http://1&1mywebsite/yourcompanyname

By using a domain such as this you will gain no ranking for this as it would been deemed a sub folder/domain on another primary domain. It is far more beneficial to have unique content and design on your own website, thus gaining ranking and position for your domain and not that of another.

A custom built website is the only option when looking to have a website built. By doing so it will allow for full control of the design, images used, layout and furthermore the optimisation which will be key to the site success.

This article will continue tomorrow ….

While many companies will insist on using their domain, there are some free website builders which will allow you to point your domain to your website via simple changes to your dns settings. While this may appear to be the solution you will still face many of the issues above such as copyright, saturation of design, images etc and potentially a competitor using the very same design for their website.

A website should be unique in design, possess well structured content, simple and easy navigation and should be accessible to users via all devices. So while a free website may seem the quick and easy option, you have to ask yourself, would you honestly want quick and easy when it comes to your business and livelyhood?

UPDATE 10/04/2014

We have received quite a response to this article and some valid points made. I would however like to address a few more issues relating to this subject. Firstly, I would agree that some website builders do provide reasonable flexibility in design, however these are far and few between. As a trained and qualified designer I would not try and build a house as this is not my expertise and personally would rather have someone who knew what they were doing to provide me with something as major as my home.
If I were a business owner would I want to build a website myself? Surely someone with years of experience in design, layout, functionality and internet would provide a much better result rather than a potentially amateur attempt at design and layout!

I have in my years of experience heard friends and business owners say “Oh, I have a friend who built a website for me, he does it in his spare time”. If  you value your business surely you would want a professional job doing and not that of someone with limited ability. Your website reflects your business, and if you choose a website builder it could possibly look like you aren’t willing to invest in your own business and perhaps are a start-up, non professional outfit or even a scam site. Therefore it would be deemed a more appropriate solution to choose a professional website design company over a website builder.

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