Website builders are getting more and more popular. Free or nearly free, they seem to be a great alternative to a custom website that requires coding knowledge, time and financial investment. But before you opt for using a DIY website builder, you should carefully consider their hidden limitations.
What is a website builder?
A website builder is a tool for creating a website without any coding. Using a DIY approach with a drag and drop editor, you don’t need any design or development experience to build pages and create their layout. You may actually have heard of some of the most famous website builder tools such as Wix, Squarespace or GoDaddy.
This approach to building website sounds great if you have a limited budget and don’t want to engage with a web designer and coding expert. But will it be good for achieving your long-term digital goals? We have gathered the five key limitations that you should not underestimate when considering building your website yourself.
Major website builders limitations
1. User experience optimisation
Obviously, you need a website that will be successful in generating leads and optimising conversions. This is mostly achieved if you stand out in the overcrowded online world. How do you achieve this? By a tailored customer experience that balances visual and text usage in a compelling way. In fact, user experience optimisation has the potential to raise conversions by as much as 400%.
With a web builder, you are limited by preset templates that are pretty rigid in terms of design and layout. They do not give you the freedom to adapt your content based on an ideal user experience or observations you may make over time on customer behaviour. If your website does not perform as required with a high bounce rate, it is very likely user experience is your main issue.
Many people have also expressed that the end product doesn’t quite look right. When publishing the website on a website builder, it rarely looks like the preview. As a result, you may have spent a lot of time to reach a design quality you are happy with, but the final outcome doesn’t look like you intended.
Another key factor for your website to be successful is through the implementation of a strong SEO strategy. According to Hubspot, 70-80% of search engine users are only paying attention to organic results. Whether you are a small or big business, you need SEO to survive and thrive.
Most website builders will provide you with the fundamentals for setting up your SEO such as meta tags, page descriptions or alt tags for pictures. However, they won’t allow you to implement SEO techniques that are key for you to be on the first search page.
For instance, one of the crucial components for SEO performance is your site structure. Most website builder tools won’t allow you to define levels for your URLs which will most likely prevent Google from awarding you with sitelinks. I recommend you have a read of this article from Neil Patel which will explain why a site structure strategy is key for SEO.
3. Mobile responsiveness
Do not underestimate the importance of mobile responsiveness for your website. The use of mobile phones to browse the web is nowadays more important than desktop traffic, accounting for 60% of website access. Among these mobile users, 40% will go to a different search result if the first one is not mobile-friendly.
But how do you get your site mobile responsive? Well, coding is actually necessary for optimising mobile viewing on your website. As a result, website builders have very limited functions for optimising mobile views, often not displaying your content into an ideal look and feel.
4. Data ownership
There are a lot of scenarios that may force you to move your website to a new platform. For example, if you are experiencing low conversions or a high bounce rate because of the lack of mobile responsiveness, you definitely need to consider updating your website design on a new platform.
Unfortunately, website builders don’t let you own the design of your website, preventing you from migrating your existing design to new platforms. Instead of improving your existing website, you will have to start from scratch, representing significant time and financial investment.
(Source: Good Firm)
Nothing is actually free. Website builders generate revenues through two main sources – advertising and service upgrades. If you are opting for a free website option, there is a good chance that your provider will run external advertisements on your website pages in unwanted places.
Furthermore, most web builders require their branding to be displayed on your site. Located either in the footer or the header of your pages, your audience will know that you are using a website builder.
Given that most people judge the quality of a business based on the quality of their website, these external ads and brand elements could have a negative impact on the perception your audience may have of your brand.
In the end, you get what you pay for. If you are looking for a website that generates leads and optimises conversions in the long run, we strongly advise you get a custom solution. The upfront investment is higher but the return is ultimately much greater.
Do not hesitate to contact us if you need advice or support for your web project.
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