In the digital age, a company’s website is more crucial than ever before. People don’t use the phone book to look up businesses anymore. They use Google, Alexa or an app. People don’t call a business to find out their hours or if they have a certain product. They look on the company’s website.
If you’re a business owner, it’s time to think about how you want the future of your company to look online. Having a great product or service is essential, but if people don’t know about it, how will you be able to sell it?
The Truth Behind Website Builders
The internet provides so many avenues to find new customers, but if you don’t use it properly and lead everything back to your website, you’ll be wasting the opportunity to grow your business. Most business owners aren’t website developers, so they have to rely on other resources to get a great site.
Many have been drawn in by website builders such as GoDaddy, Wix, Squarespace and Weebly. These website builders promise to provide you with everything you need to build a professional and highly functional business website in no time. Unfortunately, that promise often goes unfulfilled.
Among other examples, the cookie cutter templated websites these builders supply are detrimental to your business and online presence in three big ways: SEO, Cost, and Design.
Not to mention, you don’t even own the site, you are just renting it! The website that you are renting cannot be downloaded or exported. You will have to purchase another website when you outgrow it rather then just updating it… ever heard the expression “the cheap comes out expensive”? That is also true in this case.
Why Website Builders Can Be Horrible for SEO
If you are serious about your technical SEO and the future of your business, then you should avoid website builders. Every single one of them! Here's why...
Slow Page Loading Speeds
When it takes a long time for your webpage to load, this causes people to leave your site without even viewing the content. Search engines hold this against you when picking which pages to organically rank in their results.
There are several reasons why they load slower but none of which you or an expert can even fix due to the fact that they can't give you access to the server or their software's backend. Some reasons include bloated proprietary HTML that is auto-generated as you revise the site, outdated technology, cheap shared hosting with tons of other companies, etc.
Here are some powerful stats from Neil Patel about the effects of slow loading websites:
- 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load
- A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions
- If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year.
Some Use Outdated Technology & Coding
These old methods of building websites are still active today because it would cost these software companies a lot of money to update their entire system. This makes it harder for search engines to crawl your webpages and figure out what your content is all about.
You don't get access to the auto-generated code either that these builders populate (the reason why you don't need to know coding) so fixing an issue for better SEO standards is impossible.
For instance, image filenames and alt tags. Google doesn't know what the images is about unless you properly name it and tag it. But once you upload via builder software, it strips that data and puts in a bunch of random numbers. So instead of Dollar Tacos In South Elgin (which Google could rank you for) it spits out 123456%20789%20101112.jpg. No one knows what that references besides the builder's system. There for, making it much harder for people to find you online for "Dollar Tacos In South Elgin."
The same gobbledigook issue occur in your page's URLs. Some builders offer customizable URLs, but they are not fully custom. Meaning you might want to call your menu page /menu/, but for some reason they automatically add digits like /menu-12/.
More Issues With Website Builders That Hurt Your SEO
- Bad handling of multiple business locations
- Can't control 301 redirects when a page is removed
- Rich snippets are non-existent
- Poor website linking structure
- Forget about a multilingual site
- The list goes on...
Why The Cheap Ends Up Costing You More
Renewal Increases & Hidden Fees
Expect to pay anywhere from 25%-200% more when you renew for another year because you bought during a "promotional period" (like Comcast does) or certain "free" features that you liked were only free for a certain timeframe and now it's time to pay for them.
Are you seeing someone elses advertisements on your website? To remove ads requires a plan upgrade or a recurring fee of about $6 to $14 per month.
Paying For Simple Customization & Help
If you want a custom domain name, they make you upgrade to a "premium plan" in order to do so or they upcharge you around $30 per year for a domain that you can purchase elsewhere for $10. If you want to transfer that domain, guess what, that's another charge.
These cookie cutter website builders boast that they are easy to use and you don't need to know how to customize. The catch? When you need help or find out the hard way that you actually have to customize something, you only get email support. It can take days for a less than satisfactory response, and weeks to actually figure out the solution in order to close out the support ticket.
