Here at Cloud Digital Media, one of the many questions we get asked is whether the likes of popular “DIY website builders” or even the so called “FREE website builders” are any good.
The truth of the matter is, using these sites is exactly the same as doing your own wiring or plumbing – they can be ok up to a point, but if you want a professional and functional site building, then realistically you need to get a skilled team in that know what they doing.
We’ll come to the “Pros & Cons” shortly, but firstly lets look at a few of the bigger names you may be familiar with: WIX, Go-Daddy, Weebly and to some extent, Yell.com (who tie you in with their marketing).
Obviously every young company starts out on a budget, and to some, dedicating funds to a good quality website is lower down their priority list. The issue is, with no Yellow Pages and less and less shop frontages to check out, these days, your prospective clients are more than likely to use Google to first look for what they want, then check out your website. This is where the self-build sites really start to fall down – many look like your niece had a bad day with the crayons and the functionality is limited to clients emailing you at your old school mail address: email@example.com.
So what the issue with all of this you may be thinking? Well lets get downt to the Nitty Gritty……..starting with the Pros.
Ok, its hard to be favorable here as the list is pretty small. There’s no biased opinions here, and even though the backbone of our company is, and always will be providing professional websites, as you will see after our conclusion that we offer a great alternative that should suit everyone!
- Price – lets face it, the biggest reason you’ll go with one of these options is COST. Many of these companies lead clients in with the promise of “Free” websites, hosting, Domain Names, Emails and probably a kitchen sink. However, the reality is, as soon as you push for some Functionality or aid from the Website Building company, you will generally be charged monthly, at which point you could find that what you’re paying monthly, would have gotten you a professional site.
- CMS – Not always the case and very dependent on your website company, but some of these Site Builders obviously have to give you limited access to the back end of your site, so you can update content or imagery. Unfortunately, this does tend to be limited however and to do anything other than what the theme originally allowed could bring heavy penalties.
We’re limiting the list of Cons here, but the tragedy is, we could’ve easily listed more.
- Ownership – probably the biggest and worst trait of all is that in some cases, you actually don’t own the site and when you’ve reached the point that you’ve outgrown this platform, trying to move your site somewhere else can be either costly or impossible.
- Poor Rankings – Search engines DON’T like self build sites. The reason is, they have to use code that interprets simple commands and there’s no method for you update your SEO (at least, not without paying again!). Some self-build sites also use FLASH to display imagery, which unfortunately is now not supported across all browsers and mobile devices.
- Emails & Hosting – whilst any self respecting website company will set you up with appropriate and professional emails associated with your business, plus hosting packages that will support your needs, you could end up paying extra for this service, or worse, be tied in with an email address supplied by your provider.
- Design – Lets be honest, you can usually spot a self-build a mile away! For some reason, these DIY-Sites think they can turn you into a designer in 3 easy steps! Now I’m sure if you were to design your own house, a fully trained Architect would shake their head in horror – so to replace a Website Designer that studied for 6 years is not going to happen without a lot of assistance that you simply just wont get.
- Cost – Cost we hear you say? Surely not! We have numerous customers that come to us for a proper proposal and costs, then think its saving money by doing a DIY-job, then generally within 12 months and after many hours of frustration, aggravated calls to their DIY-builder overseas and paying out for add-ons and upgrades, generally they come back and regale their story of woe.
There are those that hate the digital world and these DIY-sites are their attempt to modernize and connect with a new audience. To all of these we wish you well and can promise you a cuppa and a biscuit when you need to upgrade.
To those that are sat on the fence, let us share this with you – CLOUD DIGITAL MEDIA have packages starting at £100/month that include emails, hosting and are fully supported for 24 months. If you then wish to renew, there’s no renewal cost and you can get a FREE website refresh, plus continue on at your same tariff.
We’re probably not alone in doing this, but the difference with this route is you have a bespoke designed website, Ticketed support desk and a team based in the UK you can call, Full support and better still, we will get you on the BEST platform possible according to your needs, such as Word Press, Open Cart or Magento to name a few.
So just remember, there is an alternative to a DIY website, so why not go with the professional option.