So, What’s The Deal With Website Builders?
There’s no denying that a template-based website is an excellent place to start if you’re a small business. The keyword there is “small business.” They are easy to get off the ground, build, manage, and so on. But, the easy ride runs out of runway after a while, and especially if you’re an enterprise-level business, this can cause significant problems for you later on. The short of it is that template-based websites lack originality, don’t give the user much control, generally have poor SEO functionality, and can tend to upcharge users for wanting to add on additional features.
We could end this blog here and say, “if you’re looking for something easy, then go to Squarespace.” but if you want something unique to your brand, gives you the power to decide what and how you want it to look, actually helps you drive traffic and doesn’t have a million hidden costs, then you’ll want to read on about why a template-based website might not be the best choice after all.
Design Problems With Website Builders
When it comes to template-based websites, there are a finite amount of templates out there, and many people use these services. (Squarespace has over 3.79 million users alone.) With a limited number of templates comes the ever-increasing chance that you will come across a website that looks like yours, even if your businesses are entirely different. Since a website is part of a brand strategy, it should be as unique as your business or brand. Standing out from the crowd is vital for a company’s success, especially in larger sectors like healthcare or insurance, where not standing out can cost you customers.
You may think, “well, I can just customize my website to the gills with every feature they offer!.” Sure, you could. But, those features are limited, and these services usually only allow the customization of text, images, and basic layouts. They offer very few code injection features, even fewer third-party widgets, and limited plugins. In short, going with a web design agency will be your best bet because the design expertise and customization opportunities alone will pay dividends in the future, especially as your business grows.
SEO Issues with Template-based Websites
Next up on the cons of template-based websites is the plethora of SEO issues that come with website builders. These DIY website builder services have never had great SEO functionality, and if nobody is going to see the site you’re building, why spend the time doing it? For starters, you won’t have access to the website’s code, which renders some elements of on-site and technical SEO inaccessible. Most builder sites level out at allowing you to change the page titles, the meta descriptions, and URLs, none of which directly affect position rankings.
Website builders like Squarespace or Wix usually have large amounts of bloated code due to the website’s ability to “offer every possible option.” Even if you don’t have a specific template or layout visible, that code is still in there, resulting in a slower load time impacting search engine rankings.
Finally, there are the crawler issues. Google uses bots to crawl websites in search of keywords to show the website in a search. These bots can have a hard time crawling sites that have been created in a builder, meaning no matter how much key-wording and content work you put in, your site will have a hard time showing up on search engines.
The True Cost Of A Website Builder
Finally, on our list of cons of template-based websites are all the random hidden expenses and upsells baked into these builders. How much does Squarespace really cost? For the basic plan, you’re paying $16/month if you get billed annually. Monthly is $23 just for the basic plan. Once you exhaust the limited features, it goes to $33/month for the “business” account. Eventually, you’ll need to come out of the basic plan and into the higher tiers. The higher tiers will allow you to add an e-commerce section, get priority support, add product reviews and more. Still, you’ll be paying significantly more per month, which is money that could be used to work with an award-winning web design agency.
Why Not Do It Right With a Web Design Agency?
At the end of the day, if you’re a small business, chances are you don’t need to hire a web design agency to build you a customizable website yet. However, if you’re a midsize to enterprise business with big plans for 2023 and beyond, using a template-based website will cause problems for you down the road. You’ll have to redo the site once you exhaust all of its features completely, costing you more money, time, and headaches than if you just did it right the first time.
But who are we to tell you what to do? We’re just the best damn digital marketing agency in NJ that’s built some amazing custom websites for ourselves over the past year for brands like coverwhale.com, carecentrix.com, stephenscup.com, and more, including our own site (looks great, doesn’t it.)
If you’re looking for custom website development that’s going to represent your brand and grow with you, drop us a line.