You’re an entrepreneur. Or you’re a small business that’s finally jumping into the “interwebz”. You just saw a flashy commercial for a DIY website builder site like Wix, or Weebly, or Squarespace, and they make it look SOOOOOOOO easy, and SOOOOOOO cheap to get a nice, pretty little website up. How hard could it be, anyway? It’s just a website. All I need is a few pretty pictures and my logo, right?

Ok…stop right there.

Ever heard the phrase “you get what you pay for”? That phrase was practically invented to describe these DIY website builders. Consider the following 7 serious reasons NOT to use these sites if you’re taking your business at all seriously:

NUMBER 1: YOUR SITE AND CONTENT DO NOT BELONG TO YOU

MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE

You read that right. They do not belong to you. Read your terms and conditions. They all have similar verbiage to that effect. They own your site. They can turn it off any time they want. You do not get to keep anything you’ve spent days and weeks creating should you come to your senses and decide to go with a professionally-developed website. It’s not yours.

Don’t take my word for it, here’s a link to the SquareSpace Terms of Service. Here are a few key points:

  • They can terminate their agreement with you (and your website) any time they want.
  • There is no guarantee that your website will be up and running or that the emails sent from your website will work.
  • If they wish, they can change anything, at any time.

Has this sunk in yet? Go ahead. Consider the ramifications. I’ll wait.

When you hire a professional to build your website, it’s yours, free and clear, once you’ve made your final payment. YOURS! Not theirs. YOURS. You can move your site to another host. You can turn it over to another designer down the road for an overhaul. You can do anything you want with it. It’s yours. None of that is the case with sites like Squarespace, Wix, Weebly or any others.

NUMBER 2: (as if Number 1 wasn’t enough to send you running) Google hates these sites!

Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia“If it’s not on Google, it doesn’t exist”.
– Jimmy Wales (a guy who founded a little site called Wikipedia. Maybe you’ve heard of it)

Again, think about this…do you use a search engine when looking for businesses? Yeah, I kinda thought so. In most cases, you’re probably using Google. And Google has trouble indexing these DIY builder sites. Not too long ago, Wix sites suddenly disappeared from Google altogether. Google got the issue resolved, but why did this happen in the first place? Well, it’s a little difficult to know for sure unless you work at Google, I suspect. But sites like Wix use systems heavy on Ajax and Javascript, and use a lot of blocking technology to make it hard to dig into their code in the first place (this is part of their “we own it, you don’t” mentality). These technologies may have been flummoxing the indexing engines.

Note that Wix, for instance, suggests waiting 90 days to get your site indexed by Google. 3 months, people! For regular sites, 4 weeks is the absolute outside wait time to get a site indexed by Google (if you use Webmaster tools for your site, the time is down to a few days at most). 3 months is an eternity on the web! If it’s taking Google 3 months to crawl new Wix sites, something is very, very wrong.

NUMBER 3: They advertise how easy-to-use their system is


But is it really? Those ads where you see someone point and click a few times and voilà – pretty website? Yeah, not at all realistic. Most people who start trying to build a site on one of these systems give up and seek out a “Wix Professional” (or whoever is recommended by the system they’re using). Here’s an example of a “professional” Wix designer. Ummmm…yeah…if that’s considered “professional”, then I think I’m just going to call myself a brain surgeon. Here, let me take this scalpel and slice your head open. Trust me. I’m a “professional”.

I’ve had numerous former Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, etc. customers come to me ready to throw their computers against the wall in frustration trying to get their sites to do what they want. There’s just really very little flexibility built in to these systems, and it becomes monumentally frustrating to get anything done. Especially if you’re not a coder (actually…I take that back…coders and developers wouldn’t want to try to deal with these sites either because we wouldn’t be able to write our own snippets of code to create custom functions). Which brings us to…

NUMBER 4: You want to change to another template? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Doctor Evil
You’ve spent a few sleepless nights working with that template you thought was pretty nifty. Uploaded photos, put in your text, agonized over the wording of headlines, etc. You’re kind of proud of this thing you’ve now created and decide to show it to a friend or existing customer to get some feedback. And….it’s…”meh.” The response is lackluster. So you look through the templates again and find one you think might look better and maybe addresses some of the comments you got the first time around.

OH BUT WHOOPS!!! Your content and pictures and everything don’t transfer to the new template!!! You have to start over now! {INSERT EVIL LAUGH FROM THE DIY SITE CREATORS} Isn’t this fun?!? All that time you spent adding your content and getting things “just” right, and just because you want to change templates, all that time is now wasted. YIPPEE! I know *I* love wasting days of my time {eye rolls}!

