Anyone can create a website. No, really, it’s true! Website builders have been around for many years, providing a platform for users of any experience level to create websites of just about any type.
This is due to their clean templates, drag and drop interface, and expanding set of tools that fit just about any business industry.
In addition to this, many website builders can be used free of charge. This is pretty fantastic right?
Well, before you make your decision on how you’re going to power your website, there are some things you should know first!
Website Builder Pros & Cons
If you’ve done some research, you’ve likely heard of some of the popular website builders already.
There’s Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, SiteBuilder, and GoDaddy just to name a few. Options like these offer a great tool set to get you online, and quickly.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of these popular website builders.
1.) Affordability of Website Builders
Some website builders are free, while other builders are very affordable to use. As a result, you’ll spend less money to use a builder for your website, rather than a freelancer or agency.
Small business owners, and creatives wanting to show their portfolio may find this is a great benefit to them.
At an early starting point, this decision seems to make the most sense.
Using the free option that many web builders offer, you may find the end result to not be what you expect. Because of this, you can expect to pay more than what is initially advertised.
Consider your domain, the hosting fees, and the specific features your website really needs. While the extra fees aren’t too bad, it’s important to think about the investment you’re making, and the long-term return.
Not just with money, but with time.
2.) Website Builders Ease of Use
The website builders widely available online are very easy to use, providing a drag and drop interface, and access to ever-growing resources.
You are able to create online shops, beautiful galleries, cool parallax effects, newsletter email forms, and more with a few easy clicks.
Popular builders like Wix or Squarespace offer beautiful, modern templates for you to choose from, yet, are easily customizable. So even if you’ve had no experience with web design before, you can create a fair website.
This is a perfect do-it-yourself solution to get a site online for your perspective audience.
Believe it or not, the ease of use in itself is a con. After researching examples online, we’ve seen some really bad websites created using builders. Not everyone knows what looks good, or what best design practices are.
That’s ok though, the builders help you out where they can.
However, there are many limitations using a builder, and you are often restricted to the set of tools it gives you. Due to these restrictions, your website may not appear or feel very unique when compared to another built on the same platform.
Customers and visitors alike will see the effort put into your website as your brand’s reflection. Often times, portraying your brand as unique can be difficult to achieve on a website builder.
Furthermore, nearly everyone we’ve spoken to about their website will say something negative about it if they used a website builder to create it! For instance, “Oh I just used a builder to get by, it’s not the best.” Ouch!
3.) Tons of Features
You can expect to find a range of features available with every website builder. There are contact forms, image sliders, newsletters, online stores, and blogging tools are available just to name a few.
Since website builders are designed with many different users in mind, you can expect easy configuration to fit your needs.
You will likely find the tools to meet a simple, or even more complex need.
We go back to limitations here. Customizing the look and functionality of many features isn’t possible. Let’s say there is a rental form for vacation homes, and you need to capture if the customer is bringing pets.
Let’s also say that with pets, the system needs to charge an added fee. You might not able to meet this requirement especially with a basic plan or account. Extra or extended features come with extra cost.
If this is the case, expect to pay a one-time fee or monthly for the feature.
4.) Google Rankings & SEO
Many website builders come standard with search engine optimization tools. These tools will help you rank in search engines, allowing user to find you online.
While each website builder has had its fair share of ups and downs when it comes to SEO, many have made great improvements over the years. Options in the editor help you set up your website to be search engine friendly in a quick, and easy way.
You can even track your traffic data with Google Analytics.
Despite the improvements, many website builders do not rank well in popular search engines like Google. Due to these limitations, a user cannot take all the steps to truly optimize their site.
Therefore, we don’t typically recommend using a website builder as a good option for SEO. Website builders meet the basics of SEO, but just don’t give you the control you need to compete with custom designed websites.
There is nothing wrong with using a website builder, however, it’s always best to do research before making your decision on what path the creation of your website will take.
Your website is a crucial part of your brand. It your businesses’ reflection online, and as a result, one of the first impressions your business could make to a potential customer.
To take it lightly could cost you time, money, and sales! A website builder is a great option for an individual or business looking to get a great looking site with some extra time on their hands, and a small budget.
For those looking to control the brand, narrative, and functionality of their website for long-term growth, a professionally designed website makes the most sense.
So will you be using a website builder for your next project?