Previously, I talked about the advantages of using a website builder, such as Wix and Weebly, to name a few.
And for certain people in certain situations, they can be very useful. Maybe you’re too busy running your small business and don’t have the time or the money. Maybe you need something right away, or you just don’t know anything about what it takes to build a website. If so, then a website builder may be for you.
But if you want the best possible website you can get, then you should stay away from them. Stay far, far away from them, like you should from a Nigerian member of royalty who is more than happy to want to deposit a seven figure amount into your bank account.
Why? Here’s why.
You Can’t Always Take it With You
What if you’re unhappy with the service, or the company that offered it to you? If you go all Cartman on them and say, “Screw you guys…” then chances are you will have to move your website. But it isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Chances are, you used one of their templates for your site. But those templates were made strictly for that website builder. So if you move on to another company or professional, you’ll probably wind up losing the look and feel of your website.
And your text and images as well, if you weren’t smart enough to keep copies of those.
Are you down with starting from scratch? Because that’s the risk you’ll be taking.
Branding and Ads
See the text link or badge at the bottom of the website? Website builders, such as those from GoDaddy, VistaPrint and Homestead, will proudly tattoo their name either discretely (such as a simple line of text) or as a graphic at the bottom of the website. A graphic that is somehow so distracting that it can be seen from space.
You can’t remove them, as there might not be an option available to do so. And even if you knew a little bit of CSS to try and hide that sucker, you could be in danger of violating the company’s TOS agreement.
And yeah, many ad agencies, web design, and marketing firms and individuals will include some sort of ad at the bottom of the website they created. But they didn’t drag-and-drop some solid-colored elements, type your company name with some generic font, lean back in their chair and call it a day. They worked hand-in-hand with you throughout the entire process of creating your website, from establishing your goals to customizing the source code, also known as that mish-mash of letters, numbers and symbols that you won’t understand.
A website builder will offer you several different templates to choose from. And while you’ll have the option of choosing different colors and sizes for graphics and fonts, the worst case scenario is that you’ll have a small list to choose from. You can try to upload some pictures, but if the file size exceeds the limits imposed on you and you don’t know how to optimize them, then you’re up a certain creek with a four-letter name that rhymes with ‘bit.’
Oh, and did I mention that other businesses who use website builders may choose the same template as yours? That means that your website layout may look awfully similar to other websites. Way to stand out from the competition.
Your website is like an interactive advertisement for your business. You should treat it as such. You should budget it as such. You should take the time to write down your goals, gather your ideas for structure, functionality and content, and then talk to a professional. Whether you use an agency or an individual, or even keep it in house, your website is a part of your business.