Don’t Use Wix – Or any other DIY website builder.
We often have clients come to us asking for help on their Wix, or Squarespace, or Weebly websites. These clients are looking for various upgrades and more often than not their requests are not possible.
The problems with these DIY website builders are many and the solutions are limited. Website builders make it very easy to build a great looking website quickly, but they also make it very easy to make a poorly performing one.
At first glance these website builders seem like a fairly good deal. One monthly price and you get your very own website! Once you start to dig into these DIY website builders it becomes clear they are not what they’re cracked up to be.
So, what’s the deal?
Websites are a lot like vehicles. Their use cases range from running errands to transporting sick people to shipping goods across the country. In other words, websites perform any number of tasks and help to achieve a wide range of goals; The more advanced and specialized the goal, the more advanced and specialized the website needs to be.
Using a service like Wix is like trying to build one of these vehicles yourself. You might have the skills and time necessary to get the basics built, but chances are you’ll need a professional to get it built right in the end. In some cases, your specialized needs might not even be possible on these platforms.
You Won’t Own Your Own Website
This is huge, and maybe a little bit scary.
If you take anything away from this article, take this away. When creating a website on Wix.com, you won’t own your website. When creating a site with Wix you don’t own the design, code, the html, or the template. They even maintain ownership of assests that you purchase from them. You’re simply one of (literally) thousands of subscribers to the Wix platform. Wix spells this out in their terms and conditions.
If Wix ever goes bankrupt, decides to take down their platform, kicks you off for any reason, or decides to remove templates, functionality or features that you’re using… well, you’re left in the lurch, often without access to your content.
Any business owner knows this could be catastrophic, especially if you don’t have a backup. Which leads me to my next point…
You’re Stuck With It
Let’s say you get lucky. You’re website is performing well, your site is ranking high and it’s time to expand your business. Maybe you have a CRM that you’d like to integrate with in order to make customer engagement easier. Or maybe you have a POS system that you’d like to integrate into your online sales system. Or, maybe it’s just time to move on…
Well, migration is not possible with any DIY website builder and you’re limited to the integrations they provide. That means if you wanted to integrate with another service, or move your website to another platform, you can’t. There is no way of exporting any of your content. Your URL’s, your formatting, images, navigation, files, or any other aspect of the site is stuck with Wix. If someone fills out your contact form, Wix owns that information. If someone makes a purchase, Wix get’s their info. They may choose to share it, but it’s not yours. If you move, it’s lost forever or it has to be completely recreated elsewhere. You’re starting from scratch.
These services depend on you getting stuck with them. They’re deliberately hard to move from… but you will need to move on at some point. Why not start on the right foot from the beginning?
Devalues Your Business
Let’s use some numbers… Wix.com currently has over 90million (!) customers. They have about 500 customizable templates. That means that on average almost 200,000 people are using the same website template. For popular templates, this is likely much, much more.
Can you imaging handing a Business Card to someone that matches their own? Or, worse yet, using the same logo as 200k other people!? The fact is, your business website becomes your online identity. If it’s not unique, or memorable, or at all different from other websites, then your brand is being cheapened.
48% of people cited a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business.https://www.ironpaper.com/webintel/articles/10-web-design-statistics/
You Should Focus On Your Business, Not Your Website
You shouldn’t build your own website (the very thing your business relies on) because you are not a professional web designer/developer. Professionals have the tools, knowledge, and experience necessary to get the job done right. They know the ins and outs of security, user flows, CTA’s, prototyping, UI design, and a host of best practices that help to make your website rank high search results, be mobile friendly, generate leads, or manage data.
When you use a DIY website builder you are relying on Wix (or Squarespace, or Weebly) to make important decisions for you, and who are these website builders trying to make happy? Literally everyone. Their templates are created to be used by every industry. As a result, the websites on these platforms are watered down and unspecific. This results in two problems; They all look the same and none of them are remarkable. This may not sound like a problem, but when you look at well designed websites like meowwolf.com or glidedesign.com or the litany of specialized, artistic websites you can start to get an idea of what’s possible… or rather what’s not possible on DIY website builders.
These builders never take into account your specific goals, or your brand, or your marketing strategies, or any sort of specific experience that you want your customers to walk away with. They don’t work for you.
A professional website designer will layout user flows, they’ll use objective-based designs that can be measured and tracked. The design will drive users to a specific goal and match your brand in specific ways. The movement and flow of the website will be representative of your brand. In other words, a professional knows whats possible and understands how to leverage those possibilities into a website.
