There has been a lot of chatter in our industry over the last couple of years due to the growth in popularity and usability of DIY Website Builders.
What is a DIY Website Builder? These are websites where you can go and build your own website for free or very inexpensively without any coding. You know, I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials for Squarespace, GoDaddy Website Builder, Shopify, Virb, Jimdo, Weebly, and even WIX flooding your television. As you can guess, some people within our industry have seen this a threat to their livelihoods and have been trashing these services endlessly since they began to grow. Not us…
We like the growth of DIY Website Builders
We think of these things differently. We’re small business owners and we care about small businesses. We started out building websites primarily for small business a few years back because there really wasn’t a quality alternative.
However, that is changing. Are these DIY website builders for every small business owner? Absolutely not. Could they be a huge money saver for others? Absolutely. And we love any tool that helps a small business owner manage key areas of their business in better, easier, and affordable ways.
Which is the right approach for me?
If you’re just needing a great looking site to promote your local business in an online brochure fashion, you’re probably the perfect candidate for one of these DIY website building sites. Even if you’re not in the mood to do it yourself, there are plenty of designers out there with the necessary skills to bring the site together for you to look great at a very reduced rate from a custom website.
If you’re someone that actually needs your website to DO SOMETHING, a DIY website builder is probably not your best option. Sure these tools are becoming much more powerful, however that growth is mainly towards how you build the site. This means you can have a lot of flexibility when designing but not when it comes to how you manage your site or how users will use the site. DIY builders can be great when they have the ability to do what you want but if they don’t then you are completely out of luck. So make sure Squarespace, etc. do all that you will need it to do in the foreseeable future so you don’t find yourself having to migrate your site not long after building it.
If you need complex forms, access control, customer/client management activities, custom functionality and third-party API integrations – these solutions are definitely not for you at this time and will probably never be a viable solution for your business. If this is something you’re looking for, these are right in our wheelhouse and we’d love to talk to you.
Things to look out for…
As a bit of a footnote to this article we did want to do a bit of warning about some of these systems.
1. Can you make it look how you want?
2. Will it have all the features you really need?
With some of them being “Free”, there is a bit of a conflict of interest that arises when it comes to the purpose of your website.
The website for your small business should be designed to advertise and promote your small business (novel idea right?). Be sure to watch out when building your DIY website that the company isn’t using valuable space on the site to promote their service (the free website builder that you’re using). I’ve seen a few sites with fixed content at the top and bottom of websites promoting the DIY website service that completely distracted from the main content of the site. It does not leave a great first impression about the strength of your business if there are ads all over it.
No matter how much money you save, you’ll never be properly served by a website that promotes someone else’s business over your own.
These have made huge progress in the last 3 years but still if ranking and proper SEO is a big component of your online success, the control you have with WordPress still has the upper hand.
Things to look out for:
- Ability to have SEO-friendly URLs and to modify them. So you can end up with something like https://limecuda.com/diy-website-builders
- Automatic XML sitemap. This is the sitemap you submit to Google Search Console. Ideally the sitemap automatically adds any new posts or pages as you create them. Then the pages have the best chance of quickly being added to Google’s index.
- Mobile-friendly. This is now a ranking factor – your site should be
- Quick loading. Your site won’t have good success with rankings if it loads slowly, besides it ends up being a terrible experience for the user – and you don’t want that!
5. Can you export the content or move easily in the future?
Got any questions about DIY Website Builders? Leave us a comment or send us a line. We’d be happy to chat.