When is it OK (or not OK) to use Wix?
(Or Weebly or any other website builder). For anyone who is embarking on creating their own website and for those who have already created a website using a website builder, this article is for you.
What’s a website builder?
A website builder is any proprietary service that provides a way of you creating your own website with no prior knowledge or technical web design skills. There are many out there: Wix; Weebly; Squarespace etc. The service is web based, usually with pre-made templates and a drag-and-drop interface.
For solopreneurs, start ups and small businesses there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using a website builder to create a simple website presence. A brochure website it is sometimes called.
What’s a brochure website?
It’s a static online brochure, an online business card if you will, used to display information about your business, products, services and contact information. This type of website is all about your business which helps your business look credible and tangible. The website generally doesn’t grow over time with helpful articles for your customers.
A brochure website is what most people think a website is, and that would be correct if we were still in the early 2000's. Problem is that things have moved on since then and there is a heap more competition online.
For some businesses a brochure website is all they want or need and that's fine. For some though, the idea of having a website is to drive business and for that, you may need to up your game.
It’s OK to use a website builder if...
You want a brochure website and that’s it
You'll be able to create a simple website that people can visit to find out about your business. You might be limited when it comes to optimising your website to perform well in Google. You might be limited when it comes to making custom design changes to your website.
You want an easy to use, simple solution
You’re fine with not wanting to learn anything about the way that websites work, the code or how to get more traffic to your website.
You have a low budget
People choose to use website builders because they’re a relatively low cost way to create a simple website. Low cost relative to asking a web designer to develop a website for you.
You have spare time
With so many choices available many an hour can be spent researching into the best solution. You'll need plenty of spare time to learn how to use the software and create your website.
You have no plans on developing your website
Website builders are limited in capabilities. They're are simple to use but that also means dumbing things down to achieve that. You may be faced with having to recreate your website from scratch to achieve your new goals down the track if you need to do more than your website builder will allow.
You are ok with the costs and the commitment
Website builders are subscription based. You never really ‘own’ the website and if you're ever faced with an unwanted price hike or find out that their customer support is terrible and want to move away, you're going to be faced with having to recreate your website from scratch.
It’s NOT OK to use a website builder if...
You have plans to grow
There is no point in wasting time and money on website builders if you goals include using your website as a marketing tool that drives business. The platforms are too restrictive.
You want a professional, custom design that's consistent with your brand
There are too many restrictions with these template based services. Any that are freeform have bloated code that slow your website down. If you want to present your information, your way avoid them.
You want to drive business using your website
By regularly creating engaging, educational and effective content with well placed calls to action your website will provide you a return on your investment.
You want to get more traffic to your website through people searching on Google
Getting more traffic from search engines is of major importance. More traffic = more enquiries. Being found on Google for the keywords that matter means creating content specifically matching those keywords. The more keywords you want to rank for the more targeted content you'll have to create.
You want to grow your business online
Instead of letting your website grow old and neglected you want to evolve it over time, keep it fresh and relevant and use it as a tool that sets you apart from the masses of brochure websites out there.
It’s best to think about the big picture when trying to decide what the best course of action is with your yet-to-be-built website. If you truely just want a simple brochure website, to be in total control and you have the time spare, then by all means save that money and do-it-yourself with a website builder.
You know what your ideas are for your website, a quick and easy solution might be good in the short term but if there is any inkling that you might want more, then don’t use a website builder as it will come back to bite you.
If you are one of the unfortunate ones who has already spent time, energy and money on building their website using a website builder and now regret that because you want more out of it, my advice is to cut your losses, take the plunge and move now. You'll benefit from it quickly and recreating your website in a better way will not be as hard as the slog that you have already put in from the beginning. The structure and content is all there ready to go.