The intention of website builders is for people without programming skills to be able to build their own website. A few examples you may have heard of are Weebly, Wix, and Yola to name a few.
Typically a website builder tries to make it as easy as possible for non-programmers and has easy-to-use functionality such as the ability to drag and drop the pieces into place. That may sound very attractive but there is a trade-off between sophisticated marketing functionality and trying to make the website builder easy to use.
Here are the challenges you may experience with a website builder:
Learning curve and usability issues
- Limited functionality, you have to pay more if you want the full functionality.
- Difficult to customise and change.
- You will need to spend hours on tutorials and Frequently Asked Questions in order to learn your way around the website builder and how to get it to do what you want to do.
Customer support and website hosting issues
- Slow web hosting which makes it frustrating to try edit the website.
- Slow web hosting which can make your website slow to load – bad experience for visitors to your website.
- Poor customer support, or no customer support.
- They may not support custom domains so your website address has the website builder’s name in it (yourname.websitebuilder.com) as opposed to yourname.com which is much more professional.
- Not transportable; if you want to use a different host you have to start over as the website builder is most likely built into their hosting platform.
- It won’t let you remove the links to the website builder (or you need to pay more for that ability).
- The website builder doesn’t tell you when you are doing something that is not best practice or that impacts on the user-friendliness of your website. It doesn’t tell you about web standards.
- Poor search engine optimization (SEO) because you may not have the right skillset to do your own SEO.
- Finally, website builders have poor search engine optimization. Good SEO requires research and a human to make decisions and is not something a machine can do for you.
BUT if you are forced to build your own website, even if it’s an interim solution, consider using Squarespace. The layouts offered are all pretty similar but it does rate as one of the better website builders. Squarespace is closely followed by Weebly.
You can find a comprehensive review of the website builders here- http://www.sitebuilderreport.com/
Of course we would encourage you to approach Cantaloupe Digital to build your website according to your objectives and strategy (which we help you with).