Phoenix Website Design Tips
Why free website builders are a bad idea for your business
If you’re building your first website and don’t have a lot of web design experience, you’re probably tempted to use a free website builder such as Squarespace or Wix. Seems easy, right? All you have to do is fill in the blanks. Add your logo, some content, and some pictures and boom! You are ready to go! Right? Not so fast.
SEO—and why it’s important
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. It includes keywords, meta data, and other elements of a website that help get that site recognized by search engines such as Google and Bing. A website with strong SEO is more likely to rank on the first page for keywords that are relevant to your website. That’s where you want your site to be. Surveys, studies, and common sense all say that someone doing a search won’t look past the first page of results. Most people don’t move past the third page. The best thing that you can do for your website and your business is to make Google your friend.
Why free builders have problematic SEO
When you use a website template or builder site, you have very little control over what goes on behind the scenes. You can drop in content that includes keywords, of course, but you often can’t add or edit the metadata, change the page URL, or tinker with other elements. When you build with WordPress, you have complete control of your site from head to toe. There are also a vast number of SEO plugins out there that can really help you such as Yoast. Often, these templates use Flash or other elements that search engines can’t read at all. Even if you realize the website builder is using these elements, there’s usually nothing you can do about it since you can’t customize them.
Flash has a few other issues, too, that make it unattractive to web designers. It’s known to have a number of major security issues, and even though there have been fixes, it’s so bad that most of the major web browsers (Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, and Firefox) have automatically disabled Flash content.
You Can’t Use Structured Data
Structured data is incredibly valuable for local SEO. This is almost impossible to add on with many web builders. Structured data is optimizes pages by organizing your data into a format that’s very predictable and structured. By doing so, it makes it incredibly easy for search engines to find all of the information they need about your site and create useful titles and snippets for users.
You Can’t Have Your Own Unique URL
The URL or web address for a page built using a builder normally includes the builder’s name. There are a few problems with this. First-if you have the name WIX or squarespace in your URL, it does not look professional to the end user. It just screams “I built my website for free”. Second, it hurts you in SEO. Each page title needs to contain your keywords and if you are a local business-your location. The names that are given to each of your pages also are a factor in helping your business to rank better with search engines.
Some builders are not responsive on mobile devices
Today, more than half of the people who use the internet do so from a smartphone, tablet, or similar device. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’ve just lost a very large portion of your audience. That’s why responsive website design has become vital for success. This type of design automatically adjusts your website structure and content to the device the user is viewing it on so that it’s easy to read.
Not all website builders don’t do this. Your website may simply not be useable on a smartphone. This is especially true when the builders make heavy use of Flash. This means not only are you losing out on a lot of views due to lack of SEO, even those who do find your website might not be able to view it.
Your Site Looks Like Everyone Else’s
With thousands of other businesses using the same builder, your website will end up looking like a lot of other businesses out there. The goal for any business should be to build a unique branding experience that the customer will remember and come back to. A website that blends in with the vast sea of others out there is easily forgotten.
You don’t REALLY own your website
When you use a website builder like Wix, you do not own the files that were used to build it. So for example, if you decide you want to switch to a faster host or add on a store front for customers to make purchases online, that is virtually impossible. When you build with WordPress-either a custom or template website, you have complete control and ownership over the website, allowing you to make changes and updates as your business grows and evolves..
There’s Little, if Any, Reporting
When you build your own website (either a wordpress template or custom website), you can use analytics and other reports to help you see where your traffic is coming from and which keywords are working. With a website built using a builder, you may not have that option. Most don’t offer any reporting. Without that information, you have no idea if your website is getting traffic, how long people are staying on a page or how many repeat users you have.
Slow load times
A website that doesn’t load quickly will be shunned by Google and other search engines. In the instant gratification world we live in, people do not wait around for a website to load. In fact, people are so impatient these days that if a site doesn’t load within a few seconds, they’ll likely click off of it and go to a competitor’s site. Pages built with Squarespace and other website builders have hundreds of websites per server. This means when multiple users are trying to access many of these sites at once, they all load slowly. People are going to be abandoning your website left and right before they even see any of your content. That’s assuming search engines even rank it on the first page because of load times.
It’s Not a CMS
What if you decide you need to add new content that is outside of what the template provides? A website builder doesn’t give you that option. A site built on a CMS platform such as WordPress gives you unlimited options for adding new content and arranging it in a way that users can easily navigate. You can add new pages or posts with a few clicks, edit content easily, and upload graphics and other media. You are not locked into a set number of content boxes, how big or small your logo can be, or the amount or size of your images.
There’s No Support
Have a question about your site? Need help with something? Good luck getting support from Wix, Weebly, or any of the other builders out there. They don’t offer a lot in the way of assistance, and even when they do, they’re often so overwhelmed with questions or help tickets that they can’t get back to you for days.
Your Brand is Devalued
Your brand and business is unique—you aren’t like anyone else, so why should your website be? Unfortunately, that’s what you get when you go with a website builder that uses templates. There is very little room to customize or add the unique branding elements to your site that will make it both ownable and memorable. The key to a great website is to create a unique experience for the customer that shows the user visually what your brand is about.
What’s the Solution?
While making use of templates and web builders is tempting, the end product many times falls flat. Sure, you can put together a basic website with little to no experience, but how functional is the site? Does it look professional and polished? Does it give the brand experience you are looking for? Is it going to rank with the search engines so the website can be found?
I’m here to help with your Phoenix Web Design
Let’s build a site together that is beautiful, functional, and will be loved by google. After all, if people can’t find your site, then all of this time was for nothing. Be sure to check out my website design samples by clicking here.
Contact me today to learn more about why WordPress is the best platform for your website and how I can help you create the online presence you need to be competitive. Call me today at 623-476-7394, or email me for more information!