A while back, we shared a post about the disadvantages of using free, do-it-yourself website builders, which include a lack of full ownership and limited support with site malfunctions. A lot has changed since that post was written almost two years ago. We admit that those DIY site builders have advanced as well, but they still often don’t provide or assist with many of the most vital aspects of an effective website:

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Some, like Wix and Weebly, now have the basic SEO option, but their areas are limited. Many free website builders do not provide the ability for optimization within photos (alt tags), titles, and headings, which are major factors that Google bots use when rummaging through site content. With these SEO limitations, websites are still not guaranteed to be found by Google and other search engines.

2. Customization

Free website builders are created with simplicity in mind, so that folks who do not have a background in technology or digital designing can perform simple “drag-and-drop” customizing. This is fine for those who don’t mind having sites that resemble dozens of others across the web. For those who desire more technical control, however, such as changing the structure of the site or adding special effects, they will need experienced web designers who understand html, css, and coding.

Also, e-commerce is not always supported in these free website builders. If users want to add an online-store and sell products from their website, they usually have to seek a third-party. 

3. Ownership & Hosting

In our original post, we explained the difficulty with not owning your site when using a free website builder, but being knowledgeable about this is extremely important, so we’ll discuss this issue in more detail here. Free website builders may have allowed you to purchase your domain from them and host with them, but that’s about it. Everything else regarding your website belongs to them and is controlled by them. With that being said, if that free website builder malfunctions, your website suffers. Deciding to use a separate hosting or domain provider may still cause complications, because the free website builder would still own all of your site files and most likely require a fee to direct your site to the separate host.

We’re not saying that all free website builders are bad, and we definitely understand that many small business owners make the choice to use them based on their budget. Our job here at Emerge is to help clients identify the pros and cons, and make a decision based on what will most benefit their business. As a small business ourselves, looking out for other small businesses is what we do. And, if you’ve decided that free site builders isn’t the route you want to take, we provide professional website designs, customized to fit your brand (and within your budget). We’re one phone call away!