As websites are becoming more and more vital, DIY options such as Wix and SquareSpace are on the rise. At first, these may seem like great options. You get a template to build off of, they’re affordable, and they seem to do half the work for you.
But the truth is, DIY website options have some downfalls when compared to custom design. Here are a few.
Your design won’t be all that unique.
Chances are, quite a few others out there have built from the same template you chose for your site. Sure, their colors and fonts may differ, but the overall bones of the site are the same. You’re also pretty limited when it comes to custom design. For simple sites and businesses just wanting to get some form of web presence, this may be fine. But if you hope to grow and use your site for other things, such as lead captures, you may want to rethink a DIY builder.
It’s not as free as it sounds.
Many people lean toward Wix, SquareSpace and similar builders because they claim to be free. But the truth is that if you want a professional looking site without their branding, you typically have to pay a monthly or annual fee. And the fee often depends on the type of site you’ve built. You also still have to purchase a domain. And, if you want to connect tracking or analytics of any kind, you also need to be on a paid plan. (See the below pricing chart for the various paid Wix plans and what each includes beyond the free plan)
You can’t always change your mind.
Say you’ve built a site using a specific template, but down the road you decide you want a new look. You’d think it would be as easy as choosing a new template, but unfortunately that’s not how it works with every DIY builder. In order to get a new look, you have to start completely over with a new template. If you have a pretty small website, this may be manageable. But for websites with tons of pages, it would likely take ages to redesign.
You can’t (easily) grow past such builders.
One of the biggest pitfalls of Wix specifically is that when your business outgrows it, you can’t simply transfer your content to another system, like WordPress. Instead, you have to start completely from scratch. This is good for Wix, and bad for you. If you plan to stay pretty small as a business, or just need a site to explain what you do, Wix may be fine. But when it comes to growth, you’re going to be pretty limited. Other DIY builders also limit the types of content that can be transferred, which makes the process tougher. In the end, the fact remains that most businesses end up moving to WordPress after they outgrow a DIY builder…so why not start with WordPress?
You may end up dropping money on outside apps.
While DIY builders can handle the majority of things expected for a website, there are a few places in which they falls short and third-party apps have to be used. Some of these apps are free, but a good number of them require that you have a premium plan. And even then, there are certain limits. Take the Wix Bookings app for example. Say you have a B&B with three rooms to rent, but you also want to make the house as a whole available for rent. You can’t. It’s as simple as that. Bookings is also limited in the fact that you can’t require approval before a booking is complete. If you want those options, your best bet is going to be embedding different reservation software.
Help may be harder to come by.
DIY builders often have good knowledge bases, but if you can’t find your answer there, you’ll likely end up waiting a bit to hear back from support — sometimes even a few business days. In contrast, working with a small business on custom design often means access to better support with real humans.
Search Engine Optimization(SEO) could be lacking.
While site builders like Wix do allow users to edit page titles and metadata, the options to do so are a little buried and easy to miss for someone new to web design. Additionally, the sites don’t provide thorough education on what SEO is and how to best reach your SEO goals. SEO can often go overlooked with DIY builders, which in turn can mean your business is missing opportunities. With custom design, you’ll likely get certain SEO aspects built into your site by knowledgeable experts, and may be offered the option of adding additional tools to boost your SEO.
Of course, DIY builders will get you by. But when creating a website, it’s worth examining what your future goals for your business and website are. In some cases, considering this may lead to realize it’s worth investing more in your site in the beginning so it can grow with you as needed.