On the face of it, it’s easy to consider drag-and-drop site builders as free to use, especially with a number of big-name brands like Wix, Weebly, and Webs all focussing the majority of their marketing efforts on their free website plans.
Yet that doesn’t account for the fact that there are costs involved in using both methods of building a website, especially if you need a powerful, professional web presence to promote your business, your organization, or yourself as an individual.
The disadvantages of free websites
With web builders such as the aforementioned Wix and Weebly, most of the free plans allow you to use all the professionally designed templates, dynamic tools, and add-on widgets you like, albeit with the compromise that you’ll have the company’s branding featured somewhere on your page and be forced to use a subdomain on their main website, such as mysite.weebly.com.
Whilst this may not a problem for small, personal or hobby sites, it’s hardly ideal for a professional business for three main reasons:
1) mysite.weebly.com is more difficult for your customers to remember than mysite.com
2) Websites with their own hosted domain name typically fare better in Google search results than those using a free address
3) A free website could put customers off. Think about it this way; if you’re advertising the fact that you weren’t prepared to invest in something as simple as a proper domain name, what’s to say you’re going to invest in delivering quality products or services?
With that in mind, those of you looking to attract customers and really make a success of your new website will be far better off investing in a premium plan with your web builder of choice.
These typically range from just a few pounds per month up to £50 per month, depending on both the company itself and the type of plan you invest in.
Which is the cheapest website builder?
Having delved into the prices of many top website builders, I’d currently recommend Wix as your cheapest option for both connecting a proper domain name and removing the company’s branding from your website.
This plan will set you back £6 per month, compared to the £9 per month for a similar package offered by Weebly.
For the sake of comparison, here’s the costs of similar packages offered by other top website builders.
- Squarespace Personal Plan: £10 per month
- GoDaddy website builder: £6.99 per month
- Webs.com – £5.99 per month
Domain name costs
The good news is that for the first year, the recommended Weebly plan, along with Wix and Webs, all offer a year’s free domain registration, lowering the overall cost of your package and presenting an affordable opportunity to launch your online business with a limited budget.
After that, however, you’ll be asked to pay between £6.99 and £12 per year to keep your domain name active, on top of the existing costs of running your website package.
As any online entrepreneur will likely tell you, online stores come with different requirements than your typical brochure or news website. Added security for safe, secure transactions, coupled with the technical requirements for processing those transactions all mean that your typical low-level paid plan just won’t cut it if your eCommerce site is to be a success.
This is where Wix actually comes into their own.
At the time of writing, the company’s eCommerce plan would set you back £16 per month.
Compare this to the £18 per month deal from Weebly, and especially the £30 per month plan currently offered by eCommerce web builder, Shopify, and I’m sure you’ll agree that Wix comes out the king of low-cost online store builders.