the case against website builders for small businesses

The use of website builders has exploded in popularity in recent years. Today, roughly 18 million websites are built using these platforms. They promise quick, effortless website creation and low monthly fees, making them seem like the perfect solution for cash-strapped small businesses or solo entrepreneurs. But what if we told you that these seemingly convenient tools could actually be holding your business back?

This post aims to make the case against website builders for small businesses. Let’s explore the various limitations of these platforms and how they might be doing more harm than good.

The Rise of Website Builders

In the early days of the internet, building a website required coding knowledge – HTML, CSS, and perhaps even some JavaScript. This high barrier to entry meant that only a select few businesses and organizations could establish a presence online. Website builders were first introduced in the mid-2000s, promising to revolutionize the process with user-friendly interfaces and drag-and-drop functionality. Since then, web builders have become increasingly more intuitive and customizable.

The rise in popularity of these platforms has democratized website creation. Suddenly, anyone– regardless of technical expertise– can build a website. But this democratization has come with new challenges. Website builders aggressively target small businesses and entrepreneurs, promising affordability and full control over their online presence. However, the promise of complete control is often misleading, leading us to the core problems with these platforms.

The Disadvantages of Website Builders for Small Businesses

Website builders often sell themselves on ease of use and affordability. But beyond their initial appeal, these platforms can pose a number of challenges that often outweigh the promised benefits. Let’s take a closer look at some of the major disadvantages you need to know about.

Limited Customization

One of the major drawbacks of website builders is limited customization potential. While they promise ease of use and flexibility, the reality is that you’re largely bound to the constraints of their pre-designed templates and drag-and-drop systems.

Sure, you might be able to change colors and swap out some images, but the underlying structure and fundamental layout options are generally rigid. If you have a truly unique brand aesthetic or require specific functionalities that fall outside the template’s offerings, you’re likely to encounter frustrations. This lack of true customization can hinder your ability to create a website that accurately reflects your brand’s personality and effectively speaks to your target audience.

Scalability Issues

While a website builder might be sufficient for launching a simple online presence, problems often arise as your business grows and your needs evolve. Your drag-and-drop website might function well enough at first, but what happens when you need to add new products, integrate complex features, or handle a surge in traffic?

The basic functionalities offered by most website builders are unlikely to keep up with your growing needs. This leads to a reliance on third-party plugins and add-ons, which often come with their own set of costs and compatibility issues. The more plugins you add, the more you risk bloating your site, slowing it down, and potentially creating security vulnerabilities. Not to mention, those additional monthly fees for premium plugins can quickly add up.

Beyond plugin limitations, there’s the major hurdle of migration. Let’s say your business outgrows the website builder entirely. Moving your entire website to a more flexible and scalable platform is no small task. It’s often a time-consuming, expensive process, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to seamlessly transfer all your existing content and data. This means you might end up having to rebuild large portions of your site from scratch – a major setback for any growing business.

Time Commitment

Website builders cleverly market themselves as ultra-time-efficient solutions. However, the reality is that even these seemingly simple platforms demand a significant time investment. Don’t underestimate the learning curve involved in navigating the builder’s interface, figuring out its limitations, and achieving the look and functionality you desire.

For many business owners, time is the most valuable resource. The promise of a quick website launch might be tempting, but the endless hours spent wrestling with the builder’s tools can quickly turn into a major source of frustration. This is especially true if you have limited technical experience and end up spending a large chunk of time troubleshooting issues on your own.

Lack of Support

One of the major drawbacks of large website builder companies is their impersonal and often insufficient support processes. When something goes wrong with your website (and it likely will at some point), you’re often left waiting in long queues for live chat support, digging through generic knowledge base articles, or bouncing around community forums hoping to find someone with a solution to your specific issue.

This lack of personalized support is a significant drawback when compared to partnering with a smaller web development company or a freelance developer. In those scenarios, you build a relationship and have direct access to someone invested in helping you succeed. They understand the nuances of your business and your website, offering tailored guidance and troubleshooting that generic builder support systems simply can’t provide.

Moving Beyond Website Builders

The appeal of website builders is understandable, but the restrictions often outweigh the perceived benefits. So the question becomes: how can you get a professional-looking website without sacrificing affordability, speed, and the necessary support to maintain it? 

Vervology’s eXpress website plans are designed specifically for small businesses and entrepreneurs who understand the importance of a strong online presence but lack the time, resources, or technical know-how to tackle website creation on their own. With Vervology eXpress, you get a fast launch time, affordable pricing with no upfront fees, and ongoing support from a small US-based team committed to helping you succeed. Reach out to our team today to learn more!