DIY Website builders like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and the like, are touted as the answer to a small businesses prayers in their ability to get your web presence up and online for a low cost. They appear to offer a great value for those individuals and small businesses just getting off the ground. But what are the “hidden” issues with these website builders that can be detrimental to your business? In this article we’ll identify and discuss some of these lesser-known problems so you can make an informed decision.
Issue One: That templated website smell.
All website builders offer prebuilt, predesigned templates that contain page layouts, color palettes, fonts, icons and even images. With under 100 templates and millions and millions of users, you can imagine that the templates are often repeated. It’s like buying that car brand that’s popular in your town, it gets you from point A to B but without any individual style. Marketing 101 teaches us that one of the keys to business success is differentiation, if you don’t differentiate your business, you won’t stand out and be memorable. This can hurt your brand. Our final note on this is that for the lower-cost DIY packages, the DIY companies’ logo and advertisement will appear on all your website pages – not classy.
Issue Two: The DIY dilemma.
Wix, Squarespace and the like, are promoted as the DIY website solution but in successful companies they understand that one person, no matter how accomplished, can’t be an effective designer, marketeer and business person. This is why advertising agencies, web design agencies and marketing agencies exist because they employ a breadth of professional staff that have years of experience in business strategy and promotion. As a small business owner, your time shouldn’t be taken up with figuring out how to design and layout your website, it should be focused on growing your network of customers, partners and fine tuning your products and services.
Issue Three: The allure of low-cost.
It’s hard to argue with a price point of under $25 a month especially when starting a small business. But think about it, what’s the goal of your website? Shouldn’t it be to promote your brand and generate you more business? Besides yourself, your website should be your most effective sales person. Not only does it embody your brand, have detailed information but it’s available worldwide 24/7/365. If your website isn’t working for you why have one? don’t respond with “because everyone else has one”, that’s an incomplete thought. Spend the time and money to strategize a web presence that fits your brand and works for you, if you do it right, a reasonably priced, professional website should pay for itself in no time.
Issue Four: Search engine optimization – it’s still a thing.
Without online marketing you might as well not have a website at all. Besides the fact that you are using a DIY web builder, probably don’t have online marketing expertise and don’t know how to prepare your web pages for search engines, there are real issues with website builders and how easy they are to optimize for search – even for online marketing pros. Common complaints about website builders include:
- Issues with your domain name/URL rather than being a subdomain or sub-URL of the DIY company.
- Link structures (the way your pages are named, linked and organized) that are not easily read by the search engines.
- Limited SEO options – your website builder may only offer you a limited set of options within your account to promote your website content.
Issue Five: Ownership.
Websites built on website builders are basically renting space. Sure you have the freedom to add photos, graphics and text and choose a template to display it all BUT you don’t own the template or framework that contains your website. If your DIY company goes out of business your website could vanish overnight. If you have a dispute with them they can take it down. If what you want to do violates some policy of theirs, they can suspend your website. One final note – check the DIY software usage terms, when you signed up you may have unwittingly given your permission for them to use and modify your content to promote their business.
Issue Six: Customization of features.
If you want a feature or a function that your DIY website doesn’t offer, you probably won’t be able to have it or have to settle on some inferior compromise. In order to manage all their customers, the DIY company has to lock down their feature set so that they can ensure that users won’t break the DIY system. Even though it appears the features they are offering can satisfy any business need, in practice you may want a specific function that is unavailable.
The bright side.
It’s not all doom and gloom. I have to close with a few of the positive aspects of using a website builder:
- For a personal website or a non-business related website, there’s nothing wrong with using a website builder. It can provide a forum for you to be creative and have a presence on the internet.
- If you have created your first business website on a website builder, the good news is you have put in the work to create your business content, that’s a great accomplishment. This content can be migrated over to a “real” website framework. You may also have gained insights into your customers so you are better prepared to make your next website a success.
- Sorry I could only come up with two.
If you need help transitioning from a Wix, Weebly, squarespace or other DIY website, feel free to call us for a free consultation. If you have a business success or failure story related to using a DIY solution, please email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.