DIY Website Builders – Are They Right For Your Small Business?

Posted on by Ryan Bowman

Most small businesses understand the importance of having a website. What many of them don’t realize is that it’s very important HOW they obtain this website. There are many ways to get a website created whether you hire a professional website designer or decide to build it yourself…but they will all produce different results. 

For those who decide to build and manage their website themselves, many choose to use website builders. Website builders are easy-to-use web-based software platforms that are made to be user-friendly so that almost anyone can use them to design a website, even people with little or no knowledge of creating websites. If you know how to send an email and browse the internet, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be able to use a website builder.

Website builders have become very popular because large companies like Intuit Homestead and Web.com have promoted these services on a large scale. You may have seen their advertisements on TV or the web. Since these companies do little but provide access to their software to thousands of clients, they can offer their products at low prices…usually. Getting a website setup at a low price is one of the main appeals of using these website builders but sometimes, creating a website with website builders can be way too expensive compared to other website options.

Besides the cost, it’s important to understand some of the other drawbacks to using a website builder before you dive in.

Messy Website Code

It’s important for any website owner to have their website ranked in search engines so they can get some traffic through web searches. Unfortunately, most website owners don’t do much to improve their search engine rankings and then wonder why their website isn’t being flooded with website traffic.

Since search engine bots read your website’s source code and don’t see the visual display of the website like humans see in web browsers, it’s important to have clean source code behind your website. This will help search engine bots easily spider your website, assess the quality and content of your website, and rank your website accordingly.

One of the problems with website builders is that the software that makes the website easy to build also makes the code very messy and convoluted with a lot of styling codes. To Google and other search engines, this first of all makes the content of the site hard to find, and secondly, this makes the website look low quality.

Take a look at the two examples of website source code below, the first one from a website built with Intuit Homestead Websites and the second from my website built with WordPress. Even if you know nothing about website code, you can easily tell that the website builder code is a lot messier than a website built with WordPress, a popular content management system. The Intuit Website Builder makes it easy for you to build and style a website but it inserts all the style codes (seen in blue below) right into the code making the code very cluttered.

Big Time Commitment

Using a website builder seems like a great option to many small business owners since it is a much cheaper option than hiring a professional website designer. A website builder allows website owners to easily create their website but what most people don’t realize is that it will take many hours just to figure out HOW to use the website builder and many hours on top of that to set up the site. Even then, you may not be satisfied with the final product. Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because some companies claim that the website builders are user-friendly, you will be able to pick it up and use it without a significant investment of time. For many small business owners, time is a luxury and devoting extra hours to setting up a website is just not realistic.

Future Expansion

Web technologies are changing all the time and companies are always upgrading and updating their websites with new content and features. If you build your site with a website builder, you will be limited to the features that are allowed by the website builder. Some companies offering website builders keep their software up to date with the latest features and tools for building websites. Just know that what they offer you is what you get. It will be difficult if not impossible to add custom features or hire a web developer to add custom functions to your website. Before you go with a website builder, make sure the features you may wish to add in the future will be available to you.

Name: Ryan Bowman

Email: contact@webeminence.com

Website: http://www.webeminence.com

About: Ryan Bowman runs WebEminence.com and is devoted to helping small businesses and individuals get professional websites up and running without the hassle and high costs typically associated with web development. Ryan also provides Website Redesign, Free WordPress Install, Pay-Per-Click advertising, and other services for clients looking for unique personal service in these areas.

  • Nancy Boyle

    Good points to consider. I am looking at some of these DIY platforms for non profits who want websites. I want them to be able to take over updating and maintenance after I have set up the sites. I am most concerned about down time and have been researching reliability of some of these companies. Thanks for the info.

    • http://www.DIYMarketers.com Ivana Taylor

      Hey Nancy — thanks for your comment. I have to tell you I’m a big WordPress fan because you can get lots of technical help and it’s my favorite DIY web tool.