An overview of the pros and cons for DIY (do it yourself) website builders, as perceived by Shawna Barnes.
As a small business owner, you have dozens of options for DIY website builders that claim to help you build your website quickly and easily. While these claims aren’t inaccurate, they also don’t give YOU the whole picture that I feel is important when doing something as important as buidling your website.
Important? Really?! 100%. For example, if I plan to do work with a new company, one of the first things I look at is their website. If I can’t find a website I look for their social media accounts. If neither one looks professional or at the very least like it’s maintained on a regular basis, I keep searching. There is a reason there are so many different website builders out there for people with a DIY bone.
But DIY isn’t always the best option, or even the most cost effective if you look at everything you want or need for your site.
Over the next several posts, I’m going to breakdown some of the most popular DIY website builders out there. I shall do my best to provide both the pros and cons, but full disclosure – it will be con heavy. Why? Because I don’t believe any of them are really worth your investment in either time or money.
The DIY builders we’re going to look at in this series are:
Let me know in the comments if there’s one you’d like my 2 cents on and I’ll add it to the series.
Pros for DIY website builders.
- In general, the DIY builders availalbe are appealing to small business owners who may have the technical skills to build their own website.
- At the surface they are more affordable in the short term.
- They provide a level of customer service that may not be available if a business chooses an individual or small web design agency to build their site for them.
Cons for DIY website builders.
- They provide a false sense of security in my opinion.
They have done a great job at marketing to business owners with the idea that once they create a website the sales and clients will come pouring in. It’s difficult to catch the attention of the billions of people surfing the internet who may all be looking for the service or product you provide. If you don’t know how to apply basic on page SEO, it’s a lost cause to be found. Because of the every changing algorithms that we all love to hate, even seasons SEO professionals can have a difficult time getting a page to rank high enough to be seen for common words in a saturated market.
- In general, they also don’t make it clear that you lease space on their servers to host your website.
This means that if you violate their terms of service, they can pull your site down without reason other than someone at the organization believes you violated their terms of service.
- They are also generally not held liable for system or server crashes where any backsups may have gone with it because it’s all on the system. (They leave the backups on your shoulders, and many expressly state in their terms of service that you’re required to backup your content independently).
- Many of the builders censor materials without telling you that they have these policies in place that tell you what you can or cannot do on on your site.
So if we’re not fans of the DIY website builders, what DO we recommend? Do host your site on a platform (like WordPress . org) that allows YOU to control the content without fear of censorship. Keep in mind there are two different WordPress entities out there – WordPress . COM (which is ALSO a website builder with some of the better TOS when it comes to content liability and accountability) and . ORG. We use the .org here. WordPress.org is opensource and encourages developers to submit improvements. This allows for whatever improvements we need to make to our client sites to ensure their digital accessibility.
Here’s to hoping that y’all find this series informational and provides you with the knowledge needed to make the best decision for you and your small business going forward.