Because of this, a large percentage of those who sign up for these sites, never even wind up publishing a site at all (and you can bet that a large percentage of them forget to close their account and keep getting billed for months without even realizing it).

NUMBER 5: Poor Performance

Neil Patrick Harris is Disappointed

So, you know how, when you visit a slow website you get really frustrated really fast and quickly navigate away? Well, that’s what often happens when your potential customers visit your DIY-built website. User experience (UX) is important in the web design game. If your site is slow or is just frustrating in general, you’re potentially losing customers. And when Google notices this (they can track that sort of thing), it can negatively impact your ratings.

There are a number of reasons why a site might be slow – from render-blocking javascript, to just a poor hosting environment. Sometimes it’s just a transient issue a host is dealing with, like another site suddenly being flooded with visitors from a popular post, or…really, the reasons this can happen are myriad. And the truth of the matter is, it can happen to any website, no matter how well it’s built. But the reason it seems to be such a common experience on these DIY sites is that your site is hosted on a box with literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of other sites. Now, to be fair, sites like Wix use pretty powerful servers. But here’s an analogy for you:

It’s a gorgeous day out, and you decide to go for out for a walk. But you forgot that it’s Rose Parade Day, you live on Colorado Blvd., and…well…the streets are impassable, and you’re stuck behind a big, sweaty, shirtless guy. This is kind of what it’s like when your site is on a massive server like this. If there’s a server spike, oh well. There’s not much you can do about it. You’re just stuck.

This isn’t an uncommon issue for sites hosted on big box sites like Bluehost either. Although most small sites are unlikely to experience any major issues. If you need something like ecommerce, or if your site begins to get significant traffic, you’ll really want to consider going with a more robust hosting service where there are fewer sites on each server.

NUMBER 6: Let’s get back to these templates for a minute…

Gurl, I'm judging you

You consider your business/brand to be unique, yes? You are a unique little flower, just yearning to bloom and grow…bloom and grow foreeeeever…{sorry, excuse me…I broke out into song there for a moment}

Yes, I’m going to throw in another animated gif, because I feel like it…
Edelweiss

So why would you use a template that thousands of other sites are using? If it takes people less than 1/2 a second to judge you/your brand, don’t you think having a site developed and designed for YOUR specific business is going to be more effective than a template designed to work ok for just about any sort of site? When you hire a professional, they work with you to get to know your goals and objectives and tailor the design with those goals and objectives in mind. A DIY template simply won’t do that for you.

NUMBER 7: Customer Service

Bad Customer Service
This is pretty much the attitude you’ll find from most of these DIY-builder sites. Did you know that SquareSpace doesn’t even have a customer service phone number you can call? Do you really want to do business with a site that has a “Bad 1.7” rating (as of Feb. 9, 2017) on TrustPilot.com? This is a BIG business, y’all! And it has a 1.7?!? Here are just a few recent reviews:

And these are just a few, just since October, 2016!

Here’s what’s most troubling, for you, the DIY-builder customer: It’s not likely that any developer can help fix your problem, because, as hinted at above, these sites lock things down in such a way that an outsider really can’t get in and do any fixing. That means that you and your business are at the mercy of these sites and whatever customer service they bother to provide.


If you aren’t convinced yet that DIY-builder sites are bad for your business, then go for it! I’ll be here waiting, ready to take your site to the next level – you know, the level where the site is built specifically to enhance your business, and the level where you can actually communicate with the developer/designer personally, the level where you’re given the tools to really get your SEO efforts going solidly, the level where your unique business is treated as special as it truly is. And the level where you will no longer feel like you need to throw your computer out the window in frustration. If that’s the level you’re ready for, Contact me today!

And what do I suggest you do in the meantime if your budget doesn’t allow for a fully-custom WordPress site just yet? Well, I’d still suggest you give me a jingle. Here’s the thing…I would rather get you started on a basic WP site using a generic template than send you down the frustrating road of the DIY website builders. So, for a much lower fee than a full-on custom build, let’s get you started on WordPress, so that when you *are* ready to take that next step we aren’t both starting from scratch. Sound good? Awesome. I’m here to help. I’m not here to bilk you out of your hard-earned cash. Let’s get to making something together. You gotta start somewhere. Might as well start with a solid foundation.

7 Excellent Reasons Your Business Should Not Be Using DIY Site Builders

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