5 reasons why you should avoid website builders
If you're an entrepreneur or small business owner, chances are high that you've heard about website builders like Wix, Squarespace and Weebly. With a few clicks of the mouse, these services promise to provide you with a beautiful new site in no time at all. But what if I told you there were five reasons not to use them? Here's why you should avoid website builders.
When it comes to creating a website for your business, there are basically two choices: using an online builder or hiring a web designer.
Online builders like Wix and Squarespace have become popular because they allow you to create your site without any coding knowledge and their basic pricing seems attractive. But in the end, this is not really what you want if you're looking for something that's uniquely yours and has long-term scalability. There are certain things you don't get with a website builder like Wix or Squarespace that a custom website gives you. Here goes:
1) You don't own the site
When you use a website building like Wix or Squarespace, even though you've had to build the site yourself, you still don't own it. They do.
It's like creating a masterpiece on canvas, but someone else owns the canvas, and the paints, it's the frame and studio you made it in. They let you display it, and that's all.
But if they go bust, change terms and conditions or you just want to move site to another provider, you can't. You'd have to create it again from scratch.
They've basically got the rights to your company website. I don't know about you, but I'd prefer to own my own business website and have ultimate control over it.
2) You're still doing the work
Website builders take some of the hard work out of building websites. They have a lot of templates to help you get started and ideas on page design. But you're still having to create the page, edit the templates, put in images and text and make it all work. The use of templates also means your website isn't unique. There's a good chance someone else used the same template.
The truth is, if you're not a web designer or have the skills to build your own website from scratch, then while using these tools can save time and lessen frustration, they don't produce the type of quality bespoke websites that really make customers notice your business.
Every time you create a page on website builder you're doing all the creative and hard-work yourself: brainstorming what should go in each section; adapting existing pages with more content. Deciding what images or content to use.
So, you're paying your monthly fee, but you're still doing all the work to build and manage your site yourself.
3) You can't transfer, sell or move your site elsewhere
Lets say you want to move your website to another provider. Perhaps it's because of terms and condition changes, costs go up, or your website builder of choice doesn't have the features you need. Guess what? You can't. You're stuck with that builder. Unless you rebuild the site totally from scratch on a new platform.
That website you spent so much time designing, tweaking and perfecting can't be transferred or sold. It's stuck with that builder forever - whether that suits your needs or not!
It's not that website builders like Wix or Squarespace don't have potential; it's just that when you choose a site builder, you're then stuck with it. You may think they're easy and an affordable option, but you still end up giving up ownership to the company. So if you do choose to use a builder, choose very carefully. Because without significant work to restart from scratch. You're not going anywhere for a while.
Many web designers, like Ready Steady Geek, use platforms such as WordPress. Or they develop them totally from scratch. It allows us full control over what we're doing and greater customisation options than anything offered by website builder software or services. The best part is, you the customer, have control over it. Forever.
4) They start cheap. They don't stay that way.
Website builders have really attractive initial offerings. They'll lure you in with attractive affordable looking monthly offers of between £5 and £10 a month. Seems like a good deal right? Wrong. You see, they don't stay cheap.
The monthly fee for a website builder will soon skyrocket when you add features, customisations and things like e-commerce.
And you know what? You're not the only one who has been fooled into thinking they were getting such an attractive deal in comparison with other web building companies or designers. But it's just another tactic designed by these websites builders as their way of making money off gullible business owners that are strapped for cash, customers like you! Do your research before signing up - they probably aren't as cheap as you think.
5) You're not an expert.
It might sound pretentious. But skilled web designers and developers are experts in their field. Think of any skills profession - builders, architects, accountants, surveyors, car mechanics - they're all experts. They've trained to do that job well. You wouldn't try and build your own house (at least usually!). You wouldn't service your own car. So why would you build your own website?
Skilled web designers and developers know their trade. They know how to design a site, not just for aesthetics, but also user experience, SEO, accessibility, mobile friendly design, speed optimisation and more. They can make use of the best practices, knowledge and skills that are required in today's competitive digital landscape to ensure your site stands out from competitors.
Companies like Wix, Squarespace, Weebly and others might give you the tools that allow you create a website visually. But there's so much more to web design than slapping a few pictures and text on a page.
You want your site to be seen - Website builders aren't optimised for search engines. So there's less chance Google and other search engines will see it. Even if they do, you won't rank as well.
You want your visitors to have the best experience - Web designers know how to lay out your pages, menus, calls to action and more and can use this knowledge to also create the most authentic, best flowing, customer experience on your site
It has to be fast - Web builder websites used shared hosting. This means your site is on the same server as potentially hundreds if not thousands of other customers. This slows down your site and means other websites could impact the speed of your customer experience.
Your website should be crafted carefully, optimised, customised and suited to you. Website builders off a kind of one-size fits all kind of approach – and it often doesn't suit the needs or goals that your business might have.
For a website to be effective, it must be able to grow with you. You want to keep control of it. Be able to change it, move it, sell it. It should be optimised and tailored to you and your customers. It should be able to meet your business goals and objectives and it's something you should invest time, money and thought into.
Website builders can be a good choice for some people. But for most businesses, in the long term, they're not the best option.
If a site builder seems like a cheap alternative to web design. That's because it is. In more ways than one.