You might wonder why anyone would pay for a website when free website builders exist. If you need even the most basic functionality and want to be taken seriously as a business, free sites just won’t cut it
When first starting a business, it can be tempting to cut corners to keep costs down, though there’s a difference between being frugal and taking shortcuts. Early on in your business, clients can be hard to come by. You don’t want to give them any reason to hesitate or say no. Yes, free websites do exist, but at a huge cost.
With Virtualcopia, you not only get functionality and a high-quality branded site for a great price, you can also develop a highly marketable skill for personal or professional use down the road by learning Divi to customize your own site. We can and would be happy to design a bespoke site for you, but if you have any technical savvy and the time, you can tailor-make most of your site yourself and save money, while keeping all of the functionality and look of a highly professional website.
“When first starting a business, it can be tempting to cut corners to keep costs down, though there’s a difference between being frugal and taking shortcuts.”
Beyond that, when you choose Virtualcopia, you are automatically granted access to our tools, resources and business community. We’re nurturing a community of people just like yourself, learning together and sharing experiences and solutions to hurdles they’ve encountered along the way.
Yes, this sounds a little like a sales pitch, but it’s true— we have a lot more to offer than a free website builder. We’re not for everybody, but our website packages are an incredible deal, including everything you need to manage your business. We’re a small company that doesn’t want to sell to everyone— we want to remain focused on the freelancer and online service provider industry to give the best service possible to the clients we serve.
But I digress…
Let’s look at what we offer over the average free website when it comes to business sites (or personal ones, for that matter).
What’s Included in Virtualcopia Memberships
Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll sacrifice when you opt for a free website business versus a premium:
- Bring your Custom Domain Name
- No Ads or 3rd Party Branding
- Online payments
- On-site contract signing
- The Collective community
- Tools and templates
- Hosting and maintenance
- Optional website customization
- Copywriting guide
It’s the little details that make up a whole brand. With a Virtualcopia site, your domain name is yours. Whatever you choose (assuming it’s available, naturally), you get to have it without adding the website builder’s name inserted in it. For example, a free site domain name for us through Wix would be www.wix.virtualcopia.com. It looks cheap and unprofessional.
Free website builders run ads for themselves on your site. Again, it just does not look good. When most people visit sites that are peppered with ads they tend to move on. In fact, we don’t put our name on your site at all—no matter what plan you’re on.
Free builders limit your site storage to mere megabytes, meaning you won’t be able to host much in the way of media (picture, videos). Even your design graphics will be fairly limited.
That’s right—free website builders limit free sites’ bandwidth, meaning that when someone tries to visit your site, it will be a slow and sluggish experience. All the research shows that you have only seconds to keep a visitor from bouncing to another site, and speed plays a huge role in that. Don’t let a free website builder throttle your success.
You cannot accept online payments through free website builders. You need to sign up for at least the $27 per month tier on both Wix and Squarespace to get access to this feature. We’re excited to teach our members how to easily integrate payment processing into their sites, with no additional fees from us.
On-site contract signing
As a freelancer or online service provider you will often find the need to have new clients sign a contract, and e-signing is how it’s usually done. No one has time to print out a contract, mail it, have it mailed back. Online contract signing is essential, and is something that no other website builder has, even at the paid tiers. Our Business Ascension Plan allows you to generate PDFs of signed contracts for added professionalism.
Built-in scheduling is another essential feature for many freelancers and online service providers. Choose your availability and let your client select the slot that works for them—all on your website.
The Collective Community
Getting a site from Virtualcopia automatically gives you access to our business collective. We’re building a community of like-minded business owners just like you. Our business collective lets you source solutions and ideas through a collaborative approach with others who have been there before.
Tools and templates
Additionally, Collective members get access to helpful templates for their business use, such as:
- contract templates, which typically run around $350 if sourced elsewhere
- Our Virtualbooks accounting app. Quickbooks charges $15 per month for similar usage
- A links page with the ability to collect emails, phone numbers, and payment buttons included, which would normally run you $9+ per month.
Hosting and maintenance
Even a custom designed website has to be hosted on a server and vigilantly maintained for security and smooth updates and plug-in upkeep. While you may find super cheap hosting, it comes at a cost. We perform backups and maintenance on every Virtualcopia member website. In most cases the cheapest of these services will run you $25 per month elsewhere.
Optional website customization
We’ll happily collect your content and customize your website for you, usually within a day of you submitting your content. We also offer bite-sized customization appointments if you just need a little help. Most website builders don’t offer any customization service.
All of our templates are built with copy prompts. Each header will suggest what you might want to say, as do all paragraphs and sections. If still feel stuck when writing your copy check out our Creative Copywriting Guide. It gives colorful suggestions for headings, subheadings, and section introductions.
“Yes, free websites do exist, but at a huge cost.”
Let’s talk Divi…
Our clients (and ourselves!) use the Divi builder to construct our websites. It is an extremely powerful builder that lets you easily make just about any design you can imagine. If you’re even a tiny bit tech savvy, you can learn Divi in a short amount of time and be customizing to your heart’s content.
We have tutorials on the basics to get your site up and running. The Divi community is massive and you can bring just about any visual idea to life with it— just a bit of googling and you’ll likely find answers. If you can dream it, you can build it with Divi.
A bonus feature is that by learning Divi, you’ll be acquiring another highly valuable and marketable skill; one more tool in the toolshed to offer your clients.
If you ever get stuck or just want to turn it over to the pros, we’re here for you. Virtualcopia can always step in and help out for a reasonable price, though we expect most of our clients who are trying to keep their costs down will be able to manage Divi. That’s exactly why we chose it as our build platform. You won’t get that sort of help with a free website builder.
In the end, a free website builder isn’t necessarily free. In fact, nothing is truly free in this world. Don’t let the lure of “free” cost you a portion of your potential business.
Matthew Ogden is a Minneapolis-based copywriter and content writer and editor. He’s written for national retailers and lobster roll companies alike. When not writing he can be found nose deep in a book, writing and performing music, or nerding out about guitar tone.