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    Comprehensive SEO SEPT 21, 2013  

    Free Website Offers

    Recently, there have been numerous ad campaigns claiming free websites, builders or hosting. How does a person get a free website? How can the company make money if the service is free? What’s the catch? These are some of the points that would immediately raise concerns. Not just one, but several services make the claim to build a free website or other offers of services that are free of charge. When a consumer hears about a free offer, the first reaction is usually to check its legitimacy, quality and reliability. Since there are several services that make these offers, there’s little use in focusing on just one of them. Amongst the different services and offers, there are some common factors between many of them and how they operate. All of the services and offers can’t be covered, but there are things to look for.

    Is it just a sales pitch?

    To have a website online you will need a few things. A domain name, template (unless you already have one made), hosting, website builder (a way to manage your content and website) not to mention tools for additional individual purposes such as an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), business applications and more. Improving technology is making these products less expensive and easier to use. Templates are less expensive and offer many varieties capable of specific business tasks. A domain name is around ten dollars or so (yearly) and hosting is approximately ten dollars (monthly). These prices can vary from service to service. Companies offering free websites generally offer all of these services, but all are not free. Building you a website can entail a template to fit your business, and some other services, but not all may be initially mentioned about hosting or a multitude of other products that are not free. The offer for a free website begins to resemble a discount. The free template and some other bits and pieces may be free, but other products are recommended or even necessary. For example: Get a free website when you sign up for our hosting services (which requires a monthly fee). Another example is a membership plan. If you sign up with us for a fee, you will get a free website, hosting, site builder and so on. Thereafter, additional products and services can be added for a fee such as various apps, analytics, SSL certificates and more.

    Are these scams or just a marketing ploy?

    Once again, there are many companies that make these offers and an all inclusive answer will likely be less than accurate. However, there are things to watch out for. In most if not all cases, you may be required to provide your credit card information. If it's free, why is there a credit card required? What am I liable for? Are there any recurring charges? What is their refund policy? There are important questions to ask and look into. If there is a customer support phone number, call them and ask some tough questions you may have later about your website. A Better Business Bureau BBB rating check can help and is free. Whether accredited through the BBB or not, you can still see customer complaints filed and how many. It is difficult to tell how reliable reviews from other sources are, but it may be worthwhile to check.

    Take a proactive approach and look through what you will be signing up for. As the old saying goes, there's nothing free! Are the costs less or more than average when compared to other services? How's the customer support? How scalable are the sites/templates? How much are you saving at the end of building website on your own? If you are serious about your business idea's success, is this the service for you? Compare the cost of a professionally optimized website to the one you will be creating on your own, not to only include the cost and time, but its effectiveness online.

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