If you are new to creating websites, the task of publishing a website can seem overwhelming and very confusing. It is no wonder that many soloprenuers turn to solutions like Squarespace and Weebly. You can publish a website pretty quickly and things like hosting and code are taken care of for you. But the drawbacks to website builders are huge, and in my opinion deal breakers. Your can’t afford to waste time in your business building a website that doesn’t work for your long term goals, even if you don’t know what your long term goals are.
A Website builder is an online application that allows the user to create a website without coding. There are a lot of them out there, but the main ones are: Squarespace, Wix, Weebly and GoDaddy Website Builder. Most web builders have a “drag and drop” interface that allow you to add text blocks, photos, forms, image sliders, etc.
The biggest disadvantage of web builders is limited functionality. If you need an information based website (think brochure in website form), website builders will be able to handle all of your content and desired functionality. As your business grows you will likely need more out of your website. At some point you will need extra functionality that a website builder just can’t deliver. Want to add a web store? Wix can’t support that. Need a blog? Not going to happen on Weebly. Looking to build a closed online community? Squarespace is not your man.
You will have to start over on another platform in order to get the functionality you want. Starting over means more money and more time to add a new feature to your website.
Most website builders will try to make decisions for you. And when something goes wrong and breaks it will be very difficult to fix it. Support for website builders is often limited, especially if you use one of the smaller ones. You’ll end up spending hours pouring over support documents looking for an answer that simply doesn’t exist.
Even if you are able to find a solution for that one problem you might create another problem in the process.
Frustrations over website builders not working the way you want them to is the number one reason clients call me to redesign their website.
Websites built with web builders are often not responsive. This means that if you view your website on a weird size phone or a tablet, or a smaller window on your computer things will get cut off. Responsive websites change and reformat as you change the size of the viewing window. This website is responsive, so, if you resize the internet window on your computer you’ll see the website change in real-time to fit.
Website builders get around this by creating two versions of a website: a desktop version and a mobile version. Five to ten years ago this an ok solution, mobile phones were not used as widely and screen widths were pretty standard. Today, there are a multitude of screen sizes in the market and a one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t work. Responsive websites are quickly becoming a standard practice in web design.
If you are using a website builder you are going to instantly be years behind the curve.
Every website builder claims to have beautiful templates for websites. Let me tell you a secret about templates: unless you have the exact same content parts as the template your website will never look as good as the demo. A template also is not a substitute for a designer. If you are making substitutions, replace photos, change fonts on a template I can guarantee you that the beautiful, professionally designed template that you picked out will no longer look professional.
Using a template does not equal a high-quality designed website. In fact, there are lots of ugly template designs out there. You want your website to make a positive, last impression on your visitors. A poorly executed template, beautiful or not, will end up hurting your business and will push away visitors that could have been clients.
As a small business, good SEO practices are very important. Most website builders will have very limited SEO features, if they have any at all.
I am going to assume that you are building an empire. You have something awesome to offer to the world. Your business is going to be big and beautiful and have a huge following. I want you to be set up success from the beginning. Be aware that starting down the path of a website builder might mean that you have to start over in the future. Starting anything over almost always equals time and money that you don’t have. Invest in your business by setting up your website the right way the first time.
Your professionally designed Website Starter Kit has all the tools you need, complete with: visual setup instructions, website specific writing guide, design tips and more. Website Starter Kits are designed for all levels of WordPress users, including beginners with no prior knowledge of WordPress. Go from zero to website without all the tears.