Should you use a “free” website builder?

Because we are professional web designers I expect that you would think that our answer to the question “Should I use a free website builder” would be a massive “NO!” but you would be wrong…

It all boils down to what you want your website for and what you want it to do for you and your business?

The number 1 problem with all the free website building tools we have seen so far is that websites created with them do not rank well in Google and other search engines – so as long as you are happy with this then great…

There are some very good website building tools on the web (think or GoDaddy website builder etc) which can produce some stunning looking web pages if you are willing to learn the system and put some effort in… But they are shockingly bad when it comes to getting anything like decent results in the search engines.

So why are free website builder pages so bad when it comes to being ranked by Google etc?

There are a number of reasons – here are just a few (in no particular order)

  • They are generally slow – Google loves FAST web pages… it wants it’s users to have the best experience so a fast loading web page is a good experience whereas a slow loading page is not. The reason why website builder pages are slow is a combination of factors including bloated code, the loading of shared resources such as Javascript and CSS (which are shared with other sites that are using the same builder / template) and geographical location of the sites and resources.
  • Shared code – Google doesn’t like “duplicate content” – that is content that is repeated either across pages of the same site or pages across multiple sites and because when you build your website with a website builder you are using the same template as potentially hundred of thousands of other pages on the same system your content can “look” very much the same as all the other websites using the same template. Couple this with the “bloated code” I mentioned above and you can find that the code behind your web page can be up to 95% the same as other pages that people have created. (not good)

You should also be aware that most of the “free” systems out there are not totally “free” – they have hidden charges so make sure you check out their pricing for “extra’s” before jumping in!


So in summary – should you use a free website builder to build your business website?

If you just want a nice looking website so you can paint the web address on the side of your van then yes – by all means they are cheaper than paying web designers like us to build you something bespoke BUT if you want people to find you via search engines for anything other than your business name then…. No, we wouldn’t advise it (at least not right now)

Have you tried to build your own website using one of these website builder systems? Let us know how you got on in the comments below and if you tried and failed or are just fed up with not ranking in the search engines with your “free” website and want something more professional then drop us an email and let us know – we’ll even discount the price!



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