The Pros & Cons of Online Website Builders
So You Can Make The Right Decision For Your Site.
If you’ve ever spent more than 10 minutes on YouTube you’ll have no doubt seen an advert with a smiling American telling you about how they created a great new website using WIX/Squarespace/Weebly/insert other online website builders here. The site they show you looks sleek and polished and the ad tells you to click the button to start building your new site for free now.
It looks like a great deal right?! Well, it can be, but it also isn’t right for every business and there are some key things you should know before deciding to use one. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled the pros and cons of using online website builders so you know the deal before you click that button.
First things first…
Easy To Use
Providing you’re moderately tech-savvy, online website builders are pretty easy to use. No coding, no DNS configuration. Drag and drop the element you want, where you want and away you go. They also have banks of images, graphics, and even videos that you can add to your site meaning you don’t have to create your own.
Not only are they easy to use, but they also provide you with ready-made templates. Meaning that you can get a well laid out site without needing any major design skills.
Quick & Cheap Way To Get Online
If you have a new small business, an idea, or want to create a site to use for your hobby then this is a super speedy way to get online. You can have something pulled together and live in a matter of days. Not only that, most online website builders have a free plan meaning you can get an online presence purely with an investment of your time.
Large Choice of Applications
Another pro for online website builders is that they have huge marketplaces full of apps that plug into your site. This means that you can add new functionality and wizardry with minimal effort and again, zero coding.
Online website builders will generally come with some options to manage your social media, email marketing and even your online advertising. Meaning you can plan and execute your digital marketing all in one place, with tools designed to make it simple and easy for anyone to use.
“I like changing up the background” Karlie Kloss, 2019
Not Really Free
If you want a professional-looking site then you have to pay. All free plans force you to include the online website builders branding. If you want your own domain name you have to pay, if you want email accounts that use your domain then guess what, you have to pay. And these elements quite often don’t come cheap. You’ll also find that the free and cheap plans limit your storage space, bandwidth and more. Which means that you need to pay for higher and higher packages as your site grows. A few quid for an app here, a few quid for a personal domain there, some email accounts, some more apps, more storage. That soon adds up to A LOT of unexpected quids.
One of the biggest reasons online website builders offer free plans is because once they have your site you’re stuck. They don’t allow you to export your site. Meaning you can’t move it if you want to get better value hosting or get someone to add functionality that isn’t possible with the builder you’re on. If you ever want to move you have to rebuild your site from scratch.
Whilst there’s a huge array of free applications that can be added into your site, invariably these free versions have limited functionality. More often than not, you have to pay a subscription fee to get what you need. This makes online website builders an expensive option as your site grows and develops.
Not Fully Mobile Responsive
This is a HUGE con. Generally, they will have a desktop and mobile version that you can edit, but that isn’t true mobile responsiveness. Not sure why that’s a problem? Check out our other blog post here.
Limited SEO & Slow Site Speed
Looking good is only part of having a great website. It also needs to load quickly and easily. Google (other search engines are available) also needs to be able to find and read it. There are lots of technical elements to a site build that either aren’t possible or limited with online website builders. And that means that you’re sacrificing your search engine ranking potential and user experience when you use an online website builder.
Poor Customer Support
Online website builders are big corporations, which means they have a lot of customers with a lot of problems. They heavily rely on help centres filled with pre-written articles which don’t always give you the solution you need. Or they push you to post your question in the ‘Community Support’ section and rely on other customers having the answer. Generally, you have to sign up for a premium payment plan to get access to support from a real-life human. Which again, is another way online website builders can quickly become an expensive choice.
Just because there are templates it doesn’t mean your site will look good.
What are the alternatives?
As you’ve seen, there are pros to using an online website builder. However, we’ll always recommend building your site on WordPress. Why? Because it is one of the most powerful, open-source website building platforms in the world.
Like ‘free’ online website builders, WordPress also has banks of templates and plug-ins (apps) if you need them. Being open-source also means that it’s fully customisable, fully adaptable and is open for you to move to whichever hosting partner you want, whenever you want. Your site can grow with you, new and custom functionality can be added easily. Plus, if your current hosting partner starts to fall short of the mark (we’re looking at you Bluehost) then you can switch to a new provider without having to rebuild your whole site.
WordPress future-proofs your site and will always be our first choice when deciding where to build the next stunning site for our customers.
HOW TO ANALYSE YOUR WEBSITE
You should be analysing your site regularly. But, if you’re not used to it, it may be hard to work out what to look at. So, we’ve written this blog post to guide you through the process.
HOW TO SECURE YOUR WEBSITE
Did you know that there’s a cyber attack attempted every 39 seconds, of every hour, of every day. That’s a lot. But follow these 7 simple steps and you’ll secure your website and data.
How much does a website cost?
This is probably one of the most common questions we get asked. But there are so many variables when it comes to creating a bespoke website, it’s not always an easy one to answer.