Small business owners are likely to try to do everything related to their business by themselves. That includes building their own business website. With all of the “easy, cheap, no-learning-curve” site- builders, like GoDaddy, VistaPrint, Weebly, SquareSpace, Wix, etc., it can be tempting to save a few dollars. Without naming names, here are some reasons that might be a mistake.
Site-Builders aren’t really as EASY as they’re made out to be.
Everything has a learning curve. Building a website with a site builder is no different. It may take less time to learn than building a site from scratch, but there is still a learning curve. Do you have the time or inclination to learn another skill with all you have on your plate?
Designs are website templates.
Templates look like templates! They lack design expertise and are often impossible to brand. These templates offer little flexibility and cookie cutter sites can’t grab your visitor’s attention. Some less expensive site-builders actually have ads! In short, most template sites don’t look very professional. Don’t expect that a build-it-yourself website will have a custom design.
Don’t change anything!
With a site-builder you pick a template, add images and content. Do you want to change something? Sorry, that’s not usually possible. Can you brand the site with your colors and logo? Sometimes, but not always. What about adding a third-party plugin? Again, that’s not possible. This is not a custom design.
A responsive website is mobile and tablet friendly. Smart phone users topped 3 Billion in 2018. According to Iron Paper:
“62% of companies which designed their website(s) for mobile platforms increased their sales and 64% of companies that designed their website for tablets increased sales.”
Google and Bing don’t like it if your website isn’t mobile-friendly. Not all site builders provide responsiveness.
No Blog? How about tracking traffic to your site? Is your SEO working for you? What about site speed? What else is missing?
Some site builders don’t have a blog. They consider a blog to be a separate website. It’s impossible to do content marketing without a blog. And, remember, content marketing is very important if you want your site to be found in search engines. Content marketing also keeps your visitors returning.
Some site builders don’t have an analytic feature so you can track visitors to your site. Again, how can you know if your site is working without this feature? Your website should be working for your business and you need to be able to track its successes and failures.
Can Google find your site? Many site builder websites aren’t optimized for search engines. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is important and an ongoing issue. In fact, there is some debate about how Google ranks out-of-the-box websites.
In addition to these problems, site builder websites are often slow loading. Did you know that if a site doesn’t load within 3 seconds, 40% of visitors gravitate away?
Are you good at copywriting? How good are your Photoshop skills?
What does “copywriting” even mean? Copywriting is the content you put on your website. It should draw your visitor in and can determine whether or not that visitor becomes a customer. Do you have writing skills? If not, you may want to consider hiring a copywriter.
Images on your site need to be optimized so they load quickly. There’s nothing worse than waiting and waiting for a site to load because its images are too large. If they aren’t done correctly they can look amateurish.
Who owns your site?
Well, the answer is, not you. As your business grows and you want to change or add to your website, you will need to start over from scratch. Site builders own your information and they don’t allow you to export it when you quit paying their monthly fee. All of the good points you gain with Google are lost when you start over with a new site. Who is collecting your customer emails and who owns the rights to them?
As long as you pay your monthly fee, you’ll have a website. What happens when the site builder changes the rules? Facebook recently did this in response to privacy concerns. Site builders are free to make changes at any time. Those changes might not be beneficial to you.
All site builders say they have support to help you build your site. Of course, some don’t even list a phone number. If they do have telephone support it can be a long wait. I called one of these companies the other day because of a problem they created, and I was 222nd in the wait line. I don’t know about you, but I have better things to do with my time.
Of course, you can get your support from a chat box. Those are always fun. My own experience is after spending at least a half hour waiting for replies from a chat box person, they still don’t know how to solve my problem. There’s something beneficial about being able to talk person-to-person.
Many site builders have free or inexpensive sites but charge for support.
Cheap is cheap!
Yes, site builders are much less expensive than having a designer build your website. Maybe it’s the place you want to start because a start-up always should be counting pennies. Remember, though, sometimes when you set out to save money it can backfire and end up costing you more. How much is your time worth? Consider all your options for building your website. A custom designed site might save you money in the long run. Don’t forget, it’s an investment that bring customers to your door.