Monday, 29 June 2015

Free vs. Premium Website Builders - What’s the Difference?


site builders

At first glance, online website builders seem like the perfect option for those of us looking to create a new site on a budget. After all, many of them offer completely free plans, meaning we can get our websites up and running without investing so much as a penny.

Since most of those plans seem to offer everything we need to get started, you may be wondering why anybody would even bother to splash out on those premium, paid-for plans that your site builder of choice offers alongside its free package.

Whether you’re wondering whether or not to invest in a paid plan, or aren’t sure how it could ever benefit to your site, here’s our look at the major differences between free and premium website builders.

Domain names 

As any web expert with their salt will tell you, your domain name plays a crucial role in the success of your website. Something short, simple and reflective of who you are and what you do will stick in the minds of your audience, help you establish a professional image online and can even do much to help with your Search Engine Optimisation efforts.

To get a domain like this (such as mycompany.com) for a site you create with a website building platform, you’re going to have to break out the wallet and pay for a premium plan, most of which come with a top-level domain name included.

Decide to stick with the free plan, and the only way visitors will have of checking out your site is by going to a sub-domain of your site builder, such as mycompany.websitebuilder.com or sitebuilder.com/mycompany. Either way, it’s hardly as memorable, or as professional as the paid alternative.

Branding 

Speaking of presenting a professional image, few things are likely to create the wrong impression of your business than having somebody else’s branding plastered all over it, and that’s what you’ll get with a freebie.
In order to make their money back from free plans, a lot of website builders put their own advertising on your site. If you want to remove this, you guessed it, it’s time to upgrade.

Storage and bandwidth allocations 

If there’s anything more important to your website than your domain name, it’s the amount of storage and bandwidth you’re allocated when you sign up to a plan. Though small, seldomly-visited sites may be just fine with a very minimal amount of other, let’s face it, your goals with your new site are to be neither small nor seldomly visited.

If you’re going to grow, add new content, and make sure your users can access it without waiting a long time for it to load, you’ll need a decent amount of storage space to host your files, and plenty of bandwidth to serve them up.

As you may have already worked out, you get much more resources with a paid plan than you do with a free one. A good web builder comparison site like Best Website Builders Now looks at the kind of resources you can expect to receive when you sign up with one of the major platforms.

eCommerce 

Though some platforms do offer a minimal eCommerce support with their free plans, these are few and far between, and often limited to the ability to sell just a single product.

If you’re planning to launch a full online store, that’s the sort of thing that’s only really achievable with a premium plan.

Support 

Since most site creators are designed for those with no technical skills, it’s very rare that you should run into any problems, but if things aren’t quite going the way you planned, it may be time to turn to support. In the majority of cases, free users can access a knowledgebase and potentially email support, whilst telephone, live chat and other means of support are often only available to those on paid plans.

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