Thinking about using a DIY website builder?
Friends don't let friends make budget websites.
We’ve all seen or heard the Wix sales pitch. And I say, hey, if you need to throw a website up for a wedding or a family reunion, go for it! But when it comes to your professional business and your professional brand and reputation, I say, please don’t!
While the DIY website builders make it very easy to build a nice-enough-looking website, they also make it very easy to build a poorly performing website.
Initial bliss over a new website can turn to disappointment, frustration and headaches over time as the drawbacks play out. What I want to help you avoid, above all, is a situation where you feel frustrated, powerless, and stuck in a bad relationship with your website.
My top six reasons to dodge that bullet:
What you see isn’t what search engines see. Your website needs to appeal to website visitors and search engines alike, but your average DIY website builder has no idea what goes into achieving the latter. There are important professional design best practices with regard organizing site structure and navigation/linking, optimizing content, and managing the appearance of your Google search result that most DIY website builders don’t support, but which can boost or impede your SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
While most DIY builders claim to support mobile responsive design, not all actually do. As an example, Wix uses something called “absolute positioning.” Absolute positioning gives you flexibility in positioning elements (text, images, forms, and so on), but means your website will not adapt as well to different screen sizes—and can be more time-consuming to set up. So, although Wix claims to provide some responsive elements, this is misleading as Wix websites are not actually fully responsive.
With the majority of website visits coming from a mobile device, having a website that isn’t mobile responsive in the year 2020 is a major handicap, not to mention credibility-buster.
A website that is non-mobile responsive can:
- get “dinged” by Google in search results. Google favors and recommends responsive design.
- impact your website’s navigability, leading to frustration for visitors and causing them to leave your site (aka “bounce”).
- use greater amounts of data and cause your pages to load more slowly on mobile devices
- leave a sloppy, unprofessional impression and reflect poorly on your business
With time you may want to change your DIY website’s template, or add in some new functionality that is not supported by your chosen builder. Unfortunately, you are very much limited in what you can do and how your website can grow with you, because in many cases you can’t change templates, and you can’t export your website data to another platform, or access your code for that matter, either. It can be very difficult to move your content away from your builder’s platform, so you will have to either live with your chosen template or rebuild the website completely.
For scaleability and flexibility, WordPress is where it’s at.
When you sign up to use one of these website builders, they host the website for you. You don’t have a choice to shop around, or move your site to a different hosting platform if you want to get your site on faster servers.
Wix offers a free plan that allows you to create a simple, ad-supported site with a Wix-address (www.yourbusiness.wixsite.com). But most serious businesses are aiming for a more professional profile than that, and certainly don’t want Wix-brand advertising running on their pages. In order to eliminate those features, it’s necessary to turn to the paid plan offerings. Either way, to add in functionality, it may or may not add to the bill: You can shop in Wix’s “app market” for paid and free features. You’ll also need a paid plan to get access to “site booster” apps that will submit your website to search engines, or give you access to analytics. The free plan also limits the number of pages website owners can have, and does not facilitate e-commerce. Google Analytics is not available unless you purchase the premium plan.
Suffice it to say, most owners will need to start with a paid plan and add in numerous features, which will add up. So, not really free at all. And you’re not even getting a quality website that can be found easily on the internet.
Most DIY sites end up looking amateurish and unprofessional in one way or another. And that doesn’t exactly lend a sense of credibility or instill confidence in your site visitors.