If you want phone support, you guessed it, you have to upgrade your plan or pay their support for their time. This can cost you anywhere from $75-$200 per hour with no guarantees of a solution.
Like WordPress, website builders offer apps or plugins that add some customization that you need. Also like WP, some are free and some you have to pay for. But unlike WordPress, it is hard to find a free version of the app/plugin that fits your needs. And since you are locked in to your website builder platform, you have no choice but to pay whatever they want to charge you to use it.
Premium templates, like a car, no one wants the base model after seeing the upgrade. The base model is just to get you into the door. After spending hours and hours and all that money, they got you on the hook. They know you will eventually need to upgrade to a premium template and that is going to cost you about $150-$200 per year.
Factoring In Time & Lost Business
WIX, GoDaddy, Weebly, Squarespace and other website builders are actually more expensive than just hiring a professional. Let's break it down, hiring a web designer verse doing it yourself via website builder.
Website builders can cost you anywhere from $0 all the way up to $500 per month. For the sake of this example, we are going to compare the high-end so you can get more of an idea of your worst case scenario. $500 per month comes out to $6,000 per year or $12,000 over two years.
For the same comparable website (again high-end) that a professional web designer or agency would custom build for your specific needs on WordPress, all in would cost you $11,880 over two years.
Here is our website pricing broken down, that includes a one time fee of $6,000 for a site that you own, $240/year for better hosting, $250/year for SSL, all the web maintenance & updates you will need for the year ($405/mo), and a domain that you own for $20 per year. Email, stock photos, plugins and other items are included already in this pricing so there is nothing more that you would need in those two years.
Now, factor in the time it took you to do it yourself instead of focusing on your business and the lost revenue due to lack of experience and poor performance. That is thousands of dollars right there that I bet you didn't think of. Making the DIY option a poor investment that your business will never make again.
Poor Design Equals Poor You
When we say poor design, we are referring to a website that doesn't properly represent your brand, support your messaging, the user's experience from entrance to exit, layout, flow, and much more.
A well designed website boosts your brand's trust with the viewers and provides a seamless experience from desktop to phone. It guides them from the question to the answer and what steps to take next without them even realizing it. The only way you can provide an experience like this is to have a professional who lives and breathes this create it for you.
A template that hundreds of thousands of people use to force their entire business into with little customization will never come close to this positive experience. It will just seem like the same old, that they've seen a million times, that never had a chance to stand out from the crowd and shine.
Most business owners don't have this knowledge, time or the resources to provide it even if they had the right tool. You have to know all the ways to use the tool and what it works well with to maximize its potential. Think a sculptor with a putty knife. Just because you have the knife, doesn't make you a Michelangelo. Now toss in color pallets, substrates, various materials you can use, other tools needed, time, budget, your idea, what you want the people to think... it can easily go awry fast and leave a negative lasting impression. This is why these website builders advertise themselves as simple to use instead of the best way to grow your online presence.
Here are some statistics to ponder from WebFX before starting your build:
- 75% of consumers judge a business’s credibility by the design of its website.
- 94% of consumers get their first impression of your business from your website.
- 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site if they’ve had a bad experience.
- 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content doesn’t look pretty on the page.
- 90% of people use multiple screens sequentially.
- 73% of companies invest in professionals to design their website to help their brand stand out from competitors.
DIY Website Builders Vs. Hiring A Professional WordPress Designer
While website builders have their place with bloggers starting out, unfunded startups, and small non-profits they are not ideal for businesses in highly competitive markets or deal with high-value transactions such as roofing companies, lawyers or real estate.
If you are the ladder, then your business requires a better quality investment. Especially since it will actually be cheaper overall. At Tag Marketing, we have years of experience building high-quality WordPress sites for our clients that lead to MORE REVENUE & ROI. We take the time to talk to you about your business goals & expectations. We do competitor and market research, as well as, leverage our extensive experience in web design and marketing to make sure you aren't learning the hard way what works and what doesn't. Our team will build a solid foundation from the ground up to make sure you are set up for long-term success and have a site that will grow as your business does.