Free or Paid Website – Which is Better?

This is a digital world. Everyone can have a blog or site to express their thoughts freely. Though platforms like Facebook offers free pages for creating your content, that’s the last option you should try. Because, the content does not belong to you even though you created it. For example, you can’t download all your content and move on to another platform or publish on your own site. Keeping that in the mind, you have few options for creating your own website.

Related: 5 steps to start your own blog.

Why do I Need a Website?

Depending upon the situation, you may need a website for one of the following reasons:

  • Want to sell your own products online
  • You have a service to offer like web designing
  • Want to express your personal thoughts like dairy writing
  • You want to earn money from your site as a work from home option in your free time.
Creating a Website
Creating a Website

Whether for a profit or non-profit, a website is an owner’s pride neighbor’s envy. It gives you an immense satisfaction when someone gets benefited by reading your article or buying a products from your online store.

Free or Paid Website?

The first question popups in everyone’s mind is how much should I spend to own a site? Well, it’s up to you to decide the budget based on your need. For example, if you want establish an online store, we recommend creating a quality website by spending money. Instead if you are just interested in expressing your thoughts then choose one of the free website builder tools to start with.

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There are 3 basic steps in creating your own website:

  • Registering your site name (called website address)
  • Hosting your site content on the domain you have registered
  • Building your site content using site builder tools
Basic Steps in Owning Your Website
Basic Steps in Owning Your Website

You have multiple service providers both paid as well as free to choose for each of the three steps. You can also combine free and paid services to build your site. Here are the three possible ways that you can think of building your own site:

Site TypeDomain NameSite BuilderWeb HostingService Provider Examples
Completely Free SiteFree Sub-domainFreeFreeBlogger, WordPress.com
Partially Free SitePaidFreeFreeWeebly, Wix, Yola
Fully Paid SitePaidPaidPaidWordPress.org, GoDaddy

1. Completely Free Site

This is the simple and instant way to build your own site without spending a penny from your pocket. There are plenty of free site builder tools available like Weebly, Wix and Blogger. You can evaluate and choose one that suits your requirements. Here are the pros and cons of a free site:

Advantage of a Free Site:
  • Offers simple drag & drop site editor to create your site instantly.
  • Host your site on their server for free.
  • More suitable for a personal site or blog.
Disadvantages of a Free Site:
  • Your site name will be a sub-domain something like “www.yoursitename.weebly.com” (for blogger it will be “https://yoursitename.blogspot.com”).
  • You may need a custom domain for better SEO, advertising and selling a product.
  • With most of the free site builders you will not have a control over root directories of your site.
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Think twice considering your long term plan before deciding to go with a free service provider. One of the reasons is later changing to a custom domain and transferring your complete site will be a difficult task. Especially if you choose a different hosting provider than your current free one.

2. Partially Free Site

This is the ideal option which caters most of the requirements with minimum amount spend. Here you can buy your custom domain for as low as $3 per month from the domain registrars like GoDaddy and iPages. After building and hosting a free site with Wix or Weebly you can just forward it to your custom domain. The search engines will only show your custom domain in the search results and the user as well will only see you custom domain URL.

The disadvantage here is most of the free site builder and hosting providers offer limited options for a free users. For example – a site built with Wix will have a free advertisement message which will show to the users that your site is built with a free site builder. If you have credit card payment gateway integrated with your site, it is obvious no one will opt to transact with your free site, even though the URL shows it as a custom domain. The solution here is to go for an upgraded account in which you can get complete ecommerce features.

In an average you will end up in spending $10 ($3 for domain + $7 for site building) per month for partially free site.

Any Pro account will cost you around $3 to $10 per month and some providers also offer a free domain name along with Pro account for the first year.

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3. Fully Paid Site

These are professional sites ideally built for clients and product selling. Here you need to pay for everything and the more you pay the more features you will get. Domain registration is a common process which will cost around $3 per month but the site building and hosting services are bit costly. You have an option to choose economy and premium services which will cost you around $7 ($3 for building and $4 for hosting) with economy plan and $14 ($7 for building and $7 for hosting) with premium plan per month. For example, you can go for a shared hosting plans with Bluehost or SiteGround to get a good deal.

In an average you need to spend $10 to $20 per month based on the plan you choose for a professional fully paid site.

Bluehost Hosting Banner
SiteGround Hosting Banner

Is Owning a Site Enough?

Well, its not just enough to create a site whether it is free or paid, nowadays a website has to do the following things really well to survive in the web:

  • Get more qualified traffic from a quality content.
  • Converting the traffic into a profitable sales or advertising revenue.
  • Build your own brand by leveraging social medias.
  • Optimized for search engines and outperform its competition.

90% of the websites are just built and disappear on the web over the period of time. Build your own site and be a part of the remaining 10% of winning sites.

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