The Hidden Costs of a Free Website

"Coin Jar" (Photo by mwiththeat)
02.27.2013By

"Coin Jar" (Photo by mwiththeat)

Did you know there are hidden costs that come with a free website?

Lately I’ve been chatting a few small nonprofits about converting their current website (built for free by a friendly volunteer) to WordPress. These conversations usually start with exploring what they think is broken, how their current site performs, how effective it converts, and what websites they admire and why.

The apologies usually begin as we take a peek at their website which–as already mentioned–was built for free.

Free Handcuffs

Free fits nicely into the short-term budget, but can wreak havoc on your long-term strategy for a number of reasons:

  • — Free websites never look as beautiful as you envisioned. You look past the slightly dated or mediocre design elements, but is free worth the potential negative impact on your brand?
  • — Free websites rarely incorporate your organization’s goals. When your weekend HMTL warrior friend offered to build it, he probably didn’t ask for your marketing strategy, or long-term online fundraising goals.
  • — Free websites don’t include training on how to manage and update content, which means now you’re not even able to do your job correctly!

It’s an awkward position to be in, isn’t it.

Now what?

Pay for someone to do it right.

Once you do this, you enter an equal and fair relationship with someone who can actually help you.

Take off the free handcuffs.

  • Mandy L.

    There are groups in some cities, such as TechBridge (in the Atlanta area) which is a non-profit organization that leveragesntechnology to empower the non-profits that impact the community. It’s worth looking around. Hey, posting a volunteer opportunity on VolunteerMatch and similar websites asking for someone to do this on a volunteer basis could help also.