6 reasons to think twice about Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, and other website builders

Website builder buffet

What do sites built on Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, and others have in common? The fact that these site builders prey on the unsuspecting business owner, lured into the idea that any online presence is better than nothing. 

With 24/7 schedules, staff, and sales to worry about, it’s no wonder business owners don’t have time to spare worrying about their online presence. The idea of a turnkey, grab-and-go site might seem like a safe and budget-friendly choice.

But when you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll start to see why thousands of businesses migrate away from all-in-one offerings like Hubspot.

So why should these sites be any worse than a WordPress or custom-designed site? Here’s what the experts know that you don’t. 

(Psst – don’t have time to read the whole article? Check out our TL;DR and get the scoop in one minute.)

1) You’re renting, not owning

In spite of all the work you’ve done to build your business and own your brand, when it comes to your site, you’ll simply be renting. 

This means that when your site builder loses service for their hosting, or some of their features or functionality breaks, your site and millions of other sites go down as well – losing you potential leads and sales at the same time.

Squarespace has so many downtime incidents they provide updates on a daily basis.

Hosters like Hubspot have 3+ downtime incidents per month. Squarespace has so many incidents they provide updates on a daily basis. Using a dedicated hosting company with expertise and a 99.999% track record can keep you from experiencing panic attacks when your investors can’t access the site that’s supposed to be paying them dividends.

2) Ecommerce is even riskier

Some of these site builders cater specifically to ecommerce businesses that are looking for something that’s plug and play – you can input your products, and let the platform do the rest. 

Unfortunately, when you’re an ecommerce store, the implications of renting your site can be even worse. You aren’t a simple one page site – your revenue is directly related to the uptime of your site and availability of services to run payments and inventory. 

Recently, a client of ours experienced the true pain of relying on an out-of-the-box site. After missing an update to an obscure terms of service document, the payment processor shut down their store. It took 10 days to get in service again, and thousands in lost revenue.

3) Self-serve is better for frozen yogurt

Another promise made by these types of platforms is that it’s so easy to manage them, anyone can do it. 

These are powerful tools – and they are not as seamless or foolproof as they might appear. But if you don’t know what you don’t know, you might find that you’ve broken something you don’t know how to fix.

And unfortunately, that’s what happened to a client of ours. He was editing his services page on one of these platforms. Instead of the simple update he was going for, he wound up having to redo that services page two times and countless hours later because after changing the layout, everything broke – and there’s no undo button.

4) There’s no undo button

All well-made websites include version control, which is a feature that allows a web designer to roll back changes on a website to an earlier version of the page or site if something went wrong with an update. 

The fact that this feature was missing from our client’s site builder meant that he had no way of just “undoing” what he had done – there was no previous version saved anywhere – which was why instead of being a simple update, he had to redo it twice.

Another typically easy fix a web designer would use is by restoring a previously-made backup of the site. But with these platforms, you don’t have access to the backend of the site, so you can’t make a backup in the first place, let alone restore from it! 

5) You’ll be feeling slow and bloated

And so will your visitors. 

One key thing to understand about these platforms is that they are trying to build a solution that fits a certain amount of people. When you try to cater to anyone and everyone, you are like a huge buffet that offers french fries, pizza, and pancakes, but does none of them well. 

By having to include so many different plugins, services, and apps to appeal to their wide audience, they become bloated. They’re slow, they can’t load quickly, and your visitors don’t have the patience to wait 10 seconds for your site to load.

Not to mention that Google also won’t put up with it. Your ability to rank high in search results will suffer and you’ll lose all the visitors you’ve been trying to gain with high quality (and high cost) advertising and referral programs.

Ask them how to fix it and they’ll send you to help articles on reducing image file size, using a different browser, removing custom code… and we thought these sites were supposed to be easy?

6) Locked-in

Bringing little flexibility or personalization to the design of your site, these platforms take a cookie cutter approach. This means that in a year or two when you’ve added a new revenue stream or pivoted your messaging and it’s time to refresh the site, it’s almost impossible – you’re locked into an aged design.

The only way to change it turns out to be a full redesign – from scratch! Say goodbye to your free time and being productive with that new product line.

TL;DR 

If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Anything that says you can set it up in 5 minutes is a big red flag. 

Between poor performance, no undo button, the risk of downtime to your sales revenue, and being locked into an old design, these site builders are often not worth the high price you’re paying, since you will likely wind up hiring a web designer to run them for you anyway!

We recognize that these platforms can work for some people, but we hope we’ve given you some insider secrets so you can make the right decisions for your business. 

And if you need advice on starting a site, refreshing your design, or anything else, drop us a line