Last Updated: May 12, 2021
Do you need a website for your business? Are you thinking of using a website builder (i.e. Wix, GoDaddy Website Builder, Squarespace, etc.)? Do you know the disadvantages and limitations of most website builders?
Website builders can certainly help you build a website relatively affordably, but most still require some additional knowledge to get the website to perform well. Among other items, you will need to understand how customer’s computer monitor size matters, how the website will look on a mobile phone, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) limitations, etc. Here are a few limitations you should consider before going with a website builder platform.
Coding is extremely important for mobile viewing and functionality for your website. Many web builders have a very limited mobile optimization in their web builder. Why does mobile matter? Mobile searches and internet browsing of websites has finally surpassed desktop browsing. Over 50% of worldwide web traffic is accessed via mobile devices, and that number continues to climb each year. When you run into an issue with how content or a part of the design looks on mobile devices, the website builder does not let you do much further device specific (i.e. phone, tablet, cetc) customization. You are simply limited to their built-in mobile rendering which does not always translate your content and design into an ideal look and feel, potentially causing user experience issues.
Most website builders show you a preview of the website before you publish. However, it rarely looks exactly like the preview. As a result, you may spend a significant amount of time creating a website that doesn't actually look high quality like you intended. Naturally, these can be exceptionally frustrating, and you are again limited to what the website builder “allows” you to do.
Website builders often appear easy to use at first which is a big plus. However, when you try to delve into links, customizing pages, and resizing images, they start to become a painstaking process. It can take a while to learn how to change certain sections of the website to avoid upsetting the website builder. This can be extremely time-consuming. Ultimately, you are still at the mercy of what the website builder “will allow” in terms of built-in functionality.
A lot of website builders bypass the lack of coding knowledge by only giving customers certain templates to choose from for their site. Thus, you can only put text in this spot and only a picture in that spot, but if you need more space for more content outside of their design framework you are out of luck. It makes it a bit hard for your business to stand out in the crowd.
Most website builders do NOT truly and fully integrate SEO or lead generation into their process of creating your own website. They often don't tell you to incorporate a call-to-action on your website or create a soft offer for your customers in order to capture email addresses. Your website needs these elements and more to make your website a way to convert leads into actual customers.
There are also a substantial amount of back-end coding elements from an Search Engine Optimization perspective that a website builder can often overlook or not integrate altogether. For instance, we were performing SEO on two different website builder platforms previously listed (on websites we did not get the opportunity to design). One of the website builders offered LocalBusiness schema, but no other options for microdata. Furthermore, they forgot to include “phone number” as a field in the “auto-generating” schema, one of the most critical elements for associating your business with other listings online. Whereas, the other website builder didn’t even allow website schema to be inserted into their system. This is just one example of how SEO is an afterthought when it comes to website builders.
Yes, we ended up emailing both website builders to inform them of the errors. sure enough, they thanked us and told us we were right. But they didn’t say when they expected to make the fixes/additions to their system. Update: They eventually added the aforementioned schema features, but it was literally years behind traditional web design Content Management Systems like Joomla or WordPress. Additionally, their schema support still has very limited options for customization and advanced structured data.
The list of SEO shortfalls of website builders doesn’t end with that one example either. As such, while you might end up with a remotely similar look of a site you love, what’s the point if you can’t be found on Google?
Website builder platforms like Wix and Squarespace are starting to add more e-commerce functionality where you can buy and sell products directly on your website. However, e-commerce features are extremely limited at this time on website builder platforms. Once you start needing more complex features like advanced shipping, local delivery, wholesale pricing, integrations with 3rd party apps, etc. you will quickly hit walls with website builder platforms like Wix and Squarespace.
If you are looking to get started with e-commerce, we’d recommend checking out the Shopify E-commerce system. Shopify is insanely affordable for the benefits that you get, and they have different packages based on your needs. Feel free to check Shopify out and claim a free, no obligation trial of Shopify. It is hands down our favorite e-commerce system, and we’ve used a lot of different systems! The packages all include support from Shopify’s system. If you get stuck and need professional help 3rd party help, there is also a wonderful community of Shopify Experts and web designers that can assist.
A website builder can help you create a website affordably and this can be an OK starting point if you’re on a very strapped budget. However, website builders lack the ability to create a unique website that looks and functions professionally. These websites often lack SEO essentials and make it difficult to turn leads into actual paying customers. You need a website that is easy to find and keeps the audience's attention, and, in short, website builders won't get you there.
We understand that designing with a professional website designer or on a mainstream Content Management System like Joomla or WordPress may not always be practical when you are just starting your business. As such, if you start with a website builder platform to save some money, we understand. However, you must keep the above disadvantages in mind, and start budgeting for a redesign in the future as your business and web presence needs grow.
Alternatively, there are Content Management Systems (CMS) that also make your website a bit easier to manage and update, but with far fewer limitations than website builder platforms. Often, they do require a professional website designer to initial design and setup. However, they are far more flexible than website builders long-term. For a head-to-head comparison, check out our blog on the difference between a CMS and a website builder platform.
We strongly suggest hiring a firm that specializes in website design and a firm that has SEO experts on staff. Do you need help building your website? We can create a website that gets you to the top of search results and creates the best experience for your customers. Contact us so we can learn more about your website design needs.
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