101 reasons not to use a website builder.
We’ve all seen the adverts about building our own website for free here’s the ultimate 101 list of why that’s a bad idea.
Warning: This blog is blunt and to the point and at times a little ranty.
1) You will be totally on your own with no access to expert advice from qualified professionals. Would you remove your own tooth?
2) Who will care when things go wrong? You need a real person that cares as much about your site as you do.
3) The technology might well let you down when you need it most, like getting found online.
4) You WILL waste hours of your life trying to learn about things you didn’t even know existed.
5) Some website builders can’t even be verified in Google Webmaster tools, a critical tool for any website.
6) People will wait hours for it to load, well seconds but that’s the same thing in the internet world of instant or nothing.
7) Are you a designer? No. Then the chances of getting a site that looks sensational is pretty slim, think paint by numbers compared to a Picasso.
8) Flash (ah-ha) is a cool but old technology that won’t show on many devices and will actively get you punished in search engines for being old-school. Free website builders often use flash. This just sucks.
9) Rubbish analytics. What’s the point in having a site if you can’t see how people are using it or what’s working for your business?
10) Lack of integration, critical things like using re-targeting pixels just can’t happen in some of these website builders.
11) You’re not sure what re-targeting is and the website builder isn’t going to explain that to you or how much you need to be using them in your online marketing.
12) If you are not going to invest money in yourself why should a customer? A free site is as good as free business cards, it makes you look cheap and not worth investing in.
13) Advertising THEM as in, this site was created by a free website builder.com all over your site where YOUR most important messages should be going.
14) Some website builders use a site structure that is actively search engine UN-friendly because it does not allow you to use unique title tags or meta descriptions which are crucial for SEO.
15) Being a Web Developer IS a thing, like being a Doctor IS a thing, seriously don’t offend us by telling us it’s easy and anyone can do it for free online.
16) You’ll be a copycat. If these sites really are hosting 60 million users on 100’s of template choices where is the room for your personality and brand?
17) Who’s helping you think through Call To Actions and making them prominent on the site so users actually act (assuming they did actually find you in the first place).
18) Are you thinking mobile friendly? Will the site even display on a mobile where up to 1 in 2 local searches are made from?
19) You will have to web optimise every image yourself using something like Photoshop to get the best results from your images on the web.
20) ‘It’s Easy’ is a lie. Fact. Web design isn’t easy.
21) Do you understand user experience on the web? No. That’s why you need someone who does.
22) You won’t get the answers to split test results by using a website builder.
23) You don’t even like using technology for emails and hate shopping on-line but you want to build an entire website?
24) No-one is there to help you improve the site.
25) You will have to shoulder all the stress that goes along with building a website.
26) Even the most basic site will take a web developer a solid week to get right, do you have that time to take out of working on your business?
27) If you’re not going to invest in the site build then you probably won’t invest in copy either and that’s crucial if you want people to take action after they land on your site.
28) In most cases people choose a website to get more customers. A piss poor impression of your business will NOT help you get more customers.
29) You are simply not taking your marketing seriously, so why would anyone take you seriously?
30) You are totally familiar with robot.txt files and know exactly how they work, so you will be totally OK with this.
31) W3C standards will go out of the window and this matters for search engine optimisation.
32) Your site might not work across different browsers, which is a shame because people use lots of different browsers.
33) They are the work of the devil.
34) Then you can’t add the PayPal buttons you actually need to have to take payment on the site.
35) Custom API’s – not a chance.
36) Useful functions that make people return to your site, nope.
37) Just because you don’t see the code it doesn’t mean it’s not important. That’s like saying I don’t need to look after my heart, it’s hidden in my ribcage.
38) You can’t save backups if you want to try something new.
39) Your branding and design will be dictated to you.
40) You can’t code different layouts for different devices which is poor in today’s modern device rich world.
41) Countdown clocks work to increase urgency on your site, but they might not be compatible with your website builder technology.
42) Headliners, who is writing your high converting headlines with every trick in the book in them?.
43) That ‘magic button’ that does XYZ just isn’t an option.
44) You can’t move your website to another hosting provider.
45) Some website builders don’t even use web safe fonts, ones that can be read by all browsers.
