Free websites vs. the Professionals. It's not even close!
18th February 2012
... Comments


Bad websites. We've all seen them.

Nothing's perfect of course, as thebestof's own national site found out when thousands of people entering our 14 Days of Love competition caused an overload.

But there's no real excuse for bad design.

Freebie websites

You know the sites I'm talking about. They usually involve the word "free". There's no such thing as a free lunch, and this certainly applies to the information super highway.

DIY packages might cost nothing financially but in terms of time spent creating them... a huge chunk out of your working day, I bet.

What's your time worth an hour?

I asked that to a client who'd built his own website. "£20 an hour," was the reply. How long did your website take to build all in all? After working it out, he was quite surprised to find it was about 100 hours.

So that's £2,000. And I know a load of great Shropshire web designers who could do a top professional site for less than that.

Do you know what you want a website for?

Is there too much pressure on a business to have a website? Or is a bad DIY site better than having no site at all? I'd have to say NOOOO! Have a nicely designed and easy-to-navigate site with a clear call-to-action or none at all.

If a potential customer's first impression of your business is a site with no imagery or poor imagery, typos every where, no 'About Us' section, fuzzy layout... do you think they'll buy off you?

What do you want your website to do for you? This is KEY. Perhaps a regularly updated and engaging Facebook page would be enough for you. No cost, and minimal time. Some of my clients don't have their own website but simply direct potential customers to their page on There's always alternatives.

Website checklist

Here's what I reckon, in no particular order:

  • Looks simple and clean
  • Nice images
  • Easy to navigate
  • Easy to find (SEO)
  • Clear call-to-action, e.g. 'Click here for our free newsletter'
  • 'About Us' - put a face to the business, especially if you're independent
  • Have a CMS site so you can update it yourself
  • Blog once a month and position yourself as an expert in your field



Just my tuppence worth.

I know budgets are tight for everyone but it's surprising how many affordable yet professional web designers there are around.

One last thing - always get a LOCAL web designer. Someone you can sit down with. If something goes pear shaped later on, you don't want to be leaving messages for a web company up in Edinburgh just because they were a few pounds cheaper. I've seen it happen.


About the Author

Emma R

Member since: 10th July 2012

That's our team, L-R Emma, Louise and Andy. We run thebestof and our sister marketing company, Key 3 Media. With over 40 years' combined marketing experience, we help promote local businesses through our...

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