While these services can save a small business money, they come with some hidden costs you need to be aware of: Time, ownership, control, migration, and sales.
DIY (do it yourself) website solutions are popping up everywhere. They give people the ability to create a website without knowing all the technical stuff. While these services can save money, they have at least three hidden costs:
I often hear, “I built a website on Wix or Weebly, it’s not the way I want it, and I don’t have any more time to work on it, can you help me?” DIY website solutions can cost you time learning how to use the drag-n-drop editors while attempting to design something that looks great. The result is often is not what you wanted.
My advice is: if you’re don’t have a good eye for design, don’t deviate from the template and make too many customizations. I know you want to make the design your own, but this is where I see many business owners with limited design skills get into trouble. They spend all this time designing something they don’t like.
A lack of freedom and control
Many DIY website services limit what you can do. At first, their services may seem adequate, but when your business grows, you may discover that you can’t do what you want; now you have to move to another platform.
Many of these services provide a domain name when you sign up, but they may own that domain name; this means when you leave their platform, that website address you printed on your business cards, and your email address will no longer work.
This is a huge cost to you if you become dissatisfied with their service. You will then have to try and figure out how to buy the domain name from them, or lose that name and have to update all your social media pages, business cards, and emails with the new address—you don’t want that trouble.
Also, all your data (with the exception of Square Space) will not be easy to transfer to another CMS like WordPress; so you’ll have to go through the hassle of recreating all those pages, images, and content all over again—you don’t want that trouble.
Losing sales and opportunities
The other hidden cost is the loss in sales when visitors don’t buy or call after visiting your website. Visitors don’t call or buy primarily because a site looks bad, but because the website wasn’t strategically designed to lead people to call or email. You see, there’s a whole lot more involved in effective web design.
DIY website solutions only give you the ability to publish a website; they don’t integrate marketing, user testing, information architecture, and strong copywriting into the mix. These are disciplines you’ll have to employ on your own. Therefore, many of these DIY website solutions are not the best option for most small businesses.
So what is a better another option for small budgets? I recommend WordPress.org. It’s a free content management system much like these other DIY platforms but with a lot more freedom.