We see the ads on TV or hear them on our favorite podcasts. Wix and Squarespace dominate the world of “do-it-yourself” website builders, promoting their tools as easy to use and inexpensive. While this may be true, there are some serious concerns with using a website builder for your business, especially if you want to succeed in Search Engine Optimization efforts.
Another major reason to avoid site builders like Wix or Squarespace for your business is the lack of access to the website’s code. Beyond the basic SEO elements accessible, such as page titles, meta descriptions, and URLs, there are elements of on-site and technical SEO that are inaccessible due to the focus on being easy to use for the average user.
If you are looking to modify the URL structure of blog categories and breadcrumbs for a better user experience, you won’t be able to. Also, with no access to the code behind the page, you can’t fix HMTL validation errors that can negatively impact your ranking. If your site has technical issues, Google and other search engines will not rank your site well, leading to lower traffic.
Additionally, if you are trying to set up redirects for old pages or content that has moved, or trying to make sitewide changes, you will have to make them manually on every page which can take a lot of work.
Website builders like Wix often have enormous amounts of bloated code. By nature of offering extremely customizable options within a builder, every possible option for something as simple as a page heading needs to be coded for and can result in several nested styles, which take additional time to load.
In the example below, the page heading requires four separate nested styles in the Div class, the h2 class, and the two span tags. In ExpressionEngine, WordPress, and other custom development platforms, this could be achieved by one class or style. These nested styles add up quickly on the page and will reduce page speed, which will negatively affect SEO Rankings.
As your business grows and the needs of your site change, you’ll want to update your site to match. If you ever find your needs are outpacing the abilities of Wix, such as needing custom integrations for eCommerce, a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM), or other items, you will come into a major issue with website builders. Namely, you cannot export your website and use it elsewhere.
As Wix says in their help center, “Your Wix site and all of its content is hosted exclusively on Wix’s servers, and cannot be exported elsewhere. Specifically, it is not possible to export or embed files, pages, or sites, created using the Wix Editor or ADI to another external destination or host.”
What it comes down to is that if you ever chose to leave Wix or Squarespace, you need to rebuild your site from scratch and lose all the work you've put in.
As noted above, when you create a site within a website builder, you are not able to export the files and move them to another host or server. When a website is built in a CMS that allows custom development and access to the code, your site files can be exported and recreated in the event the original developer or company hosting the website removes functionality or closes the business, or you want to move to a new company for other reasons.
In a website builder, if the company closes its doors, takes down the builder, or removes functionality, plugins, features, or services, you’ll be stuck with what is remaining, or left with a website that no longer functions.
So, what are you to do when you need to create a website on a budget but don’t want to use a website builder? There are options! We offer a basic website package using WordPress that allows us to help businesses with limited budgets build a website in a CMS that is ready for future growth. We also offer fully custom website design and development for businesses looking to take their site to the next level.
Written by: Clayton Pollard