Speed and Security
Two of the most important aspects of a website are speed and security. A fast website ranks higher in search results. Fast websites are easier and more pleasurable to use. In terms of a first impression, a website that loads quickly can lead to more engagement which means more conversions which means more customers.
Google (and other search engines) knows that sending people to a slow website can wreak havoc on the user experience. So, it makes sense that these search engines use website speed as a factor in search results. Nobody wants to visit a slow website.
These DIY website builders also use a form of shared hosting. This means your website exists on the same computer as hundreds (or thousands) of others. If any one of those websites get’s hacked it could compromise your website. What’s more, these website builder companies have a history of hiding these hacks from you. Your site might already be compromised, and you’ll never know.
Unclear Costs (and Lost Profits)
Wix.com offers monthly plans as low as $14/month. This seems like a great deal and too good to be true! (Spoiler: It is). These plans are significantly limited in weird ways. For example, if you upgrade to the $18/’month plan you get a ‘speed booster app.’ Does this mean the basic plan only offers slow websites? Or are they slowing them down on purpose in order to coax you to upgrade? If you’d like to add a calendar to your site you need to upgrade once again ($23/month). Good news, this one allows social media icons to be on your website. Oy vey!
Once you start adding up the costs of, say, eCommerce things get even more unclear. Their pricing strategy works by introducing new functionalities with each tier, but also making those functionalities hard to use without upgrading again. For example, you can add eCommerce at the $23/month level but you’ll have no way of collecting payments. You can add payments at the $27/month but have no ability to track sales. Before you know it, you’re on their $50/month plan and need to purchase $500 worth of paid plugins for your business to function correctly.
This doesn’t include the lost revenue caused by poor SEO.
Lack of SEO and No SEO Optimization
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is the methodology of enabling your website to rank in search results. Professional web developers use various methods to increase SEO but one of the most important is structured data, or on-page SEO. Essentially, the structure of your content, along with schema data has a huge impact on how well your website ranks.
You can think of structured data as contextual information sent along with the website that helps it rank appropriately (and higher) in search results. If your website doesn’t have this data, then search engines are forced to guess at its contents.
For example. I recently had a client use a DIY website builder for their business. They found a template they liked and added their business services to that template. Little did they know search engines thought they were presenting creative works of art, and not a selection of business services. This meant that they didn’t rank at all in search engines, because the template they used implemented the wrong structured data… and they couldn’t change it.
Code without Structured Data:
<div> <span>Google.org (GOOG)</span> Contact Details: <div> Main address: <span>38 avenue de l'Opera</span> <span>F-75002</span> <span>Paris, France</span> </div> Tel:( 33 1) 42 68 53 00, Fax:( 33 1) 42 68 53 01, E-mail: secretariat(at)google.org </div>
Code with Structured Data:
<div itemscope itemtype="https://schema.org/Organization"> <span itemprop="name">Google.org (GOOG)</span> Contact Details: <div itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="https://schema.org/PostalAddress"> Main address: <span itemprop="streetAddress">38 avenue de l'Opera</span> <span itemprop="postalCode">F-75002</span> <span itemprop="addressLocality">Paris, France</span> </div> Tel:<span itemprop="telephone">( 33 1) 42 68 53 00 </span>, Fax:<span itemprop="faxNumber">( 33 1) 42 68 53 01 </span>, E-mail: <span itemprop="email">secretariat(at)google.org</span> </div>
When you use a website builder you don’t have any control of this structured data, in fact you’d be hard pressed to even have structured data in the first place. Growing your online presence is a huge part of getting customers.
This structured data helps search engines display your website in results. So, if you did manage to rank high enough to be seen you may end up looking like the result below if you’re using a DIY website builder.
This is what Mindshare Labs looks like in search results:
By hiding the complexities of website development Wix and Squarespace have made it easy to feel proud of your new website. This is the basics of their marketing strategy… they make it easy for you to look good, but hide the complexities in the hopes you won’t notice by the time you’ve told others.
But I Can’t Afford Anything Else, What do I do?
We know that starting a business is risky and expensive. Having a professional build your site can be too expensive for a new business, so check out these two DIY website builders. They’re open source and you won’t end up getting stuck with ’em.
WordPress.com is the DIY version of the most popular website CMS in existence. We build websites using the open source version of this (wordpress.org). If you decided to leave, your content is easily exported and migrated… all of it.
Github champions open source content so you can rest assured that they’re not using your information nefariously. This one can feel a little technical, but it’s possible to create anything here, and you have full control over your site’s architecture and content.