It’s easy as a small business to see the allure of a free website template. After all, you may not have a graphic design or web design budget and could be relying on multitasking employees for internet marketing opportunities and search engine optimization tasks.
If you really can’t afford to have professional web designers create your own website and you have to rely on websites like WordPress and Wix, that’s fine. But you should know how to navigate the world of free templates.
Why free websites have drawbacks
A free website is usually frowned upon in the business world because potential customers and clients can easily tell when a website is free compared to those that are custom designed. For instance, up to 57% of customers say they’ll fail to recommend a business after having a bad experience with a poorly designed mobile website. A free website template may be great for the computer, but you can’t be sure it’ll be great on mobile.
Free websites also tend to have the following:
- Stock photos
- Simple and unattractive layouts
- Common designs or backgrounds
- Unattractive font choices
Essentially, free web templates are frowned upon because they’re too cookie-cutter for most customers. The design can appear lazy, which can result in negative feedback from customers. However, you don’t need to avoid using these free websites. You just have to be smart about using them.
How to use a free website and make it look like your own
Using search engine optimization to gain web traffic isn’t enough to get customers to stay on your website. You need to alter your website enough so that it looks unique. There are three key things that you can do to get rid of the classic cookie-cutter appearance that comes with most traditional free websites:
- Add your logo
- Get rid of stock photos
- Play with the HTML
In order to make a website look personalized, you need to add your logo to the header and other pages. Don’t make it too big or else it’ll look odd, but don’t make it too small either. You want your customers to know who you are and to know this is your website, not a free template.
Get rid of any stock photography or drawings that may come with the website. Sure, they may look nice, but your customers have probably seen them a thousand times before on other free webpages. Get rid of them and replace them with photos of your employees, your place of business, or designs from your own company.
Finally, if you understand the basics of coding or one of your employees does, mess around with simple parts of the HTML. Don’t change everything or else your web page may look bizarre. But change it enough so it looks like your own website. Provide simple backlinks while you’re at it to build on your search engine optimization.
Using a free website can be a great investment when you can’t afford much as a small business. However, because free websites often look common and dull, it’s your job as a business to spice it up a little and make it look unique and custom-fit to your business.
When it comes down to it, hiring web designers will always be your best bet. Deprigo can both design and optimize your website with a strong, individualized digital marketing campaign. Call us today!