It pains me to see these advertisements on TV for website builder services. It’s painful because I know these “website builders” are actually pretty lousy services that are either not friendly when it comes to SEO and/or are outrageously expensive. Yet these services are ridiculously popular, even having enough marketing money to show TV ad after TV ad and I always wonder why?
I know the answer to my own question of course. It’s simple, newbies who want to own their very own website are not knowledgeable about what service they should use. They hear the words “website builder” and immediately think: Easy for me to create my very own website…
And it’s true, website builders like Web, Wix and Weebly make it all relatively easy for new users to create their own website. Unfortunately there are no shortage of problems when using services like these. These range from hidden fees, being SEO unfriendly and limited pages in the ‘free’ version.
Here are some of the main problems with using website building services, most of which you wouldn’t know about until after already creating your website with these builders and thus experiencing the unpleasantness firsthand.
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1. Outrageous Prices and Hidden Fees
I hate hidden fees or puffed up “low” prices. What I mean by that is that some website builders advertise a low price, but when you actually read the fine print the price tends to be far higher than what you think it will be. For example, here is the “introductory” price for Web.com:
Only $1.95 a month! Wow, that’s so low, except this is the introductory price. If you navigate to the “1” at the bottom of the page, read the statement, click on “services agreement”, navigate to “website builder 1 month” and read that paragraph you will find out that after the first month you will be paying a whooping $22.95 per billing cycle (every four weeks):
This is a ridiculous amount of money. Using a webhost like GreenGeeks, you can have your website up and running (via WordPress) in less than an hour and only need to spend $4~ a month.
2. Not SEO Friendly
Many web builders have been steadily improving in regards to SEO, but they still can’t hold a candle to software such as WordPress (which Google loves). While it’s not impossible to rank high when using a web builder, it’s still far easier to rank with a WordPress blog, not only because of how WordPress blogs are coded but also because WordPress has plenty of great SEO plugins to help you along the way.
This isn’t just my opinion. Matt Cutts, the guy who runs the anti-spam team at Google says: “WordPress automatically solves a ton of SEO issues.” Honestly, that’s reason enough for me to keep using WordPress to build websites. And no, he does not say similar things about website builders.
3. Bland Templates
I don’t want to call any specific web builder out, but most of these services’ templates look god awful. There’s no better way to get your visitors to leave your website than to have a crappy design. I mean even the free WordPress themes look way better than most of the website builder templates.
4. Mobile Friendly?
This really depends on the service you use. Some web builders look terrible on mobile devices. That said, many of the better known web builders like Wix have caught up with the times and now have a way for their users to have a mobile friendly website.
5. Not Too Customizable
I am so used to WordPress and the massive amount of customization options that (depending on the theme) come with it, then I look at these DIY builders and go…EWW. When you compare the amount of customizations they offer to WordPress…well, there really is no comparison.
WordPress themes, especially premium themes, come with a huge amount of customization options and plugins that allow you to turn your blog into a professional looking website that will keep visitors clicking (which is great for SEO).
6. I’m Used to Plugins
This is my personal pet peeve. I am a WordPress user and have been for several years now. I’m such a fan, in part, because of the extended functionality you are able to add to your website with WordPress plugins. There’s no going back now. If you are a WordPress user reading this you know exactly what I mean.
7. Only a Few Pages
Using the free option on these web builders you are only able to have a few webpages on your website. This is fine if you are looking to create something simple like a profile of yourself or a simple frontpage with a contact page. But for those who want to build a professional website, one that possibly makes money in the future and attracts a large readership, then you are going to need more than a few pages.
8. Ads That Aren’t Yours
I am not going to fault the web builders much for this since many free Web Hosting services do the same thing. Just know that if you plan on going free then you will have to deal with ads that aren’t yours on your website.
9. No Variety of Theme/Template Options
If you are using a web builder then chances are you are not going to have much variety when compared to WordPress. For example, WordPress has thousands of free themes, not to mention thousands more premium themes. The best thing about them is that you can customize them and make them look far different, even from websites that use the exact same theme you are using. With web builder templates that is not the case.
Why Do People Use Website Builders?
With so many big drawbacks, why do people use website builders in the first place? Well, to put it bluntly, it’s because they don’t know any better. They don’t know that there are better alternatives out there. Not only better, but cheaper as well.
Here’s a nugget I found online a while ago that’s a good ‘picture form’ of what I’m trying to say (found on the Moz.com community page):
Like I said, people just don’t know that there are far better options out there. WordPress being the best alternative to using a website builder, at least in my opinion. But there are certainly other blog software to use rather than WordPress. If you want to build your own WordPress website then head over to our home page and get started by reading through our tutorial (it only takes 30 minutes or so to completely set up).
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