There have been an explosion of DIY website builders1 over the past ten years. They promise to be easy to set up and simple to maintain, but are they really as good as they claim to be?
If you’re a small business owner, finding the time to work on your website can be a challenge, especially when you’re working 12 hour days already. The claimed convenience and alleged affordability can make these DIY website builders start to sound pretty attractive. However, when you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll soon discover that they aren’t all what they’re packaged up to be.
The Truth Behind DIY Website Builders
They do a good job of selling themselves with the 'quick and easy' set-up slogans and the 'cheap to run' tag lines. So if you genuinely don't know what your looking for and just want 'a website', it's pretty easy to see how they’d sound tempting.
The thing is, nobody really only just wants ‘a website’. You want a shop window for your business, an online method of generating leads; to grow sales; a digital marketing strategy; to attract new customers; to increase your customer loyalty and countless other things. You see, your website is there to serve your business objectives, whatever they may be.
When you pause to consider why you want a website in the first place, and what you need it to do, you'll quickly realize that your needs are specific. And if you want your website to perform as best as it can and market your business effectively, then you need it to do exactly what you and your potential customers want it to do. This is where DIY website builders start to falter.
To help you make an informed decision and put those DIY website builder sales pitches into perspective, we've put together some of the top reasons why DIY website builders honestly aren't likely to meet your needs.
Standardized Sites = No Originality
DIY website builders often have a limited number of templates (or designs) to choose from. This means that there’s a large chance of many other websites using the same design as you. If thousands of websites look exactly the same as yours, you’ll struggle to stand out, which will hurt your online brand, especially if you’re running an e-commerce store2.
2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Implications
Getting to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) when your potential customers search for something related to your business on Google, Bing, Yahoo and so on, is one of the best ways to find new customers online. With DIY website builders, the help on hand to achieve this is limited and the effect of built-in SEO capability is often below par3.
3. Domain Name Restrictions
It’s important to have an easy to remember web address (or domain name) for your website. It’s what people will see in search engines and on your marketing materials. Most website builders don’t allow you to create your own domain name3, so instead of www.MyCateringBusiness.com, you’ll have WebSiteBuilder.MyCateringBusiness.org or something just as hideous.
4. Unintuitive Content Management Systems (CMS)
When you make changes, create new pages or edit your web content, you’ll use a CMS. Some of these website builders have a difficult to use CMS, which makes it hard to create new pages, edit content and make changes on your website4 quickly and simply. Some only let you build one page websites too, which is more restrictive than gardening in a straight jacket.
5. Inefficient Support
If you’re new to the internet or you’re creating your first business website, having support on hand when things go wrong is important. Some DIY web builders can take a while to respond to service requests, sometimes taking longer than a day to get back to you4. How many sales might you lose in 24 hours?
6. Poor e-Commerce Facilities
Few website builders come with e-commerce facilities either as standard or as an added extra, and those that do tend to be poorly executed. You might be able to get your online store up and running, but making any customized additions and specific changes is virtually impossible5, and expanding is also a challenge6.
7. Hard Blogging
When it comes to online marketing, blogging keeps your website fresh and is often the cornerstone of your user engagement. DIY website builders often make blogs difficult to customize, hard to maintain and they usually have less flexibility over RSS feeds7and social sharing. Some might not even help your SEO8, which is one of the primary reasons for blogging in the first place!
8. Sub-Standard Website Analytics
To make your website better and increase sales and leads, you need to know what’s happening on it; what your users are doing and why they’re leaving. You can use website analytics to do this, but many DIY website builders use old tracking scripts9, which lack accuracy, or only offer limited features10, which won’t help you make informed decisions.
Making the Right Choice
DIY website builders are well intended and mean no harm. As comparably cheap and easy to set up as they may, in some cases be, they almost certainly won’t meet your business needs and you’ll outgrow them quicker than a toddler does its shoes.
I’m yet to find a DIY website builder that can address each of the above points, like you would if you went to a proper development company. So don’t fall for the sales pitch; take your time, do your research, understand what you want, then speak to people (link to http://www.fasttrackteam.com/connect.aspx) who can help you achieve your goals properly.
This way, you’ll have a future proof, professional, unique and purpose-built website that will grow with your business and constantly meet your needs. And isn’t that what a website is supposed to do in the first place.