Hopefully, this short read will give you some answers to answering the question, Should I Use a Website Builder?.
If you have done any research into getting a website, I am sure you have come across the many different companies that are promoting ‘Web Builders’, ‘Block Builders’ or ‘Drag and Drop’ features. A few of the most popular ones are Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress.com.
I am sure there will be no surprise as to where my opinions lie but let me share my thoughts:
1. A web designer can save you time
If you are starting or trying to grow your business, you often don’t have time to spend building your website. It can be time-consuming going through all the different providers, setting up the hosting, domain registration, SSL installation, and then finally the actual task of designing and building your website. If you consider that your website is going to be your very own ‘storefront’ you want to make sure that you take your time and get it right to give your potential customers the best experience that they can have.
2. Avoid the learning curve
Granted the whole purpose of a page builder is to make it as easy as possible, but with doing anything new there is going to be a period of learning. You want to make sure you are fully aware of what you are doing and how to get the most out of the system that you are using. How long this takes does depend on each individual, but be ready to put in the time if needed.
3. Reduce unnecessary code
For a page builder to work it needs to have all the predefined options available coded into it. Even if you choose not to make use of a specific element, that code will still exist on your website. Having all this unnecessary code slows down your website which has a few knock-on effects. The Google search algorithms exclude websites with slow load speeds because they see this as a poor experience for their users. To make sure people continue to use Google as their browser of choice, they display websites with the best experience. It also isn’t unrealistic for people to give up waiting for your website to load, and just move on to another.
6. Looks cheap at first
I completely understand that the cheaper cost of using a page builder is the main draw. A lot of these companies start with advertising low monthly or yearly costs, but neglect to say what the ongoing costs will be as you move into year two and the hosting and domain needs to be renewed. This is often when they start to make back some of their money because you have spent the time and effort over the first year to get your website to a place where you are happy with it. This moves me nicely onto my next point.
7. Don’t get tied into one provider
Page builders often don’t allow access to the core files of your website. So moving to another website provider is often difficult or even impossible. If you have the core files, then there is no guarantee that they would be compatible with another web builder. You are then tied into that provider because moving would mean rebuilding your website from scratch.
Page builders often restrict your ability to do any real customisation and make your website unique. The setup mostly involves selecting a pre-built theme and then customising with the options that the theme has available. Some allow additional customisation but this often comes at an additional cost and requires experience in HTML and CSS.
5. Support when something goes wrong
It isn’t uncommon in the world of web design for something to go wrong at some point. Although a lot of ‘page builder’ companies will advertise that they offer support, it is often routed through a call centre with slow responses. There is no dedicated web designer responsible for ensuring your website is back up and running as quickly as possible. Also bear in mind that they wouldn’t have been involved with building the website at any point, so they won’t be familiar with the ins and outs of your website when trying to diagnose and fix any problems.
8. Make sure you’re getting everything you need
Of course, that being said there is always a place for a web builder. If you are interested in getting into web design then it is a great place to start. Likewise, if your budget won’t cover the cost of a web designer (whether myself or someone else) then it’s nice to know there is an option to tackle this yourself.
So Web Designer vs Web Builder? I will let you make your own choice. I know which way I would go so get in touch.