Should I use a free website builder?
Yes. Especially, when limited features of the free website builder cover your immediate website needs. You can save resources until your website grows and you have more resources for expansion.
Contrary to what web experts may tell you, I recommend small business owners who are not tech-savvy to start out with free website builders. Running a business post-pandemic has been tough for many small business owners.
Hiring a web expert to help put your business online and maintain it can get expensive quickly. It is more excruciating when the business is growing slowly. Free website builders can help small business owners test ideas, get online faster, and keep expenses low until the business begins to grow.
Now that you understand the benefit, you only need to be aware of the limitations that come with free website builders. Acknowledging the advantages and the limitations, you can adequately plan and prepare.
Free website builders are free but you have to be ready for some tradeoffs. These may include low bandwidth which means your website can only allow a certain number of monthly visitors. Another tradeoff may be lower storage which means the website builder may only allow you to upload a certain amount of media files to your website.
You may be required to upgrade your website builder plan to a premium plan to remove these limitations. Unless you need more website builder features, free website builders are free. Let’s go ahead and discuss the rewards and tradeoffs of free website builders.
Advantages of free website builders
- You pay zero fees
- You can update your website and make quick changes without getting help
- Free website builders come with maximum security
- You are in control of how your website looks giving you the opportunity to express yourself better
- Website builders provide learning resources to guide you through designing your website
- Your website can get online as soon as possible
- Design templates offer drag and drop elements for ease of use
- Free website builders come with free hosting
- Check your website performance and analytics
- No coding required for complex tasks
- Square Online free website builder can help you start a free online store. This store includes features like automatic sync with Square POS, in-store pick-up, in-house delivery, SSL security local delivery, Google Pay integration, local delivery, curbside pickup, on-demand delivery, inventory management, sales coupons, and much more
- Free website builder like Webflow includes content management system features in your free plan
- Connect your custom domain name to Google Sites and Ucraft
Disadvantages of free website builders
- It takes some time to learn and build what you actually want
- If you decide to leave, you cannot take your site with you
- Free website builders limit your designs to the number of templates they make available for you to use.
- Free website builders are bad for SEO
- Many free website builders require ad placement on your website
- You may not be able to transfer your website to another provider
- Features may be limited such as blogging, analytics, and SSL certificate
- You may be asked to pay for additional features when upgrading
- Access to customer service may be limited or non-existent
- You may be limited with the number of pages you can create on your free website
- Your bandwidth allocation is limited
- You may not be able to use your own domain name
What are the best free website builders?
1. Google Sites
Google Sites is as free as you can get. They do not offer any premium plans. I recommend Google’s free website builder to anyone who wants to build a static website and get some online presence. Most people are already familiar with Google products. Creating free websites with Google is usually a breeze for most people.
Google Sites is smart, easy to use, and comes with a lot of benefits other free website builders don’t offer. An important benefit is the ability to connect your custom domain for free. Additionally, Google Sites integrate with other Google products such as Google Slides, Google Calendar, Google Sheets, Google Maps, and Google Docs.
The limitation here is that Google Sites don’t come with attractive themes like other free website builders. Moreover, they lack blogging and online store features.
Ucraft is a great alternative to Google Sites. One big factor here is that Ucraft allows you to connect your free website to a domain name. Ucraft is the best free website builder as they offer great features for free. Additionally, Ucraft offers captivating and attractive modern themes to get a professional and modern website.
The recognizable limitation with Ucraft is that you get a large sticky ad, have limited SEO features on your free website, and are limited to 15 pages on a free plan. If you ask me, this is not a bad deal for a free website compared to other free website builders.
Webflow targets advanced users and web design professionals. You can create and code your website from the ground up. Webflow is not an ideal recommendation for beginners but rather mid-level to expert web designers or web developers.
Users can create dynamic content and multiple pages with the content management system feature. Webflow free website builder drawback is the steep learning curve. So beginners who want their free website fast should try alternatives.
For overachieving newbies or savvy web designers, try the free Webflow website builder. You only have to deal with the small ads displayed on free websites.
4. Square Online
Square Online is a favorite free website builder for small business owners. You literally have to tradeoff nothing to get all the necessary features you find on major online stores.
The Square Online website builder is straightforward, easy to use, and user-friendly. You even get access to customer service if you have a free website.
The free websites come with features such as automatic sync with Square POS, in-house and on-demand delivery, curbside and in-store pickup, Instagram integration, local delivery, accept Square gift cards, accept Google Pay transactions, accept Apple Pay transactions, accept sales coupons, inventory management, SEO features, and SSL security.
As a business owner who wants to get your business online with a free website builder, I recommend you try Square Online. The only drawback is the small advertisement on your page which is really nothing compared to the features you get on your free online store website.
Jimdo is a simple, straightforward, and user-friendly website. It is most suitable for newbies with no technical experience. Do you want to create a blog, portfolio, or online store without stress or coding skills? Jimdo is a good fit if you’re looking a for free website builder that meets your business needs.
Another great thing about Jimdo is that the premium plans are affordable if you decide to upgrade in the future.
You cannot create more than 5 pages on Jimdo. This seems to be the major limitation with Jimdo’s free website builder.
The Site123 free website builder is user-friendly. The themes available on the platforms are modern, crisp, and will definitely help you create an attractive website for free. Besides the looks, Site123 free websites are SSL secured and SEO friendly.
Site123 free website builder has some drawbacks. The free websites display sticky advertisements and the subdomain you’re assigned is a random combination of alphabets and numbers.
Strikingly is easy to use and ideal for creating personal websites. With Strikingly, customizing themes is easy so you can get online fast. The compromise is that you may not be able to get creative with your designs.
The tradeoff here is that your Strikingly free website displays a big advertisement at the top. Although you can create multiple free sites, you will need a premium plan for multiple pages on one free site.
WordPress is a feature-packed content management system platform specifically designed for blogging. The WordPress website builder can be extended to do “almost anything you want”. For anyone who is planning to have a serious online business in the near future, WordPress is the way to go.
WordPress free website is feature-rich with features such as search functionality, categorization of content, archiving, comments, analytics, and much more.
The drawback here is that the free WordPress website shows many ads on your free website.
The Mozello website builder is user-friendly and simple. Mozello is a very good free website builder because the free plan offers blogging and eCommerce and multilingual features.
The drawback with Mozello is that your free online store cannot sell more than 10 products and the editor is somewhat limited.
The Wix website builder is easy to use. It comes with a full range of features and gives you a high level of control over the creative design of your site with its drag-and-drop features.
Wix is a globally recognized brand with a presence in over 190 countries. However, the Wix website builder is really not recommended when it comes to using the platform for free.
Additionally, the free websites carry around a sticky advertisement. Monthly traffic limit is another drawback as you are only allocated 500MB per month.
Are free website builders free?
Yes. Free website builders are free to use. This means you can use the website builder service for free. However, the website builder platform owns the content on your free website.
Your free website will come with limitations such as low storage allocation, unwanted advertisements, unprofessional subdomains, and low bandwidth allocation. You will need to upgrade your plan to remove these limitations.