You’ve decided, you need a website for your business. You quickly realize this task is easier said than done. Do you hire a professional designer/developer or make it yourself? How much can you afford to spend? $2,000? $5,000? $10,000?!
If your answer was under $2,000, chances are you’ve probably already looked into using a popular website builder to create your online presence. If you haven't, I can almost guarantee you that whoever you’re hiring at this price point will be utilizing them in some capacity. Services like WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix have gotten immensely popular with small business owners and entrepreneurs alike for this exact reason, they’re budget-friendly.
What’s the Catch?
To the untrained eye and with a talented enough designer, you can make a website that looks fantastic with these services. But what lies beneath the surface of your website can be what’s holding you and your business back from reaching their full potential. Unless you’re a tech geek, you might never have any idea that these issues exist, so I put together the following list of the most commonly overlooked drawbacks of using a web builder for your site!
No Coding Skills Needed
But isn’t that a plus? Hold on, not necessarily. If you have a $0 dollar budget and need to make a website quickly for yourself, then this is great news for you. Having the ability to make a website without coding know-how is an amazing thing. But if you’re hiring a developer to do it for you, these web builders attract developers with limited coding knowledge of what’s going on behind the scenes. Don’t get me wrong, there are some fantastic developers that utilize these web builders for certain use cases, but there are also tons that use them to pump out websites at a fast clip without any knowledge of how to optimize it for the web. Please, don’t hire these people!
Website builders are complex, they ship with a lot of code you don’t see and rely on a large community of developers for plugins and features you may or may not want to add to your site. This creates a lot of security overhead that your website probably doesn’t warrant. If you're building a simple static website, there shouldn’t be any risk of attack in the hands of the right developer. Just google “WordPress hack” and see for yourself!
Your website looks fantastic, but can people find it? Search engine optimization (SEO) is one the most commonly overlooked components in websites and it's a shame, isn’t the whole point of making this thing for people to find it in a google search? Going back to our favorite website builder, you don’t have full control over the structure of the code or site layout, all things that Google takes into consideration when it’s ranking your site.
Sites built with a website builder are just never going to be as fast a site built by a talented website developer, period. Why can I say this with such conviction? In order for these web builder services to allow no-code customization, they have to launch with a lot of processes going on behind the scenes. This means more code and more time to process your website each time a user visits it. There is a trade-off between speed and ease of creation, causing your website built with these services to be launched with much more bloat then if it was built from scratch. The 1 to 4 seconds of load time might not matter to you at all, but it might be the difference between a 5% or 50% bounce rate from your site. This is a trade-off you should be aware of!
Arguably the biggest selling point for these web builder services is a way for the non-coder to update content on their website. However, you are stuck doing things the "Squarespace way” if you are building a Squarespace site and their way just might not work for you. The dashboards on these services often mix developer and client features and can be confusing to navigate, leading to error-prone editing of your website. With the modern web technology stack, there is no reason that a developer worth their salt shouldn’t be able to offer content management solutions for your site, and this gives you options to find the best solution for your needs.
So, what’s the solution?
Full disclosure, this is the way we believe to be the best way to build a website in the modern web as of 2020, and it’s the way we at Built Better Technology do it on a daily basis. It’s definitely not the only way, but we find it works pretty well!
Option #1: No budget to under $2,000
If you have little to no budget, your business probably isn’t at the point where it needs a fantastic online experience, yet - you just need something up. In this case, I’d highly recommend learning to use SquareSpace, WordPress, Wix, etc. over the course of a weekend and just getting something up yourself. It might not be the prettiest thing and it certainly won’t be the most optimized, but I would be very wary of the quality of service you’ll be getting by hiring someone at this price point. In my experience, you’ll just end up paying someone again in a year or two’s time to redo the whole site once your business can afford it.
Option #2: Any Other Budget
Hire a professional and ask questions in detail about how they will be building your website. If your developer knows what they are doing, I don’t see any reason to build a website on a web-builder service for any budget. With that being said, getting even a simple single landing page built the right way for under $2,000 is probably not worth the developer’s time to design, implement and host it, which is why I recommend waiting in that case.
We hope this sheds some light on the options you have for creating your business’s online presence, if you have any more questions, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Thanks for reading!