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Avoiding The Problems With Self-Build Website Tools

Estimated reading time: 7 mins

Online applications like Wix and Squarespace have been becoming increasingly popular over the last few years. Promising the chance to break the shackles which your web developer has trapped you in, they are advertised in such a way that they seem like they will be able to cover all of your needs. In reality, though, choosing to go with a tool like this can drastically limit your business. To give you an idea where their problems lie, this post will be exploring some of the key drawbacks of DIY website builders, giving you the chance to avoid them when you’re going through this process for yourself.

The first issue which a lot of businesses will come across with these sorts of services is the challenge which comes when you need to increase the size of your website. Accounts with DIY builders won’t come with bandwidth which you can change, often offering other benefits when you increase your package size. Instead, you have to live with the capacity which you have, forcing a lot of businesses to start fresh when they need to build something bigger. Having to spend money like this as you’re trying to grow will never be a good thing.

Most of the World’s websites are built with a platform called WordPress. WordPress isn’t compatible with systems like Wix and Squarespace, though, and websites which are built on one simply won’t work properly on the others. This creates a real challenge when it comes to migrating your website. Instead of being able to simply copy and paste all of the files, you will have to find someone who can convert or rebuild them for you, often costing a small fortune when you have a complex site.

Freedom To Create

There are few things more frustrating than working for several hours on a section of your website, only to find that the look you’re going for will be impossible to achieve. While they look easy to use from the outside, tools like Wix are only able to achieve this by strictly limiting the freedom which users have. This will make most of the sites which are put together with the system look consistent, but it also makes them very easy to spot, even for those who don’t have much experience. Standing out is more crucial than ever before for small businesses, making it crucial that you avoid this trap.

Security And Hosting

Most DIY website builders come with their own hosting packages. This makes it incredibly easy to go from having nothing at all, to having your own website with a custom domain, without having to think about the tricky side of it all. As time goes on, though, not being able to control your hosting could cause some real issues. If they’ve provided the domain to you, accessing the DNS records could be tricky, and this will prevent you from moving to other services, like email and VOIP. Of course, though, this doesn’t only cause concern when it comes to control.

Along with this, it’s also worth thinking about the security of your website. Companies like Wix will usually use systems which are similar to shared servers for their hosting, and this means that your website will be amongst loads of other sites. In the event of a data breach, this could see your information being leaked, and you wouldn’t have much of a chance to stop it from happening. Hosting your own site gives you the power to keep your website and its data safe, avoiding the risk of someone accessing it without permission.

Value

Value is a crucial consideration for any business to make when they are going through a decision making process like this one. From the outset, tools like Wix present themselves as being fairly cheap, especially when compared to the price of a professional developer. In reality, though, once you have to go through the trauma of trying to scale a system like this, it will often leave you spending far more. Of course, some businesses can benefit from the small size of a DIY site, but you should have a good idea as to whether or not you’d be able to cope with this.

Custom Applications

Over the last few years, it has been becoming increasingly popular for companies to create their own custom applications to make their website stand out. If you sell custom goods, for example, you could look into the idea of giving users the chance to see their items before they order them. Squarespace and Wix don’t give you the power to embed JavaScript on their pages or store PHP files in the background, though, making it just about impossible to expand the functionality of their websites.

Of course, to make up for this, a lot of DIY website companies will offer sets of plugins to their users. These tools are often made by other members of the community, and take a strong knowledge of the system being used to be able to build. Making a plugin yourself will take exactly the same skills as putting together a stand-alone application, with some aspects of the job being made far harder. This makes it well worth looking at the idea of paying your own developer for this sort of service. A lot of companies spend huge amounts of money to build plugins which will quickly be out of date.

Control And Confusion

When you look at the backend of a Wix website, most of the options you will see before you look like they are fairly surface-level, and won’t impact the complex inner-workings of the website. In reality, though, these systems can give users a little bit too much control. While it isn’t enough to do what you want, it can often cause confusion when options are labelled with titles which normal users won’t understand. Turning off page titles, for example, may not change the look of each page, but could remove their SEO titles, impacting their search engine performance.

Having someone else looking after your site for you takes away stresses like this. Even if you make a mistake when you’re trying to make changes for yourself, you won’t be left with the challenge of fixing things which you don’t understand. Companies like Wix have made a name for themselves for having excellent customer service. Having someone dedicated to helping you, though, will mean that support comes far faster, and you’ll never have to deal with someone who you struggle to communicate with.

Self-Limiting

Most developers will stay far away from services like Wix and Squarespace, unless they have clients who are already using systems like this. This means that people using them well almost always be building their websites for themselves. Of course, though, unless you’ve spent a good few years working in this industry, you’re not going to have a very easy time trying to put together a good site for yourself. Instead, when small business owners go down this route, they will often be limited by their own abilities. A web developer doesn’t cost too much, especially when you consider the work which they can do for you.

Good Alternatives

DIY website builders are rarely a good idea, regardless of the size of your business. There are several tools on the market which bridge the gap between bespoke websites and DIY ones, though, and they can often be the best way to have a better site put together without having to spend a small fortune on it. Below, you can find some examples of these services, giving you the chance to look into them for yourself.

WordPress: With over a quarter of the World’s active websites using WordPress, it is by far the most popular platform available. You can make the build process as easy or as complex as you like, with the need for a developer only existing when you decide to go for something big. Of course, like any piece of software like this, you will have to do some learning to get started. This will be well worth it, though, especially when you consider the freedom you’ll get in return.

Bootstrap: While it may be more complex than WordPress, a tool like Bootstrap can also have a place in the online world. Instead of using page building tools to make things easier, this system will use simple HTML and CSS for its structure. As a result, though, you have far more freedom when you’re using something like this than you would a DIY system, and this makes it possible to create a website which is truly unique.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take control of your website ambitions. A lot of small businesses go down the same track with their online presence, and will never break free of the shackles which come with tools like Wix. Of course, though, it’s never worth throwing away options completely, as they always have a chance to improve as time goes on.

 

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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