Free website builders are getting more advanced and easier to use. Just last month, I was working with an artist at a Senior home teaching her how to set up a website for her artwork. For those of you looking into making a free website, I thought of some pros and cons of these website builders.
1. Low Cost - Obviously one of the great things of these free website builders is that you can build your own website for little to no cost.
2. No Coding Experience Needed - Another plus, especially if you are a business owner, is that you do not need to have coding experience to build these type of websites.
3. Easy - Like I shared before, I was helping a lady at a Senior home set up a website with one of these builders...which means they are user friendly even people who have no idea how to start a website can start one.
1. Content - The problem with most builders is that your content is not exportable or transferable if you want to redesign your website. This can cause trouble if you have a lot of content to copy over.
2. Not Good For Complex Websites - Seriously, if you're looking into building a website that will need lots of pages, users, etc...then these builders are not for you. They are best for personal pages, small websites, or brochure-style websites.
3. Limited Features & Design Control - This is most frustrating for web designers/developers. Most builders will allow you to edit only so much of a design...meaning that if you want to add features that require some server-side code it will not work...bummer.
4. Cookie Cutter Issue - If you use a free template on these builder sites it means that many others can choose the same design. Do you want your local business, let's say a print shop, to have the same exact web design as the cupcake store across the street? These leads to lack of creativity...and it can hurt you on a professional level. Also, please note that in order to take off adds or the logo of said website builder, you'll have to pay an extra fee.
5. Unprofessional - Again, adding on to the cookie cutter issue....if you are not good with content organization or design, your site may end up looking tacky and unprofessional. Think purple background and orange text, cheesy gifs, comic sans *shudder* If you want to look professional look into getting a professional web designer/developer so that you will be taken seriously. Quality over quantity...let your customers know that you invested in good quality.
Conclusion: Great for personal use and if you have good sense of design skills and don't want to pay much...if you want to look professional or have a more complex website, go another route :)