Why we don’t do free development anymore

Freelancers-working-for-freeI get ask on a regular basis to do free development for people with various promises of leads and referrals. The one argument is that it does not really cost you anything…………. just a bit of time.

I have been doing web development for quite a while as an independent and that was one of my starting points, will do one two sites for free and get enough spin off business to get this business going fast and furious. The very first site i did was probably the most expensive lesson ever and out of that experience I have learned that there are 6 reasons why I don’t work for free.

Here are my reasons:

The time it consumes

Most people are aware that I can do a website in a very short period of time, and it is then that they ask for a free site. Unfortunately there is always “after sales services” and once you have done a site for free it is expected that will do all the after sales service also for free.  A website is almost a living creature and need constant attention if you want it to work for you, so a quick free website upfront ends up as a lifelong free commitment.

It takes away from paying clients

Every time we do something for free there is a twofold issue that comes to play. The first is it takes time that could have benefited my paying clients. IF it is additional work we could have done for a client to get more value out of their website or if it was research we could have done to serve our clients better but it takes from paying clients.
Then there is the fact that for that period we work for free, and if we did work for a paying client it would have meant more cash that we could have invested in better technology. So every time I do work for free I am basically “stealing” from paying clients

It kills my creativity

Being a web-developer creativity is one of the selling points and every time I get a request for something to be done on a website it may seem that it takes me 30 min to complete the task, yet there are at every turn research to be done, analysis of what would be the optimal route to take, how to integrate it with a current website that it still forms a whole and sometime even discussing with contemporaries in the industry. That consumes a big part of the day that is suddenly unaccounted for not just the 30 min actual coding.

Very few people actually value anything that is for free

Referring back to my very first website I did as a freelance agent, it was for an upcoming female artist. The deal was i would donate a site to help her promote her career in the hopes that it would give me some needed exposure. For one I got no exposure what so ever from the website because her career was going nowhere fast. So as per agreement after the first year I invoiced her for monthly hosting and the reaction, “This site means nothing, why should I pay you for hosting?” The short and sweet of the story is the account was closed, the website deleted and she is still a nobody in the music industry without a website. I have been around for a few years now with a very reasonable paying client base.

It never stops at one request

As I have pointed out above it start with a website and then for the lifetime of the website it is expected that you will do it for free. Change this, add this, delete that, please do this social media integration and so it carries on. From development to hosting and Seo all is expected to happen for free. For a lot of people if you provide a service it does not cost you anything why are you so expensive? Who have heard of the story that plumber is so expensive he charged R450.00 to replace a washer that cost R2.50. Yes you are right, how did he get to your place? Did you fetch him? No, that costed him a fair bit to pay for his vehicle, petrol, maintenance and insurance, did he bring his own tools or did he use yours?  What does his tools cost? Replacement every two years because it gets worn out, his salary, he is also married with kids , kids that must go to school, have medical insurance, and the annual holiday.

It all adds up then suddenly that R450.00 does not sound that expensive any more. The same applies for any service industry, that person doing the job needs to be paid overheads need to be covered and every time a request for free services  comes in somebody get benefit for nothing and somebody else misses an opportunity to offer something better to somebody they love. If it is that easy to replace a R2.50 washer then do it yourself else be prepared to pay somebody what they are worth.

Quality and Reputation

Every time you do work for free there is always the possibility that quality will be sacrificed. You will try and finish the task at hand as fast as possible as it will be in the back of your mind time is money and this time is no money. The quality of the work is then sacrificed and a shoddy website goes out. Who have been on a website that your first reaction was aaaarghhhhhh!? Then next you look at the credits part who did the development and there goes somebodies reputation. The question is was this done for free never comes to mind. So with the absence of quality goes the Reputation flying out of the door.

All web developers are judged by their finished products whether the client paid with a kidney and half a liver for whether he paid with my little sons education, does not matter, all that we are judged on is that website.

If you need website and you respect someone enough to approach then to help you with a one realise their time is valuable. Be realistic about what they offer you. An R500.00 website will look like a R500 website and mostly an R5000.00 will look like a R5000.00 website. You cannot expect class for free, and the old adage goes “you get what you pay for”


To free website or not…….

Q: Why is free web hosting not recommended?

The economic recession has not only affected the financial conditions of the individuals but also a large number of business houses are affected by the same. As a result, businesses are adopting the path of free web hosting as a cost effective option. However, free of cost web hosting looks great only because of the monetary reasons. Adopting the free of cost is not always the best option as far as web hosting is concerned. It may in turn cost a lot to your business in the long run. Further in this article, I have highlighted some main points that will provide an answer to the most debated question of Why Is Free Web Hosting Not Recommended?

Free web hosting services are available especially for those individuals who want to create sites for interests and hobbies. After all, no one prefers to pay monthly fees for the services which are available for free! However, the bitter truth is that free web hosting services are not always free. You may need to pay huge amounts for not selecting paid hosting services. Here is why:

Firstly, you will be given very small disk space to deal with.

When it comes to create personal websites, then free hosting services can be considered. But, the things change when it comes to create commercial websites because the disk space provided by the free hosting provider is not sufficient for the features and files you want to insert in your website.

Secondly, no individual domain name will be provided to you.

Instead, you will be provided with a long domain name which is the sub-domain name of the host. If in case you want to create credibility over internet, then free hosting is not best bet for you especially for e-commerce websites.

Thirdly, server crashes and hosting downtime are the two things associated with free hosting which will leave you behind with frustration.

In free hosting the users will be sharing servers with hundreds of other sites and due to limited bandwidth the user suffers from such problems. In paid hosting services, you will be supported by the customer care and they will keep the server functioning all the time. The tech support will address the downtime issues immediately and also reboot the system for better performance. This type of customer support is not possible with free web hosting.

Fourthly, free web hosting service providers simply disappear.

Yahoo Geocities is the biggest example of a free web hosting company that disappeared after offering hosting services for a few years. When the hosting company disappears, the domain names also disappear along with them. Keeping backups of files or transferring data to another site will not work in such cases because you would not have the similar web address and as a result you have to initiate again from zero. This becomes a frustrating process especially if you have already created a following for your previous website and numerous links. The entire process of gaining search engine rankings will start again from zero and it is simply a time consuming process.

Lastly, all types of pop ups and banner ads will appear on your website through which the free hosting services earn money.

With free hosting services you will not get any domain, therefore the hosting providers are authorized to put all types of banner ads and pop ups on your website to earn money. These ads make your website look unprofessional and also discourage the web traffic.
Now you might have come to know why free web hosting is not recommended. So, rather than wasting your time in free hosting you should invest in paid services.

Why do I really need a Website?

Not so long ago, every household had a Yellow Pages right next to the phone. It was used every day to find services, venues or any information on businesses that you can think off. Every Business had a listing in there.

Things have changed…..Today the Internet is the main Source for information. The internet is now the main advertising platform and is replacing traditional ways of communicating information. Many owners still believe that old traditional advertising methods are sufficient….It is not! People want information instantly, on the go, so it is much easier to quickly look something up on Google ….anywhere, anyplace and on any device. The Internet IS your yellow pages today, if you are not listed (online), then your competitor with a website is going to get the business. Having a website gives credibility to your Business, and people often decide on whether to business with your company on the basis of whether  you have a website or not. Your website is your Brand Ambassador today.

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