If you own one of the millions of small businesses whose website was built with a DIY builder, we’ve got some news for you: That drag-and-drop platform that advertised itself as easy, beautiful, and affordable is anything but. In fact, it’s actually hurting your business as we speak.
DIY website builders often come with a whole slew of problems that don’t manifest themselves until you’ve already used up your web design budget. From hidden costs to unoriginal designs and crippled SEO, here are some of the biggest ways a DIY website can spell disaster for your business.
1. Hidden costs that drive you over budget
DIY website builders often use a low price point as a selling point. But if your business needs anything more than the most basic functionality, you’re almost guaranteed to spend more. Want to set up an online store where customers can purchase your products? There’s a fee for that. Need an appointment booking software for your medical practice? There’s a fee for that, too. Want a different design theme, 24/7 phone support, site backups, or malware monitoring? You guessed it — you’ll have to pay extra for them.
Once you get past those initial charges to set up your website, you may still be in for a nasty surprise. Many DIY website builders entice customers with deeply discounted costs for the first year or two. Unfortunately, by that time most people have forgotten that their annual website costs were set to double or triple. Suddenly, you’re give the choice of paying hundreds of dollars or losing your website — which for most businesses really isn’t an option.
Before you know it, what you thought was a cost-effective solution has cost you as much if not more than you would have spent on a professional design team, and in exchange, you’ve got a lower-quality website.
2. Lost hours on your end
Building a website is a massive project that takes months to complete, even for a professional web design agency with multiple people working on the project at once. If you don’t have a professional web designer on your team — and we’re guessing you don’t, since you’re reading this article — you can expect that timeline to be considerably longer.
That’s a lot of employee hours to spend on one project, especially one you’re not getting paid for.
Now add the cost of those hours to the cost of your website builder and add-ons. It’s not looking so affordable anymore, is it?
3. Limited troubleshooting from customer support
One of the biggest problems with DIY website builders is the incredibly limited tech support. Many builders require you to pay extra for that support, and even then, it’s not always helpful. After all, you’re asking someone who didn’t build the site to identify and solve whatever went wrong, and that’s not always possible.
This kind of support also doesn’t monitor your site constantly, which means that when something goes wrong, your site’s visitors will likely notice it before you or your support team do. Ultimately, this can cost you immediate sales and discourage potential customers from returning in the future.
4. Unoriginal or “cheap” customizations
Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, put it best when he said, “If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” Unfortunately, bad design is usually what you get with DIY website builders.
The limited number of themes and templates offered all tend to look fairly similar, and there are literally thousands of other websites using the same theme. Wix, for example, gives their 100 million users roughly 500 templates to choose from, meaning your website will look just like 200,000 other websites. Squarespace sites tend to be even more similar, with millions of users choosing from only about 80 themes.
This means that unless you pay extra for functions like appointment booking or e-commerce, all you really get is a page that’s identical to someone else’s.
Your visitors are bound to recognize the similarities between your site and someone else’s, especially if you didn’t pay to remove the builder’s logo and information from your site. 48% of people say a website’s design is the number 1 factor in determining a business’s credibility, while 94% said web design was the reason they rejected a website as untrustworthy. That Wix logo hanging out in your footer tells customers you didn’t care enough about your own business to spring for a professionally built website, so why should they trust you care about them or their business?
Here’s a how-to guide for getting the best of both affordable and custom web design.
5. Crippled SEO results
After an algorithm update in 2015, websites built with Wix stopped showing up in Google’s index and rankings. While that issue was resolved, it speaks to a larger issue: DIY website builders and Google don’t mix.
This is because many DIY website builders use Flash, which Google strongly discourages. Not only is Flash not compatible with smartphones and tablets, which make up 51.3% of all website visits, but it also doesn’t use seprate URLs for different pages. Flash also doesn’t monitor outbound links, and it increases page load times. All of this goes against Google’s recommended best practices and guarantees you a lower spot in search results, less traffic to your site, and fewer sales from the people who visit.
Want to learn how to make your site accessible for all of those mobile users? Read our previous blog, 4 Reasons Why You Need to Make Mobile Web Design a Priority.
Don’t let a DIY website drag you down
If you’re struggling to keep your business afloat with a DIY website, our team at Trajectory Web Design can help. We’ll design a fully custom website that loads quickly, is responsive across all devices, is easy to manage, and functions flawlessly for your visitors. Learn more about our process today, or contact us to get started.