We’ve all seen those ads. “Build your own beautiful website in minutes!”
Website builders like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace offer the ability for business owners to DIY their website. Although they have software that allows you to build a website, the outcome falls short of having your business make a true impact on the web.
There is no denying that going this route will save you money over hiring a professional, but as the saying goes… you get what you pay for.
Without getting too technical, here is a breakdown of the top reasons to never use a DIY website builder and why you should hire a professional instead.
Bad SEO Practices
Website builders typically have an easy to use software that allows you to visually create a page. The problem is that these pieces of software are not following the correct practice for website coding.
Search engines (like Google), follow a certain set of best practices so they can properly read the content on your site and understand what is important. This is how they rank you. When your site does not follow the correct structure, Google has a really difficult time understanding your sites content and therefore, you don’t rank as high in search results.
Here are a number of ways website builders are bad on your SEO.
- Flash Based Builders – Google (and mobile devices) can’t read Flash
- No Data Structure – Title tags and HTML markup incorrect or non-existent
- Bad URL Paths – no link structures
- Missing Sitemaps – used to guide search bots through all your pages
- 1-Page Sites – no topic specific pages that drill down into specifics = low rankings
If you don’t rank well in search engines, you are not going to get traffic to your website. That means you’re loosing business.
Template Based Designs
Using a website builder is the quickest way to look like everyone else. These builder softwares basically give you a set of templates to pick from and then allow you the upload you pictures and change the text around. If you want to make your website look like every one’s website, this is great. But if you want your website to represent your own brand in the right way, you need something better.
If we look at one website builder example, Wix, this is easy to tell.
Their website states they have about 500 templates to choose from. But did you know they have about 90 million users?
That means if you pick a template, chances are there are around 180,000 other businesses using the same exact template. How are you going to make your brand stand out when you have that many other lookalike sites?
Maybe you’re okay with your brand in a cookie cutter template. But are you okay with the fact that most of these templates are not graphically appealing? Majority of these are outdated designs that haven’t caught up with the modern styles that have proven to be effective in marketing and custom acquisition.
Not Mobile Friendly
Many of these templates on these website builders are also missing compatibility for a huge number of users: they are not mobile friendly.
Did you know that in 2018 roughly 63% of website users are browsing the web on mobile devices? That’s a lot. Have you ever landed on a website on your phone that was not optimized to work on your phone? Trying to zoom in to read content and scroll horizontally is a painful experience. Most users won’t deal with it and leave. They’ll go to a competitors site and you’ll lose the business.
Having a website that is not mobile friendly will cause you to lose website visitors naturally just because users don’t want to mess around trying to navigate it. But you’re also going to see a huge negative impact on your search engine rankings too. Google penalizes websites, heavily, if you are not mobile friendly. That’s because Google knows that users are on mobile now and they want to serve the best possible results to their search users. A website that is not mobile friendly is not the best option for search users. Google knows this, and therefore your non-mobile friendly site loses it’s rankings.
Slow Loading Speeds
You have about 6 seconds to capture your users attention and keep them on your site before they bounce. But if your site takes 5 seconds to load, you’ve already lost. Users do not wait. They are busy, in a hurry, and don’t like to waste time. If your site is loading slowly, they are going to bounce and go find a different site that is giving them the information they need at a much faster pace.
Website builders are using bad code and styling practices. They also fail to compress your images to appropriate sizes. This all means they are not optimizing your site for speed. Browsers will take longer to load up your page and this will cause you to have higher bounce rates than you would see other wise. A good web developer is going to make sure your site is setup and optimized properly to hit load speeds that will keep users on your site.
No Integrations or Functionality
Websites are suppose to add value to your business. As your business grows, websites can be turned into part of your workflows and make your life a lot easier. When you use a website builder, you are pretty much stuck with a “brochure style” site. This means your site has text and pictures and that’s it. No ability to grow, no ability to add additional functionality or value to your organization.
If you hire a professional, you can make sure that your site is built with your growth in mind. Does your roadmap include selling your products and services online (eCommerce)? Do you have a CRM system that you want to plug into your site and track visitors for automated marketing campaigns? To you want to have a customer portal that allows your customers to login and view their accounts, projects, and billing? To you want to build customized landing pages for customer acquisition and lead generation through specific campaigns?
The point is, you’re stuck. Your website is what it is and it will not grow with your business. You won’t be able to add new functionality or integrate it with your other systems to add value to your business.