46) You could be locked into template footers that cannot be edited.
47) Those annoying pop-ups encouraging you to upgrade to pro every 5 minutes whilst you’re building the site.
48) People actually review website builders as though there is a ‘best’ choice.
49) Depending on the builder you may still have to navigate FTP protocols which are a bit daunting if you haven’t a technical bone in your body.
50) They can be really convoluted to use.
51) Activate your Gamesville account – erm I thought I was building a website here and doing serious marketing stuff.
52) Actually mentioning serious marketing have you defined your audience yet? That’s a key part of a professional development process you will be missing.
53) Application conflicts happen, so you get one bit working and it breaks another bit.
54) Browser updates can wipe away your hard work overnight and there is nothing you can do about it.
55) They spend lots of money on advertising and not on the development of a quality site for you.
56) It probably won’t integrate with your CRM.
57) < a href= "what goes here?">or here</a>
58) You’ll probably have no access to your servers.
59) Using in line CSS doesn’t matter anyway right?
60) Cool s**t that’s totally awesome just won’t happen.
61) What happens when the development team behind the product give up and stop developing? You are left with an outdated site on outdated technology and having to start all over again.
62) You get absolutely NOTHING that is customised to you, no unique features, no special little quirks, nothing.
63) Who’s setting you your XML site map?
64) Linking to a membership area might simply not be an option.
65) Can you add your Facebook custom audience pixel to capture visitors to your website? Possibly not.
66) Will your CRM tracking work on the site without breaking it? Maybe.
67) Who’s helping you to ‘fit’ your website into your overall marketing strategy?
68) Going for an eCommerce site, you are very likely to have your payment provider dictated to you, even if they do not operate in your country.
69) You might not be able to create customised forms for people to enquire, that’s one of the fundamentals of building a site right?
70) Setting up global elements, i.e. those that appear on every page, might not be that easy, or actually impossible in some places.
71) Where is your 404 page?
72) You will miss out on ideas that could generate you sales.
73) No-one will help you to decide on page titles that are effective for SEO.
74) Very interesting insights about your whole sales funnel will be missing.
75) Who’s doing your keyword research?
76) Where are your customer insights coming from, what is their single biggest challenge your website is going to solve?
77) What colour should your call to action button be to increase conversions? Does your website builder answer this question for you?
78) Can you split test different pages for optimum conversion? No.
79) Can you host an order button with a hidden form? Proven to increase conversions by up to 66%.
80) Are you in full control of your form layout so you can present it as a conversation? Unlikely. This will harm form submission stats.
81) Do you have a feature box element? These can increase conversion rates by up to 63%
82) Switching templates to another design, you could well lose everything, content images everything, poof!
83) Will you be able to add a ‘recent customers’ widget that has been shown to increase sales by 5%?
84) Did your website builder mention that by law you must include your registered company number and address on your website?
85) FREE is not a good choice.
86) The security of your site is outside of your control.
87) Your data is going where?
88) The language your website is written in will affect its performance, is your code the most up to date language it could be?
89) Are you now wondering what we mean by language? Code is written in different languages for different purposes and different servers.
90) Have you got full control over the display of your URL so you can be search engine ready?
91) Will your online website builder allow you to organise your directory structure in a way which will satisfy the search engines?
92) Your button style is limited, so those big annoying buttons that increase conversions by 33% are a no-no.
93) Using micro-commitment surveys can boost sign up rates by 95% but they probably won’t work with your online website builder, hey ho.
94) The never ending ‘today only’ offers to upgrade to premium packages.
95) Your FREE site will not reflect your brands quality and professionalism.
96) You will probably use stock images or steal them from Google. Both are bad for you.
97) Another is defining the purpose of the site and why people will visit it, what value are you adding to the web?
98) By their very nature, website builders add more ‘stuff’ to the site than you need to run a smooth and fast website.
99) “Even children can build a free website” is the same as saying “even a child could run your company!”
100) If you can’t afford a website there are better ways to be found on-line, even a well built and publicised Facebook or LinkedIn profile would do you more good.
101) If you’re not investing in your marketing and sales, you are not investing in the growth of your business, that is a very scary place to be.