The majority of website builder brands offer a free account which allows users access to the basic features and building tools. A handful of website builders provide a limited trial period to allow users to get comfortable with the service before paying for the subscription – these are generally the more complex and sophisticated website builders.
The free accounts generally provide users with a subdomain, for example yourname.wix.com, yourname.websitebuilder.com or yourname.squarespace.com users can then publish their site under this URL. If you publish your site on a free account you will notice that it has many advertising banners for the website builder brand that you chose, this doesn’t make your site look particularly appealing to your customers and visitors. Our advice is if you have never used a website builder before or it’s your first time designing a website use the free account to get used to the editor and the features it offers and then when you want to publish the site live upgrade to a premium account – that way you have a custom domain and no banner ads.
However there are disadvantages of using a site builder site…
In the hustle to set up a new website, many small business owners skip the homework phase of researching what a site builder will actually do for them. They go right into signing up for what they think is the cheapest and easiest way of using the web to promote their business. As a result, they wind up getting duped into setting up a site builder account with a cheap looking website template stored in a poor hosting environment. For these entrepreneurs who have no experience of how the web design process works, they are simply wasting their time and money.
Online site building companies pump themselves up by emphasizing the speed at which you can get online with a brand new website. Taglines such as “No Programming Needed”, “Get Online In 20 Minutes”, “24 Hour Support” and “Increase Your Business Sales by 20%!” are all advertising gimmicks used by these companies. Even though they seem logical, the disadvantages far out-weight the advantages.
Giving up flexibility is not something you should be willing to do. For example, if you are looking for a specific layout, you might find a website builder just too limited to satisfy your imaginative requirements. Websites built from site builders usually have a universal look and feel, and more often than not, you can tell a site builder look at first glance. No matter how good you get at using the site builder tools, there will never be a way at which to edit the actual html code to get your own personal touch.
Online companies love their site building services, mainly because they don’t have to do anything. The service is mostly automated, which means they are providing you their services without supplying you complete customer services, qualified designer or technical support. Some are completely automated, offering no customer service at all. Many times if there is an issue that you cannot solve, you must submit a ticket (written request) that is responded to by an automated email. If you are fortunate enough to speak to a real person, it only means that they will be “more than happy” to send you a ‘template solution’ from their list of ‘template solutions’, through email, leaving you to figure out the problem yourself.
The coding environment itself is very poor. In order for all the functional aspects to work, they must over-code each and every template to enable you to take advantage of everything they offer, from mulitiple language transcriptions to hit counters. These “blocks” of code are so numerous and junky that they take up much more bandwith than what would normally be needed to run an otherwise ‘streamlined’ code structured website. They commonly offer a list of non-optimizable ‘plug-ins’ and ‘widgets’ that get stuffed into your code, sucking up bandwith and increasing the time it takes to download into a users browser.
Another issue they fail to handle is using standard code. Viewing their source code will reveal deprecaded code (code that is no longer supported by W3C), not only in the body but in their use of meta information. In their attempt to compensate, they commonly use transitional doctypes, making it easier for them to validate with few errors. Cross-browser compatibility is aslo no guarantee because deprecated code cannot render out uniformally across different browser environments.
You will never actually own a site builder website
Because you build the site using their tools, you never actually own the site. No copy of the site files including html, php, jpg’s and all other files that go into making the website will be provided to you. The user agreements do not guarantee you reimbursment of any loss, attacks, deletion or misplacement of your web files (since they own them). It’s important that your provider is well managed from a business point of view, along with your designer because you could lose your website if it goes bust. That’s why it’s generally better to go with an established and knowledgeable website designer.
If you want a large website, such as an ecommerce website, site builders are the worst choice. It is important to recognize that site building companies store your information away from you, either on their servier, or by connecting to a data base on another providers server. The bigger your site grows, the more potential for something going wrong, especially maintaining a large inventory. Also, if your website should need advanced functionality, site builders are no good for PHP, Java and SQL. Then again, if you use these languages then you’re unlikely to be looking at website builders anyway. And the number of add-ons that are offered are many times not enough to make up for the advantages you’d find in an open-source system.
Because you are purchasing a package, there are likely hidden fees attached to using all of their proprietery tools and add-on features. Be careful to read their terms and conditions carefully. After you sign up, they will often launch a sales campaign and will try to up-sell you on everything from upgraded hosting packages, websites back-ups and so on.
Owners of site builders usually find themselves hiring a web designer later on to figure out problems, implement advance optimization technics and making modifications that are too difficult or not possible to do from the tools offered by the service. Many business owners find themselves tired of the poor hosting environment sooner or later, and thus hop over to a regular ftp account. Most hosting companies offer economy hosting with regular ftp that are much more efficient, and when you compare the cost of just the hosting alone, a complete ftp account with open source code is cheaper.
Do it right the first time
Never accept a website without strict standards. You should also demand a guarantee that your website will download quickly and error free! Cross-browser compatibility is another feature to be considered because your website should be viewed with the same clarity and dimensions in all screens and devices.
The advantages of a complete custom website from RTS Website Design will far out-weight the services offered by automated online services. You are guaranteed an optimized and compatible website at a very affordable price. Call today, RTS Website Design will meet your deadline and satisfy all your requirements.