5 Website Builders That Let You Connect A Custom Domain For Free
When you buy a package plan from a website builder, you usually get the option to add a custom domain. Having a custom domain URL is essential in establishing a professional look for your company’s brand, but it can be costly for someone who is just getting started.
Fortunately, there are five website companies that will let you connect your custom domain for free. Simply sign up for the free website builder plan, then enter the domain you purchased for anywhere between $1 and $20 per year into the domain section of the website.
Each website builder will provide additional instructions to ensure that your custom domain attributes are correctly routed to your free plan page. The five website builders are Big Cartel, Shift4Shop, Branch Bob, Convert Kit, and Google Sites.
1. Big Cartel
Big Cartel is an e-commerce website builder that offers a variety of features like theme layouts with no coding, tracking of shipments, automated sale tax calculations for your ecommerce site, real time statistics on orders, and integration of third party apps like print on demand merchants. More importantly they allow you to connect a custom domain name without purchasing a plan.
The downside of Big Cartel’s free plan is that you are only allowed to sell up to 5 products. If you want to sell more than 5 products their plans start at $9.99 a month to sell 50 products, and $19.99 a month to sell 500 products. It only has limited integrations with social media and other service platforms but this free plan is still a steal deal for a small business owner of someone just getting started.
Shift4Shop is an eCommerce website builder that allows you access to everything for free as long as you reside in the United States. You are allowed to sell unlimited products, manage inventory, add a custom domain, add discounts, have a checkout, connect to other sales channels like Amazon, print-on-demand merchants, obtain dropshipping support, and more all with no charge whatsoever.
Anyone outside of the US that wants to use Shift4Shop as their website builder must pay $29 a month for all features listed. This website builder is for those who plan to be long time business owners.
BranchBob is an eCommerce platform that allows you to sell unlimited digital and physical products, connect your domain for free, support multiple currencies, integrate social media platforms and Google Analytics tools, automate orders, emails and invoices, and it comes with an SSL certificate.
The downside of BranchBob is that the theme designs are basic and limited for adding code and they don't have many integrations for those who want to connect to third-party apps like print-on-demand companies. Also, Branchbob will include their company’s logo in the footer of your website. If you are looking to remove Branch Bob’s logo, their subscription cost $9.99 a month.
ConvertKit free plan allows unlimited forms, website pages, email broadcasts, custom domain name connection, and unlimited selling of digital subscriptions and products.
Convertkit plans are based in how many subscribers you have for your website. You are allowed to stay on the three lowest plans as long as you stay within 300 subscribers a month. The prices for 300 subscribers are $0 a month, $9 a month or $25 a month. It all depends on which features you need within each package plan.
Prices above 300 subscribers varies as well. For example, the increase can range from $25 a month to $50 a month for 1,000 subscribers and $41 a month to $66 a month for 3,000 subscribers. The main difference between each package plan is the automation tools, third party integrations, referral systems and advance reporting. So if those features are not important to you, Convertkit can be the website builder for you.
The downside of the ConvertKit free plan is you can't sell physical products, it doesn’t grant access to any integrations or other integration services and it adds the company’s brand watermark to your website.
GoogleSites simplified website builder is one hundred percent free. It comes with a few layouts, the ability to make a few pages, and offers a connection to a custom domain for no additional charge. Its builder is built around the idea that less is more to ensure functionality on all screens and devices. It can connect to most Google apps like Maps, Calendar, Charts, etc.
The downside of GoogleSites is it does not offer a blog, or any e-commerce feature, only connects to apps made by Google, and has limited customization features.
If you don't like any of these websites listed you can use your custom domain on any website builder with a free plan by forwarding your URL Domain to the website link the website builder gave you.
For example: If your custom domain is HowCanIHelpYou.com and you are using the free plan of a website builder like Weebly, Wix, or WordPress. Your free domain links might look like this:
You can get your custom domain forwarded to any of these links for free by managing the DNS settings in your Domain provider.
Just go where you purchased your custom domain, in this case, we will pretend (HowCanIHelpYou.com) was purchased at Godaddy.com.
Then go into Godaddy’s Manage DNS Settings and look for the section that says “Forward Domains” and enter your free website builder link, in this case (howcanihelpyou.wordpress.com), click permanent, and save it.
And that's it. So anyone who visits HowCanIHelpYou.com will be instantly redirected to the WordPress link howcanihelpyou.wordpress.com where your website will actually exist.
It’s another easy way to be professional, stay with a website builder you love, and save money on owning a website.
We hope you enjoyed this. Stay tuned for more!
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Written By The Resource Manual
The Resource Manual publishes resourceful articles on the topic of personal, health, love, finance, well-being, and business. Our goal is to provide valuable resources to help others navigate through life more smoothly.