Professional Website Web Design - Not Online Website Builders

Site Builders: What’s Good? What’s Bad?

At some stage in a web developers life, they have used a website builder. Whether that’s WIX and SquareSpace being used by many people today, a site builder by GoDaddy, or other software provided by a web hosting company to aid in website design. They all have their positives and negatives for being used.  Primarily, the big reason why people use them is that they’re easy to work with, however, there is a big underlying issue with each of them, and that is that they limit the customizability or they’re just plain awful when it comes to getting ranked on Search Engines.

In recent years, each of the big three (SquareSpace, Wix, and Godaddy) have spent millions of dollars either sponsoring NASCAR events, Super Bowl advertising, or massive TV Advertising campaigns. To be honest, I love the commercials, but at the end of the day, I hate the software.

What’s Wrong With A Site Builder?

The big problem or drawback with each of the various site builders is that they are designed for the end user.  Wix and Squarespace, in particular, are built to allow the end user to drag and drop features on a page. They’re really easy to use too, so they rank really high on my list for usability. Heck, if you put your mind to it, you can build a site in less than an hour!

At the end of the day, they’re designed for people who have no web design experience. And that’s just fine. That’s their target market.

You can build out your website and be up and running very quickly. You pay $10-$30 per month which includes the builder and the web hosting, and sometimes email, and you’re done.

The bad part however, is that people will never find you or your website!

Check Our Video Where We Talk About Site Builders

Video Session regarding Website Builders, why they're popular, and what to watch out for.

You Can’t Customize The Website

Essentially, the website builders are designed to be pretty, and functional for search engines, is an afterthought.

There’s a selection of templates that you can use, and in some cases, are forced to use. The moment that you need to customize something, add extra functionality for tracking or scripting, or you get a programmer involved to built out an area, it falls apart.

We spend a lot of time troubleshooting and enhancing websites for clients in PHP all the time. Sometimes it’s a matter of a client wanting a phone number located in a specific area of their website (top left, top right etc), but due to how the templates are designed, the functionality is just not possible without an entire rewrite of their template.  You can’t just add a few DIV tags, customize the CSS to float-left or float-right. I’m prohibited from doing my job.so.  So that limits the customizations of how the platforms actually work.  They are great, they are pretty, they look really nice… but from an SEO side of

So that limits the customizations of how the platforms actually work.  They are great, they are pretty, they look really nice… but even from an SEO side of things, they just don’t work.

Speedy Website Are Critical In Today’s World

The speed of a website affects SEO. Google has been drilling this into people for the last couple of years, and have it clearly outlined in their Best Practices Guidelines. If you have a slow website, that’s a problem. Google will devalue a website if it is slow.

Google is all about user experience.  If the user has a bad experience, such as the website taking a long time to load, generally the website visitor isn’t going to come back to the website. Google is going to pick up on that, and in turn, it will rank a different website higher on their results page.

Pictures Are Nice, But Google Wants Text

Google needs to be able to find, decipher, and read the information on a website. If they can’t read it, they can’t rank it.  Yes, a website visitor can read the page, but Google and Bing can have a problem.  The way many of the site builders have structured it, it doesn’t work at this point.  Hopefully, in the near future, Wix and Squarespace will get their act together and modify their software so Google and Bing love them. This would likely require a rewrite of their core software, so don’t expect this change to happen quickly. But when they modify it on their end, everybody will be happy.

The problem with the drag and drop mentality is that users are designing pretty websites. In and of itself, this is not a problem, but they completely forget about the search engine, and it’s not the user’s fault. The website builders encourage users to build pretty websites but fail to mention the rest of the things that search engines need.

Wix Is Built With AJAX

AJAX is a client-side scripting process that allows a website to be built on the fly.  Instead of having to refresh the page, AJAX just loads in the sections. This is great from a user end of things, but not so great as a search engine. Since it requires the page to be rendered, search engines have a hard time understanding the page. Some search engines such as Bing can’t read it at all.

While AJAX was something that Google promoted back in 2009, as of 2015 they clearly stated that they’re abandoning their support for it.  Google and Wix do have a deal together where there is a cached version of the page stored on the Wix Servers that Google can index and work with, however, this is not efficient.

AJAX doesn’t allow for pretty page URLs.  What I mean by this is when you visit a WIX website, you may see something like https://www.bigredseo.com/#!J8k3j2 instead of https://www.bigredseo.com/omaha-web-designer/

This is inherent in how the software works on Wix in particular. So you’re losing potential keywords in your URL that could help a user understand what they’ll see on the website.  Above, you can instantly see that we are an Omaha Web Designer. With a string of letters and numbers, it’s anybody’s guess as to what you’ll see when you land on the page.  So we’ve come all the way back to functionality and a clear path for users (usability).

Squarespace at least allows you to rewrite the URLs with your own words, so they’re a step ahead of Wix in that department, but still function using the AJAX method. With each page essentially having its own template, you can quickly confuse users as to usability as every page could be laid out differently.

WordPress Is Still Better For SEO

At the end of the day, getting your website in front of potential buyers or visitors for informational type websites should be a primary objective.  Since I deal with WordPress all day, I’m going to advocate for WordPress, but there are other Content Management Systems (CMS) out there that are great alternatives to WordPress.

We’re contacted by clients on a regular basis looking to change certain parts of their website, and I’ve done a lot of troubleshooting on both the Wix and Squarespace platforms to help those clients. Getting the site builders to behave in a manner that we see acceptable however is just not 100% possible.

Need A New Website? We Can Help!

Looking for something different, or looking to convert your existing Wix or Squarespace website into WordPress? We can help.  There’s no “conversion tool” as such, it’s a matter of rebuilding the website, however, if you already have a pretty website, and it’s functional, shouldn’t you be taking advantage of the search engines and driving traffic to the website?  With WordPress, you can!

Big Red SEO has an office in Omaha Nebraska that you can walk in and have a face to face meeting about your project. If you wish to chat via Skype or via phone, we’re available that way too. There are a number of companies that claim to be a Local SEO Company in Omaha or a Local Website Designer in Omaha, but when you need to talk to someone, they’re actually located in other states.  We truly are, local in Omaha!  Contact us at (402) 522-6468 or fill out our contact form, and we’ll call you back – https://www.bigredseo.com/contact-us/

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