One of the biggest trends that we have seen emerge in recent years is the increased use of free website builders. An attractive prospect at first, these website builders seem to be the golden ticket to finding new customers online. Better yet, most of these website builders are free to use and cost business owners nothing but their time.
Generally these website builders are easy to use, they come with free templates to squeeze your content into, and the end result is often a nice looking website. This is where the benefits of using a do it yourself website builder generally stop.
Much like a trade or a professional skill set, web design and marketing are crafts that are developed by an individual over time until they can operate at a professional level. Professional web designers and online marketers have years of experience under their belts. They have performed extensive research, physically carried out hundreds of campaigns, and know the best way to set up websites and to manage online marketing to provide a great return on investment.
Sure, you can jump on a website builder, select a template and enter some content, but is the end result something that will drive enquiries and land sales for your business? More often than not, no.
The Disturbing Website Design Trend
The trend we have seen with small businesses using online builders is as follows:
Business owner sets up a website using a free online builder. This typically takes anywhere from a few days to a week to complete and the end result typically looks nice.
The website is now live. The small business owner now sits back and waits for leads to flood in, just like the ads make out. At this point typically no marketing is performed and the website is effectively invisible to customers unless they type the exact url into their browser (let’s be honest, no one does this).
After six or so months of the website being live and zero enquiries coming through the door, the business owner generally forgets about the website completely, or worse, writes off the idea of having a website altogether as their existing one generated no leads.
What really grinds our gears about the above scenario is that business owners are typically signing up to these free services, having a bad experience, and then leaving with the false assumption that websites don’t generate leads for small businesses. This assumption of course could not be further from the truth.
How Are Website Builders Hurting Small Business?
The above scenario, although annoying, may not seem harmful. Picture however the type of person typically wanting to use a free website builder. Generally the small business owners who are looking at free website builders need to increase their leads and find new customers. The ads for these services look great, the websites look nice, and the whole concept sounds great on paper.
The business owners sign up, build their site, wait 6 or more months and are no better off. This is where the problems start. 6 Months of no leads, waiting and hoping the website will start working is often more than enough time to send a business broke. These small businesses are relying on these free website builders to be their ticket to success, and in reality they receive nothing but a worrying 6 months that brings them closer to shutting the doors and packing up shop.
What’s worse is that during these 6 months or more, the business owners are being bombarded by advertisements, sales calls, and upsells by the companies that supply the free website builders. More often than not these advertisements and sales tactics work and the business owners purchase upgrades, and marketing packages that do nothing to drive leads through their door.
In general these companies don’t care if you make money through your website or not, their business model doesn’t take into account the success of your website.
Free website builders generally make money through the following avenues
They advertise through your website – Companies place ads on your site and you generally have little to no control over what is displayed. Every time an ad is clicked, the free website builder provider makes money.
More Storage Space – generally free accounts receive enough storage space on a server for a very basic website. This space is quickly used up and at this point you will need to abandon your website, deal with outages, or upgrade to a paid plan.
Nicer URL – Most website builders will only offer you their own url’s for your website. This typically looks like “websitebuilder.com.au/yourwebsitehere”. This of course does not look professional and most people purchase a premium plan where you can have your own url present.
More features – Generally free website builders only give you the basics to build a site with. As your business grows or as you need more features, these are all paid options. Things such as having an online store, advanced contact forms, integrations with 3rd party systems etc are generally up-sells or not available altogether.
The above may seem like small costs when looking at an individual website, however this is how the model works. These companies advertise on mass to attract a high volume of signups to their system and then push their range of up-sells and subscriptions to make large sums of money.
The Advantage of Web Design and Online Marketing by Professionals
The distinct difference when hiring a professional to carry out your web design and online marketing is that the professional will focus on ROI (return on investment). At Honest Media we focus heavily on our customers ROI to ensure the work we are performing creates real sales for the businesses we are servicing.
Let’s say you spend $500 per month on SEO services at Honest Media. Let’s say however each month the SEO we perform generates you $3000 per month in proven income from customers purchasing your services through your website. In this case for every $500 you spend on SEO, you gain $3000 in revenue. This net gain for every dollar you spend is your ROI and is a great indicator of the success of your website and marketing efforts.
The Profitability of Your Business Should Be Priority
In a nutshell, the more money we can make your business through a great website and strategised marketing, the happier you will be and the longer you will stay with us as a client. This is a distinct difference between businesses like Honest Media and free website builders. Our business model relies on your success and satisfaction!
Key Benefits of Professional Web Design
A customised solution to suit your specific business needs and goals.
Tried and tested web design and marketing that WILL find you customers.
Your success is our main priority.
Proven return on investment, don’t waste time and money on free builders.
A personal, professional service.
Ongoing support after the website is built.
How Do We Find you Customers Through Web Design & Marketing?
Your web design and marketing go hand in hand to produce sales for your business. Through years of research and experience our designers know exactly how to structure a website to land sales and our marketing team know how to get customers to your site.
First we build a beautiful, branded website that allows customers to easily find the information they are looking for. Our designers ensure your website features easy to use navigation, stunning design, great call to actions, and easy to digest content. This increases the conversion rate of your website, in turn giving you a higher chance of turning website views into real customers.
Next we make sure the right people can find your website. This is done through SEO (getting your website to rank on Google, Google Adwords (paid advertising on Google search results), Social Media Management (building an army of loyal followers on social media), and Mailing Lists (building a database and then marketing to this database via email campaigns).
Have Your Own Website Designed By The Honest Agency
If you’re serious about finding new customers online through web design and online marketing, have a chat with one of our strategists. Our strategist can provide you with answers to any questions you might have and can create an online strategy for your business completely free of charge.