​What does a FREE website really cost you?

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Ways to get a website made for FREE and the pitfalls that come with the price tag.
Obviously, we design and develop websites so let’s get that initial bias out of the way and off the table. No matter what your reason is you have thought to yourself at some point or another “hummm, how can I get a website made for free?” and let’s be honest, no one can blame you for it.

It’s in our consumerist nature to seek out the most cost effective ways to get what we want, however you have to remember cheap and free always come with a price.

Let’s discover what some of those are and maybe give you some ways to make sure your dream website gets made either for free or cheap.

Oh and before we move forward, there is one tiny winy thing we should mention…We here at Serious Monkey don’t take on free website development but it’s not the end of the world…we’ll tell you why.
So here are few scenarios that may or may not apply to you, but I think I’ve covered most of the typical situations.

  1. You’re a business owner who just isn’t making enough money to invest in the cost of a new website or you just don’t think it’s worth the investment.
  2. You have a brilliant new website idea or product idea; however you have no capital funds to put towards the initial investment.
  3. You don’t think you need anyone to make your new website, because you’re a do-it-yourselfer.

If you don’t fall into any of these scenarios…I’d be interested in hearing which one you are a part of, however for now we will just cover these 3 since I don’t have a lifetime to speculate and I’m sure you want me to move on to the answers portion of this article. Without further ado…

You’re a business owner and sales have been a little slower this year. This may be because of the economy, maybe your old website is causing more harm than good, or you just don’t think that investing in your online presence is worth it. Either way you want a FREE website and here are some ways to get it.

  1. Invest in students.

Yuppers, that’s right I said STUDENTS. Now you may be thinking ‘but I want my site to be perfect and I can’t have some kid messing around with my brand’. You can mitigate the risk of this happening by seeing what other work they’ve done and deciding for yourself  if you can afford to take the chance of them ‘messing’ up your brand or not.

Now days a tech savvy highschooler can pull together a wordpress website, so find one that will do it for you, just for the experience or testimonial.  Oh and a word of advice, the older the student the more you can expect to either be turned down or expected to pay but hey, it’s always worth the ask.

  1. Your business needs a new partner.

This may sound really scary, however you must consider how much scarier it will be to have to close up after all of your hard work over the years. This is not as clear cut and dry as finding a website developer who is A) Qualified and B) Willing, and asking them to partner with you. You have to be sure to ask yourself the following basic questions like, how much of my company am I willing to give over to this person? What happens if nobody wants to partner with me? Will I be able to deal with the potential of failure?

Now that you have all of those questions sorted out, it’s time to find Mr or Mrs Right. Here are a few ways to find people that are willing to work ‘for FREE’ with a partnership deal.

Find your sweet spot- Take an introverted look at why someone should partner with you and make it your mantra. If your answer isn’t about you or your company then think about who your company impacts and make it about them. Ie. Partnering with me will help the children at our local schools continue to afford high quality backpacks.

Network Daily- Most people don’t want to admit they are on the lookout for partners because they feel like it might be seen as a weakness or failure, however just remember that closing up shop is a greater failure and you can always just say it’s because you want to GROW your business (which isn’t lying).

Be Interesting- Sounds simple enough, yet most people completely overlook this part. Would you partner with a company that is boring? Maybe if they are making a good profit (to which you’re most likely not because you need/want a free website).  Either way your excitement might be the deciding factor in your potential partners decision, so be enthusiastic for gosh sake or consider another career.

  1. Realize your own potential, or at least your employees potential.

Another way to get what you want for ‘Free’ is finding out if Jack in Marketing can build the new website. You’ll never know what your employees are capable of unless you ask. You can even make it a contest in the office…find me a website developer. (Obviously if the website you want to make is uber complicated, this might be not your best bet, especially if your employees have a hard enough time turning of the alarm system in the morning.)

Moving On…let’s discuss scenario 2.

You have a brilliant new website idea or product idea, but alas like most start up ideas the dough hasn’t yet risen. What to do, what to do… Let’s see how a brand new concept can attract the right kind of web developer to get a ‘FREE’ website made.

  1. Don’t ever stop talking.

This may seem scary because you think that someone might LOVE your new idea, then steal it out from under you, however it is often the ‘silence’ that kills startups. By keeping your new idea hidden from everyone around you, essentially you are suffocating opportunities. If your new idea or product is revolutionary, then by all means pay to get a patent registration BEFORE you start looking at marketing avenues.

  1. Pitch it to the Pros.

This often arises naturally if you follow option number one, however you can also find innovation and pitch nights in your local communities. If you don’t know where to look, then asking computer tech people to point you in the right direction is always more favorable than searching for years and years. One thing you might find is that some web development firms will take you on pro-bono if they think your new idea has merit. Obviously this will often come with either profit sharing or some form of partnership, but hey, at least you’re getting the pros.

  1. GRANT my wish.

This is often the most complicated way of getting a ‘Free’ website; however you might also get more than you expect for your troubles. Check around your local small business centers or your city departments to see if anyone knows of any grants that might be available, or you can always just leave it to Google to find you that hidden chunk of start-up change. Either way they will take a while and you’ll most likely have to do a ton of paperwork, but hey that’s the cost of having someone else support your dream.

Finally the finale…let’s discuss scenario 3.

You’re a do-it-yourselfer, and you can easily pull together a website with minimal or no real costs. Great! You’ve got gumption kid. Now here are some quick D-I-Y tips you should keep in mind if you are adventurous enough to try this out.

Tip #1 – Basic hosting and domain purchases often cost something, so try and get the best deals out there. Maybe you already have a hosting account and can just add a new website to it with no additional cost? Maybe you can find a godaddy discount code? Either way be frugal and diligent after all you are about to invest some huge time and effort into building a new site, so save where you can!

Tip #2- Limit those sleepless nights. If you are going to make this website in your off hours be sure to make a commitment to sleep. Seriously, you don’t want your afterhours hobby to make you the next on the chopping block at work because you’re too tired to work like a normal human being. Spread out the work over months so it’s not as painful for your work or family life.

Tip #3- Know when to quit. This will be the best tip I can give any D-I-Yer no matter what industry you’re in. Simply put, if your website is too complicated at some point you should just call in the pros and maybe re-read the previous scenarios to see how the finally get the website you want for ‘FREE’.

Final Words of Wisdom

Well it’s time we part ways, however I hope you’ve learned some valuable insights and remember one thing; Creating a website for ‘free’ can be a tricky task, however if you are determined enough, you can always find someone who’s willing to take on the chore. Just remember that FREE can end up costing you more than you expect.

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