Geek Speak: Website Builders

Categories: Geek Speak

So what’s the dealio with website building services?  There are plenty of fantastic website builders out there these days, like Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, etc.  If you’d like to know if using one is a good choice for you, read on, friend, read on.


The Good Stuff

We’ll start with what’s good about website building services--and it’s actually a lot.  Maybe you’re surprised to hear a website designer say that?  (Hey, I like to keep you readers on your toes and not be completely predictable.)  But I am being honest when I say that website builders can be a good choice, and I sometimes create sites in website builders when a client requests it.

  • I’ll be the first to admit that using website builders is fun.  I always feel a little drunk with power when I can build a page in a few minutes that would take me SIGNIFICANTLY longer to build on a WordPress site.  Mwhahaha!
  • Website builders make the process of building and maintaining a site fast and simple.  They have been designed to be very user friendly, so you don’t have to have a huge amount of technical knowledge to navigate your way around the interfaces and figure out how to use things.  
  • This simple user interface also makes performing continuing edits to a site (like updating products in a store, posting blogs, changing text or images, etc.) very manageable for the not super technically inclined.  
  • Plus these services make things very straightforward in the financial department, as well, by being a one-stop shop for your domain purchasing, website hosting, and website design needs with a low priced entry point.  It is certainly cheaper to start a website builder site than hire a web designer.  


The Not So Good Stuff

With all of the convenience that website builders provide, there are some (at times very hefty) prices to pay, though.  

  • Here’s the bad baddie.  When you use a website builder service, you DO NOT own your site.  The money you spend gives you access to the website building service but does not buy you a finished product of a site.  While you should own your domain name (the address of your site that you type into a browser) and be able to transfer that, your actual site won’t transfer anywhere or be in a format that could be used elsewhere. So if you decide that you don’t want to keep using whatever website builder service you’ve started with, your site goes away when you leave it.  POOF!  FINITO!
  • You will also be limited by the options that your website builder provides.  You must work within the templates and features provided to you through it.  And while these quality templates and features are attractive and function well, they won’t give you the level of customization and uniqueness that can be achieved in other building environments.   
  • You may also find that a website builder site can’t do all of the specialized things you’d like it to do.  While there are 3rd party integrations and such to expand the capabilities of website builder sites (and more of these all the time), they are still limited when compared to the wide world of plugins and coding that is out there for adding specific capabilities to other kinds of sites.


Good Option???

So can using a website builder be a good option for you?  Absolutely!  I think people sometimes almost get apologetic when talking about their website builder sites with web designers, and they really shouldn’t.  For some people, they really are the best option.  

But when making the website builder service decision, you have to take into account whether you are OK with the downsides they have.  With their limitations, will a website builder site still be good for your business in 6 months? 1 year? 3 years? 5 years?  If you can answer yes to those questions, then go for it.  I’ll even give you a high five on your way to the computer to sign up, or I can quickly create your website builder site for you.  

However, for others, it will make more sense to invest in a site they can customize more extensively and uniquely from the beginning.  And while it will be more of an investment upfront (both in money and in time to learn how to perform those continuing edits to the site), they will want to actually own the finished product.

At Flannel Creative, we aren’t judgy about website origins.  Our personal preferences as website creators run toward the WordPress modality.  But we can see that there are other good options out there besides WordPress and want people to have what suits them and their business goals, now and in the future.  We’re cool with what works best for you.