Over the past few years, website builders have become a popular way to build small business websites. When you watch their advertisements on television or YouTube, they look pretty easy to use. On the surface, they sound like a great option. You pay a relatively small monthly fee, pick a template, create some pages, and you’ve got yourself a website. Simple, right?
Not so fast.
While it may seem like a perfectly fine option, there are a number of reasons why using an online website building service may not be in your best interest. Here are four things to consider:
Variety is the spice of life.
With a website builder, there is a limit to the number of templates you can use for your site. For example, Wix currently has about 250 available templates, and while that number may seem big, it’s not. Remember, your website is going to be using a template that’s likely also being used by more than 4,000 other Wix-built websites. That’s assuming all their templates get used evenly across the board.
But, if you run a bakery and you pick the theme that’s “perfect for bakers,” now you’ve doomed your website to look like a large number of other bakery websites who are also using Wix. If somebody was researching your industry and found that your website resembled a number of other websites in the same industry, how do you think that will look? Will it build confidence in your brand? Probably not.
Be careful not to let your website give the wrong impression about your company.
If you turned to WordPress for your small business website solution, the pool of off-the-shelf themes available is in the tens of thousands. Of course, you could also look to a website design team like eWebscapes to build a custom site for you so you really stand out!
Do whatever you want, as long as they allow it.
Countless times, I have heard people complain about Facebook. They’ll say something like, “I sure wish Facebook would let me do… [insert missing feature].” And, while Facebook is great at letting you do a LOT, if there are things you want to do that the site doesn’t support, you’re out of luck.
Website builders are the same as Facebook in this regard. They have a number of features that they provide. If there’s a feature they don’t offer, or if you would like to modify an existing one, all you can do is hope that they add it or allow you to modify it in the future. Your ability to customize features is limited by their available offerings.
Don’t let somebody else dictate what you can or can’t do on your website.
The only way to truly have the freedom to do whatever you want with your website is to use a platform like WordPress where you have the ability to add or modify the code to do whatever you can dream up. (Remember, you can always hire a website developer to help you, but you’re still in control.)
Building a house on somebody else’s land.
Did you know that you can have your own storefront on Amazon? There are thousands of businesses who use Amazon as their sole platform for selling their products. The appeal is obvious; instant access to millions of buyers.
But if you ever take a look at the online forums for Amazon sellers, you’ll find just as many people complaining about whatever the latest changes are to Amazon’s rules for sellers. And do you know what the sellers’ options are for dealing with Amazon’s rule changes? They can complain, or they can stop using the platform.
If your website is built on a website builder’s server, you are bound by their terms and conditions.
Also important to consider when relying on somebody else’s platform: what would happen if the service you are using was sold to another service who decided to shut it down? It’s happened before. To think it can’t happen is naive.
And, I keep coming back to it, but it’s an important point. With WordPress, it’s all about freedom—freedom to do whatever you want and not be limited by somebody else’s rules.
Your data is bound and shackled.
Let’s assume for a minute that you didn’t listen to my first three warnings and you’ve gone ahead and built your site using a website builder. Then your business explodes in popularity and you decide now is the time to switch to a new platform to support the influx of website traffic. That is fantastic news, to be sure. However, you’re about to be in for a rude awakening.
Website builders don’t want to lose your business. So, making it easy to export all your data in a way that is simple to convert to a new platform isn’t high on their list of priorities. If your website is small and simply has a handful of static pages, recreating those in a platform like WordPress would be pretty easy. But, if you’re selling products on your site, converting your product data, not to mention your customer and sales data, is going to require major work.
Thinking that you can start with one platform and easily switch to another later can be a costly mistake.
When starting a business, it’s not a great idea to just wing it. Building it up one way only to tear it down and build it up again is both expensive and a waste of your valuable time. Your company’s website is no different. Your website is an extension of your business and will likely be the first way your potential customers interact with you. Don’t leave that up to chance. Build your site on a platform that you have control over from the start. And if you don’t want to do it yourself, give us a call. We would love to partner with you.