Is there such thing as a free Website? Sure there is. There are also free meals, free gifts, free advice, you name it, but you usually get what you pay for. A Free Website Builder is a good way for someone without any technical skills, to make a Webpage; that is about as far as it goes. Any of the free Website builders that I have come across, have a list of issues worth considering.
Outbound Links to their Website
One of the things that an SEO would notice right away is the “Proudly built by XYZ.COM” in a link at the bottom of every page. Let me briefly explain why this is not an ideal situation. One of the biggest positioning (ranking) factors is inbound links to your Website. Google and the other search engines, use these links to help determine how authoritative your Website / Web page is on a particular subject. The more links and the better quality of those links, the higher you will rank for the subject. When somebody puts a link from your page to theirs, you are effectively dividing the value of that link with any other links, including those on your own Website and especially your home page. Your home page can typically do good in search result as it has all those natural links pointing back to it from the sub pages. Now imagine all the pages sharing 50 percent of their positioning power with other Websites.. So if your free Website has outbound links to the builder site or any other clickable ads, you are handing over your positioning potential to them from the first day you build your Website.
Most of the free Websites have flashing ads attached to every page making them look amateurish and very unprofessional. This can often be fixed by paying monthly fees, but we are talking about the free versions here. Along with a limited choice of templates and control of those templates, you also have to host on a sub-domain of their company making it look even less professional and you cannot use your own costume domain name either.
Free Websites Become Paid Websites
Free Website companies make their money by offering you upgrades. The free version will only allow you to create a few pages and you are often given a small amount of hosting space which limits photo and video uploads. You also may find that you only get a certain number of contacts per month through your contact form.
So the day finally comes when you decide to hire someone to build you a professional Website. Make sure someone puts 301 redirects on that freebie, and pray the site stays up for a while after you do this. If you dont and you reuse any of that content on the new site, you will be shooting yourself in the foot from the “search engine & getting found” point of view. There is a list of lesser search problems also. At the least, see if you can get a domain name and have it pointed to the free hosting / site builder so when this day comes, you still have the domain; one of the highest ranking factors is domain age and by switching domains at the time of the redo, your are basically starting over from scratch.
One of the biggest issues with any Website, free or not, is getting it found in a world that has over 3 billion pages competing for positions. This is not an easy task even for the experienced; where does the person that is putting up content for you fit in? Now I happen to know quite a bit about Websites and how they are found, but I know absolutely nothing about what doctors are experts at. In the case I’m not feeling well, I pay the doctor to do his thing. Same should go for Websites. Naming the URLs, Titles, Headings, Sub Headings, image alternate text, keywords in text matching headings, using keys words that users actually type, are a few of the important factors that help the page position well. This is where Web experience comes in.
If you are just building a small personal Website, then go ahead, just don’t expect great results from something you got for free. If you are going to representing your business, I would recommend steering clear of those do it yourself sites and opt for a professional to handle the work.