The Pros & Cons of Online Website Builders

Have you ever been lured in by one of those flashy ads on YouTube, featuring an enthusiastic business owner raving about their great new website built with WIX, Squarespace, Weebly or some other online website builder?

At first glance, it seems like a no-brainer to click the button and start building your own website for free, just like they did. But hold on a sec, because it might not be the best option for every business out there.

That’s why we’ve got your back! We’ve done the research and put together a list of the pros and cons of using online website builders, so you can make an informed decision before diving in headfirst.

Trust us, you don’t want to miss out on this valuable information. So, before you click that button, take a few minutes to check out our list and find out if an online website builder is the right choice for you!

Pros…

Easy to use

Providing you’re moderately tech-savvy, online website builders are pretty easy to use. No coding and no DNS configuration. Just drag and drop the element you want, where you want and away you go.

They also have banks of images, graphics, and even videos that you can add to your site meaning you don’t have to create your own.

Ready-built templates

Not only are they easy to use, but they also provide you with ready-made templates. Meaning that you can get a well-laid-out site without needing any major design skills.

Quick & cheap way to get online

If you have a new small business, an idea, or want to create a site to use for your hobby then this is a super speedy way to get online.

You can have something pulled together and live in a matter of days. Not only that, most online website builders have a free plan meaning you can get an online presence purely with an investment of your time.

Large choice of applications

Another pro for online website builders is that they have huge marketplaces full of apps that plug into your site. This means that you can add new functionality and wizardry with minimal effort and again, zero coding.

Integrated marketing

Online website builders will generally come with some options to manage your social media, email marketing and even your online advertising. Meaning you can plan and execute your digital marketing all in one place, with tools designed to make it simple and easy for anyone to use.

Cons…

Not really free

If you want a professional-looking site then you have to pay.

All free plans force you to include the online website builder’s branding, which seriously undermines the legitimacy of your business.

If you want your own domain name you have to pay, if you want email accounts that use your domain then guess what, you have to pay. And these elements quite often don’t come cheap.

You’ll also find that the free and cheap plans limit your storage space, bandwidth and more. Which means that you need to pay for higher and higher packages as your site and business grow.

Plus, whilst there’s a huge array of free applications that can be added to your site, invariably these free versions have very limited functionality. More often than not, you have to pay a subscription fee to get what you need.

This all adds up to make online website builders an expensive option as your site grows and develops.

Tied in

One of the biggest reasons online website builders offer free plans is that once they have your site you’re stuck. They don’t allow you to export your site, meaning you can’t move it if you want to get better value hosting or get someone to add functionality that isn’t possible with the builder you’re on.

If you ever want to move or evolve your site beyond the builder you’ll have to rebuild it from scratch.

Not sustainable

You may not realise it, but the internet is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and websites are a big part of that.

Sadly the majority of website builders aren’t run on green energy which means that every single time someone visits your website it’s having a negative impact on the environment. This is because the power used to run the website builders hosting service is dirty energy.

Plus, as you’re limited to their platform you also can’t ensure that you have a low-carbon, sustainable website.

So, if you’re conscious of the impact your business has on the environment an online website builder isn’t the right way to go.

Not fully mobile responsive

For this one, we’re looking squarely at WIX.

This con is a HUGE one. WIX has a desktop and mobile version that you can edit, but that isn’t true mobile responsiveness. Not sure why that’s a problem? Check out our other blog post here.

Limited SEO & slow site speed

Looking good is only part of having a great website. It also needs to load quickly and easily, plus Google (other search engines are available) also needs to be able to crawl it.

There are lots of technical elements to a site build that either aren’t possible or limited with online website builders. And that means that you’re sacrificing your search engine ranking potential and user experience when you use an online website builder.

Poor customer support

Online website builders are big corporations, which means they have a lot of customers with a lot of problems. They heavily rely on help centres filled with pre-written articles which don’t always give you the solution you need. Or they push you to post your question in the ‘Community Support’ section and rely on other customers having the answer. Generally, you have to sign up for a premium payment plan to get access to support from a real-life human. Again, this is another way online website builders can quickly become an expensive choice.

Long Story Short…

While online website builders have a place, they aren’t something that a serious, professional business should be considering using for any more than starting out/testing the market.

A custom build on a platform like WordPress will be able to grow and adapt with your business long-term. In turn, saving you time, money that can be better spent working on growing your business and achieving your mission.

Written by Kayleigh Nicolaou

Co-founder of Kakadu Creative, Kayleigh has worked in the media industry since 2007, managing projects and campaigns for clients ranging from independent high street stores, to music festivals and international brands.
January 5, 2022

Explore more like this...

Looking for an expert team to help you build an effective and sustainable website?

Get in touch with the form below and let’s have a chat about what you need and how we can help.

Plus, if you found this useful be sure to subscribe to our quarterly newsletter for tips, advice and insights to help your business.