Well, it depends on what you are looking for. It’s great that they hardly have any restrictions on the free plan in terms of features and templates. On desktop computers, they place a pretty visible ad at the top of your website that is sticky (i.e. it will stay even when you start scrolling the page). Fortunately, on mobile phones, it far less visible and also not sticky. To use your own custom domain name, you’ll need the Combo plan at least, which is $11 per month.
These services can host your content on their servers free of charge, but in exchange for that zero cost, your online destination will have a less-than-elegant domain, such as jeffreylwilson.tumblr.com. That might be fine for a personal blog, but it will look too low-rent for a business that wants people to trust it enough to pay for whatever it's selling.
Thanks for sharing your experiences with BigCommerce with us! That's awesome and I'm glad you're having a great time and getting great support from their team! I also heard that they are working on their own native Point of Sale system. I'm not entirely sure when it will be released, but hopefully soon. Shopify has their own POS system, which integrates smoothly with an online store built with their software. For those who are curious about BigCommerce, take a look at this discussion here. Thanks again for sharing and adding to this discussion! Jeremy
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It’s not all good news with a free site, however. When it comes to publishing it, you’ll likely have to put up with adverts from your website builder of choice along the side, which won’t make your site look as professional. You’ll also be missing out on some really useful features which could make your website better for your users, help make you more money, or give you more exposure.
Thanks for the article Jermey. I was looking into making a site that serves dual functions. I wanted to create an entertainment news site that also functions as an online business. I purchased a subscription with godaddy for an online shop, but the templates are pretty bland and the customization is dreadful. Is there a site you could recommend for something like that?
If you want an easier option, that does exist. WordPress.com is an externally hosted version of the software, meaning you can create an account online, upload what you’d like to site, and publish it immediately. No downloads, no learning curve. It still offers a good amount of customization, and it’s available without the need for any kind of coding knowledge.
If you think this website’s design (right) looks like it might be out of your league, you’ll be pleased to know it’s only a few clicks away! It was one of Wix’s 500+ template options, and if, for example, the orange background isn’t quite to your liking, you can completely reconfigure the design. If you’re planning on using this website for an existing business, you can also upload any logos or adapt designs to fit your current branding.
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