This article provides 10 reasons why Do-It-Yourself website builders such as Wix and Squarespace should be avoided by most small businesses, and why business owners should choose WordPress instead.
This article will help small business owners answer questions like:
- Should I build my own small business website?
- Are Wix and Squarespace good for SEO?
- What’s the difference between WordPress, Wix & Squarespace?
- Should I hire a web designer to build my small business website?
- What happens if I want to move my website away from Wix or Squarespace?
There are many DIY website builders on the market today, and choosing where and how your small business website gets built is difficult. In this article, we focus on two of the most popular DIY builders out there, Wix & Squarespace, how they differ from an open-source platform like WordPress, and how choosing a DIY builder can harm your business.
Here is what we will cover:
- Lack of Ownership
- Limited Control
- Hidden Expenses
- Restricted Functionality
- Lack of Customization Options
- Fewer Developers & Designers
- Negative Impact on SEO
- Inability to Migrate Website
- A Much Smaller Community
- The Ultimate Cost
Okay, enough preamble. Let’s dive right in to the top 10 reasons you should avoid Wix & Squarespace and choose WordPress instead!
1. Lack of Ownership
The first reason a small business owner choosing how to build their website should opt against a DIY builder such as Wix or Squarespace is the lack of ownership of your website, and ultimately it’s content.
Websites built on Wix and Squarespace are essentially built on rented space. Effectively, the files where your website resides are inaccessible to you. If you ever want to move away from Wix or Squarespace, you cannot take the files with you. If (however unlikely) these companies shut down, your files are gone. As a business owner, this is a position of vulnerability I choose to steer clear of.
Looking to the future, if you wanted to switch to an open source platform like WordPress, you could not migrate your website files over and would have to start again from scratch. With WordPress on the other hand, you have the ability to access all of your own files, choose where they are hosted and make any changes you desire; including the ability to migrate your files to a new hosting environment. In other words, with WordPress you have complete ownership over your website and its content. With Wix & Squarespace you do not.
2. Limited Control
Touched on in the previous pitfall, Wix & Squarespace users are given very little control over their websites environment. You do not have any control over where your website is hosted, and if the hosting is slow there is nothing you can do about it. Poor hosting will cause your website to load slowly for your customers, resulting in a higher bounce rate and fewer conversions, which costs you money!
Additionally, Google has increased the importance of pagespeed and user experience in its search ranking algorithm. Slow hosting will send signals to Google that your website should be ranked lower in its search engine.
With WordPress, you have control over where your website is hosted. If you want to make a change to a different hosting provider, you have full freedom to do so.
3. Sneaky Expenses
Wix & Squarespace provide a very low barrier to entry. They are cheap and easy to use… until you need extra functionality. Upgrades and add-ons are where these subscription based services really get you. A lot of the functionality you will want as your business and website grow will cost you more and more.
The costs can mount and it can be very expensive. Also, you will have a far narrower selection of tools to work with in comparison to the tools available for WordPress. Wix and Squarespace want you to be locked in long-term with them, and continuously charge for any functionality upgrades (ie. online booking software, analytic and tracking software, etc).
WordPress has an enormous ecosystem of plug-ins, themes and tools for just about anything. Many are free, but some do cost money; however, more often than not this is a one time initial fee and not an ongoing subscription.
4. Restricted Functionality
As we touched on in ‘Sneaky Expenses’, functionality can play a huge part in the success of your website. DIY builders have very limited tools and add-ons when compared to that of WordPress, you are stuck with what they make available to you and the added functionality can be very expensive.
WordPress is an open-source platform, so access to it is free and available to anyone, and accounts for almost 40% of websites on the internet. Due to this enormous scope, there is a thriving development community rapidly producing plug-ins, themes and other tools for WordPress users. Again, many are completely free of charge, or offer a paid premium upgrade. So do your research and choose the tool that is best for you and your budget!
5. Lack of Customization Options
As a web designer, this pitfall really frustrated me when working with Wix or Squarespace websites (especially Wix in this case). These platforms vastly limit the customization options for your website. Custom CSS coding is a fundamental tool used by designers to make websites look and function the way you want them to. DIY builders offer very little, if any, ability to add these custom changes, meaning you need to accept the style they give you.
With WordPress, you can literally customize whatever you want.
6. Fewer Developers & Designers
As we touched on in ‘Restricted Functionality’, the importance of an active development community around a platform cannot be understated. Better functionality, tools and user experiences will give your business an edge over those without.
Due to the disdain many web developers and designers have for the DIY website builders, most avoid taking on projects for these platforms. In many cases, it can be tough to find good help for these platforms. Outsourcing your design work on services like Fiverr is popular, although often you end up hiring someone you don’t know that is halfway across the world that will likely do a poor job on your website.
7. Negative Impact on SEO
As we touched on in Pitfall #2, Google knows if your business website is using poor hosting, which can negatively impact your SEO. Most DIY’ers don’t have any idea how to take SEO best practices into account when building a website, such as structuring HTML or menu hierarchies.
With WordPress, you have access to every nook and cranny of your site, so when you pair that with a talented pool of developers and designers, on top of all the great free plug-ins and tools, your SEO will be vastly superior to that of a website on a DIY platform.
8. Inability to Migrate Website
As we have touched on earlier, if your website is on Wix or Squarespace, and you decide you want to move it to an open-source platform like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal, you will have to recreate the entire site from the ground up.
Yes you can copy and paste your content, but the bones of the website will all have to be recreated from scratch. This is because you do not have access to your files in your database that store all of the content that makes your website look how it looks, work how it works and say what it says.
With WordPress, you can migrate to a different host at any time because you have complete control over your files. Wix and Squarespace restrict this access and ability because they don’t want you to leave, so that you will keep paying them your hard-earned money.
9. A Much Smaller Community
We also touched on this pitfall earlier, but should be given its own place in the top 10. Due to the lack of designers and developers using the DIY builders (for reasons outlined above), the community surrounding these platforms is lacking. When you have a question or a problem on WordPress, more often than not, the answer is out there. Whether through Facebook groups, WordPress support or other communities, the culture and support systems around WordPress are fantastic. With the DIY builders, the support is very limited.
10. The Ultimate Cost
Add all of these pitfalls together, and not only will you experience a heavy monetary cost, but it will also cost you valuable time and resources. If you plan to grow your business and website, then I suggest thinking twice about using a DIY builder to do so. Not only will you be nickel and dimed with any added functionality, you will be negatively impacted in SEO, and if you’re building your own website and aren’t a designer, the odds are it is not going to look great, which will also effect your bottom line.