Website builders are not bad options – far from it. However, many make the decision to use these tools without fully understanding what compromises they may be making as a result, and I think it’s hugely important that any business owner has all of the information at their disposal before making a decision on something so important to their long-term success. Below are our top 5 reasons to avoid a website builder.

1. It’s not YOUR website

When signing up to a site like Wix or Squarespace, you are signing up for software as a service, or “SAAS”. What this means is, you are effectively renting the product you are receiving, with no long-term ownership options available.

The business model of companies like Wix and Squarespace is all based around a monthly subscription – similar to Netflix and Prime, meaning they’ll provide the solution to you for as long as you are paying them the correct amount each month. This is a great model for them, but as the client, it leaves you trapped in the relationship until you’re in a position to engage a new business about a website rebuild.

$30/MO for a website sounds like a great deal but when you think about it, if you have it for 3 years you will have spent over $1k on a website that you have built and maintained yourself, and it’s not even yours to keep.

2. Limited Functionality

A website builder is a great tool when you need a website up quickly and for minimal cost, however what we have found over many years of working with new businesses that go down this route, is that many outgrow the website builder solution very quickly, and the need for a much more sophisticated website to support their business needs becomes apparent – typically within the first 6-12 months.

There is a famous phrase “pay cheap, pay twice”, and this applies to websites too. The $30/MO Wix or Squarespace solution may look like a solid option on paper initially, but it’s important to think about where you see your business in 6-12 months, and whether or not these solutions are viable for your business at that stage.

3. Design Before Content

One of the first things you are told as a website designer, is that content should drive the design – not the other way around. The reason for this is because the most important element of any design – whether that be a website, brochure, poster, business card, billboard – is the content i.e. the information, the messaging. The content is the only reason the design is needed, and the entire purpose of the design, is to get that information across.

A website builder however, is design-led, which means that it’s a selection of pre-constructed designs, and a bit of a paint by numbers. This design-first approach means that often, the key messaging you’re trying to get across is lost, as compromises to the content structure have needed to be made in order for that content to fit around the design.

4. The SEO

Is your Wix or Squarespace website not ranking? This might be why…

A lot of website builder tools advise that they come search engine optimised, however this is often not the case, as there are multiple facets to SEO, many of which are not covered by a website builder solution.

Website speed and performance for example, is enormously important when it comes to your Google ranking. The reason for this is, Google scores your site based on it’s mobile compatibility, with the performance benchmark being based on a 3G mobile connection. Website builders tend to be quite clunky, with the onus more on the ease of use for the person building the site, as opposed to the quality of the code. As a result, performance suffers, and you may find that your site not only performs noticeably slower than other sites, but also that it scores poorly with Google PageSpeed Insights.

When it comes to searchability and your overall Google ranking, nothing is more important than content. Optimising your site for the right keywords could be the difference between getting 100 visits a month vs 1000 via organic search. This keyword strategy and optimisation is something that needs to be done by an individual, and is therefore completely bypassed by these website builder tools.

5. The Support

The market-leading website builders are all very large organisations with a global reach, and as you may have found with previous companies you have worked with both in business and in your personal life, large businesses like this operate their customer service and support within a designated department of advisors.

This can pose problems when you have an issue you are wanting resolved quickly, as the advisors you speak with over the phone or on their online chat system, are most likely not web designers, web developers or even technically minded at all in some cases, meaning your request may not be resolved there and then, and a ticket is raised and added to a queue – typically with no timescale associated with it.

Don’t get me wrong, support ticketing systems are very common amongst technology providers and Outlines Design is no different in that respect, however the first point of contact is so important, and it therefore should be with someone technical so that the issue can be resolved as quickly as possible. This tends to be where these larger organisations fall down, and why at times, you as the client, are made to feel like you’re just another brick in the wall.

Take a few minutes to think past the initial benefits of using a website builder, and think about what level of support your business will need once the site is live, and whether you will get what you need if you go down that route.

But what’s the alternative?

If you are looking for help with your website, Outlines Design offers flexible, pay-monthly options for custom designed WordPress websites, with long-term ownership options, and add-ons for SEO, eCommerce, email and recruitment among other things. You can get an instant quotebook a free consultation, or speak to us on LiveChat.

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