Using a Website Builder - Rocket Science or Child's Play?
Posted on Apr 09, 2014 by Chris Fickling
It might seem odd for a website designer to write an article about website builders but they can be a legitimate way to get your business online - sort of!
What is a website builder?
Generally speaking it’s a set of ‘hosted’ tools that allow you to build your own website having purchased or rented a domain name, without having to download any special programs or know anything about coding.
Some popular website builders are Wix, 1&1 My Website, Moonfruit, possibly Wordpress and many more. Solutions are also offered by Google, BT, and Yell, to name but a few.
I’m not going to talk about the benefits or drawbacks of any of these in particular as that would be pretty unfair! What I will say is that some of the claims made in adverts for these seem to show a very simplistic version of the process.
What do website builders offer?
I think it would be fair to say they offer the possibility of getting your business online quickly and affordably with the possibility of a short learning curve.
What is there to lose?
No, Really, What is there to lose?
First of all, let me say this: “I’m biassed”. I’m not afraid to admit it.
I’ve had experience of using website builders including ones currently advertised on TV and I’ve also had experience of cleaning up after them. Let me get to the crux of it. Website builders give you a solution to a problem you think you have. You might think that you will be in control of your site, that you’ve built it and therefore it is yours and unique. Some website builders even give you a start by supplying industry specific text for you. Wait a minute - let’s rewind. This really means that your site may actually contain the same text as another website in your industry. What’s the problem? Easy - search engines deplore ‘duplicate content’ and your chances of being discovered in search engines will diminish dramatically if your site contains the same content as one of your competitors.
But maybe getting found in search engines isn’t your main priority. Maybe you just want a site you can point people to and say “here I am!”. That’s fine but consider this…
The technology you are using is old before you even start. The very nature of putting together a system that allows you to build your own site means that there has to have been a cutting off point where the developers of the system have said “that’s it, we’re ready to roll it out to the general public and it’s going to stay like this for the foreseeable future” Yikes!
So is a website builder a good alternative to hiring a web developer?
In my opinion, no. A good web developer will build-in state-of-the-art features that you probably would never have considered necessary, not just in the visible part of the site but in the parts you don’t see - the parts that make your site individual, search engine and audience friendly. Your website needs to remain contemporary both in terms of the code that runs it and the content. Whilst a website builder might allow you to keep your content up to date - how do you know your content is right for your audience? How do you know that the code behind your site is supporting your content properly and allowing you to reach a wider audience? Only a web developer with content writing skills and experience of multiple markets can give you the edge over your competitors - so get in touch. I look forward to hearing from you!