While we will always recommend a custom web site over a free template, we understand that sometimes faith has been damaged by other companies who failed to deliver or choosing the best value simply isn't in the budget at the time, which is why we offer both services to get you moving forward.
The most common mistake small businesses make is choosing a platform (like Weebly) to start with. The problem with platforms like this is that their own branding is advertised and littered throughout your website.
When a potential customer has to go to "yourbrand.weebly.com" to learn more about you, the only impression you are giving is that you are not a reliable or credible business. This is no way to overcome that initial trust issue... instead you're only pushing potential customers away to your competitors.
On the other hand, custom web design (including a real domain address personalized to fit your brand) focuses on building trust first and foremost.
While it might seem easier for your brand to use a free website builder, those types of template websites usually hurt you more than they help. You might think you're saving money by choosing an alternative to custom web design, but an effective website shouldn't just cost money... it should make money for you.
Skipping over a few more mistakes, there is one that you might be making without realizing.
In fact, this is something you might have even paid a web designer to do without realizing. Building a website on a free content management system (CMS) and using a free generic template might give the impression of a custom web design. Depending on the theme, you can add your own logo, change the colors, and personalize the header.
However, there is nothing custom about this type of web design because it's not unique or original. More importantly, free templates and plugins have poor support and pose a security risk.
Rather than working with the limitations of a cookie cutter template, custom web design focuses on your brand first and then puts the pieces together around the elements that make you unique. Your brand is more than a logo and colors. It's your message, and the voice you use to express it. It's your audience, and the reason they choose you over other options available.
Custom web design focuses on value in results, not value in cutting costs. However, it does not have to be expensive. If you work with a reputable developer, they are always committed to providing custom web design services that fit each of your unique goals and limitations... including budget.