Need a website but don’t have a single penny to spend on it? In this guide we’ll explore how you can create a website for free and look at some of the common pitfalls associated with free websites.
Pros and cons of a free website
- Allows you to get an online presence quickly and easily
- Many top-end website builder packages offer a free option
- Can be easy to move to a paid package and expand your site
- Free website builders offer limited functionality
- Probably won’t be able to use a custom domain name as your site’s address (instead, its address is likely to be something like examplesitename.example.com)
- Support can be limited on free plans
- People might not trust your site
Now, on balance these cons might seem to heavily outweigh the pros, but if you’re looking to get online quickly and without spending anything then there are ways to get a good, if basic, website for free.
Here are the steps you’ll need to follow to get a free website, along with the things you need to look for when choosing a provider.
1 Find a free website builder
If you want to launch a free website, you’ll need to find a free website builder. A free website builder should provide you with free hosting, free templates which you’ll use to design your site and a web address for your site.
The first step to finding a free website builder that works for you is to draw up a list of features you want your website to have. You can then use this list to make sure you pick the right website builder for your needs.
However, you will need to be realistic about the features you want your free website to have. Don’t expect a free website builder to offer high-level features such as ecommerce functionality.
Once you’ve got your list of features, you can begin hunting for a free website builder.
A Google search is a good place to start and it should provide you with the details of a range of free website builders along with reviews and articles about the companies behind them. (GoDaddy Websites + Marketing allows you to build a starter website for free.)
When considering which provider to go with, make sure you conduct research into the company to confirm that they’re reputable. Look at reviews and keep an eye out for complaints about website downtime or other issues.
2 Create your site using a template
Once you’ve found a free website builder that meets your needs, the next step will be to design your site using one of the free templates on offer.
This should be a fairly straightforward step as most website builders now use a “drag and drop” interface also known as a “what you see is what you get” editor.
That means you don’t need to know any coding to get your website up and running.
However, if you think you may need help to set up and run your free website, you should make sure that the service provider you opt for offers support.
You’ll also need to add relevant content to your site. This means words and images that relate to you, your business, or the organization you represent.
As a bare minimum you’ll need a homepage, which gives an overview of who you are and what you do, an “about me/us” page, which goes into more detail on who you are and what you do, and details of how people can contact you.
Note: If you’re worried you may not be able to build a free site on your own, then you could let the GoDaddy Guides build your starter site for you for free. Just give us a call on 020 7023 9020.
3 Publish and promote your site
Once you’ve created your site, the only thing that’s left to do is publish and promote it.
As we’ve already explained, a free website isn’t as easy to promote as a paid-for site but at the very least a free website will act as a place where people can find out more about you and what you do.
4 Consider upgrading to a paid-for site
Although your free website will provide a good starting place for your online journey, if you want to expand your site and add new features, you’ll likely need to upgrade to a paid-for site.
If you do have plans to expand your site, you should make sure that the free website provide you go with offers a smooth process for switching to a paid-for website. Check this before you create your free site.
For example, GoDaddy makes it easy to switch to upgrade to a paid plan if you choose to launch you site on our free plan.
There may also be other factors to consider when upgrading to a paid-for site. For example, the address of your website is likely to change (because you’ll probably want to move over to a custom domain name). You’ll need to update every mention of your website address to reflect the change.
You’ll also need to add any extra features to your newly upgraded site and this may mean adding new pages with new content.
A free website is a great way to get online without spending anything. Although there are drawbacks to having a free site, if you choose a reputable provider which offers you an easy way to upgrade your site when you need to, then it’s a great way to get started.