Have you ever heard the term “pick two out of three – Fast, Good and Cheap”? Well, Wix and Weebly are in the business of selling a blindfold that prevents the average person from seeing that as true. But it is. I’m sure, that as a small business owner yourself, you know that this is how things generally go:
Fast + Cheap = Not Good
Good + Cheap = Not Fast
Good + Fast = Not Cheap
This is no different when it comes to digital marketing efforts for your business. The trouble with “easy-to-build-a-website” services like Wix or Weebly, is they sell the idea that anybody can be a web designer. And a good, cheap and fast one, at that! At the end of the day, if you were building your own house, you wouldn’t find the first “how-to” guide on Google, buy a few palettes of bricks and cement, and crack on, would you? At least I hope you wouldn’t…because things would come crashing down pretty fast..literally!
Yes, it’s a ridiculous example, but the principle still stands. Just because it’s on a bigger scale, and the potential risks are, well…building a house that crashes on top of you, it’s taken a lot more seriously than building a website on a shoddy service that doesn’t at all care about your business.
Let’s take a look at a few good, hard facts
1. Google hates cheap website builders
You have to think about Google when you’re working on your website. Search engine rankings are crucially important to your website, and therefore your business. One of the main reasons you have a website in the first place is so that potential customers can discover you via organic search. Wix and Weebly are hated by Google’s search engine algorithm. The way these services are built, and the reason they are so “easy to use and create your own website in minutes” is because they cut corners of how a website should fundamentally operate.
You see, the way Wix and Weebly are developed, it’s a fairly difficult task for Google to read the code and decipher the important information Google need in order for your website to rank high. Not only that, but the Weebly free plan specifically states that your website will NOT be found by Google and other search engines, unless the customer switches to a premium plan. The way that Weebly offers this as a mirco-transaction is comparable to games like Candy Crush Saga or Farmville, which seem free at the beginning, but for each additional feature you want or require, you get hit with a payment gate. That’s no way to build a website for your business.
2. Wix and Weebly offer no scalability when your business thrives
There is very little to no room when it comes to scaling a website developed on Wix or Weebly. Sure, it may seem simple at the start – but what if your business expands, or pivots, or simply needs to accommodate to bigger or better needs of potential customers, and your Weebly site can’t handle it anymore. Can you pack it up and migrate it over to something like WordPress? Nope. What happens in Weebly, stays in Weebly. There are several un-verified “Wix to WordPress” converters, but the truth is, these Content Management Systems are so different, you shouldn’t expect much from any converter that claims it can duplicate your Weebly website into WordPress.
I know you might be thinking “but my business is only small” – yes, right now it is. But in 6, 12, 18 months it probably won’t be. But your website will be the same. Take a look at these 5 websites of huge companies that are built and managed on WordPress.
In fact, if Wix and Weebly make it so easy, and revolutionary to build a website in minutes, why aren’t the biggest corporations in the world using it? Because they know they need solutions that their users will enjoy using, be user friendly, scalable and simple to maintain.
3. Poor support
WordPress powers 30% of websites. That’s over 75 million websites. Naturally, there are hundreds of thousands of WordPress experts, technicians and support teams to help you when something goes wrong. Not to mention that the majority of plugins, widgets and themes used in WordPress come with support directly from their developers. This is a different story with Wix and Weebly. There aren’t very many ‘specialists’ that will be able to help you with any specific issues in regards to Wix or Weebly, especially as there are fundamental limitations when it comes to customising your Wix or Weebly website. Even hiring a developer / programmer, those free services are so locked down and limited to functional customisation, most of the time you have to ‘take it as it is’ and leave.
4. Wix and Weebly are actually expensive
You can create a Wix and Weebly website for free. But as we’ve learnt, good things don’t come cheap. Or in this case, usable things don’t come free. The free plans will get you a website that displays ads for Wix / Weebly, and you are only allowed a subdomain (e.g. www.mybusiness.weebly.com) – by choosing that, you are sending a message of cheapness and limitation to your potential customers. It’s a solid confirmation that you are not willing to invest into the most basic aspects of your business.
The premium plans vary between the platforms, but the average for a bottom range premium plan is £5 – £8 per month, which sounds very cheap, but bare in mind that’s a cost you will incur each month for as long as your business is running. Add all that up in retrospect of 5 – 7 years, and you will find that hiring a team to build your professional website on day 1 would have actually been cheaper, not to mention the value for money of a professional against a cheap service.
That’s not all, because there are limitations to what you can do even with paid plans. In Weebly’s case, if you decide a few months down the line that you have a few pages of blogs articles on your site, and a search function for your users would be useful, well..you have to bump up your plan to add that little search box into your website. Same story if you want to showcase HD video or audio, you will be taken through the micro-transaction funnel to enable a fair few features EVEN if you’re already on a pro plan.
What have we learnt?
I hope you learnt one main thing from this article, and it’s that your business website is an investment not a cost. At the end of the day, think about the long term impact of a professional, scalable and manageable website solution, as opposed to short term savings of a cheap, unprofessional website that will end up going to waste sooner or later.
Weebly and Wix sell business owners around the world the dream that anybody can be a web designer. That in fact, is not true. Just because quick and easy solutions are available, does not mean they will make a positive impact on your business. More often than not, it’s actually quite the opposite.
What we recommend
We recommend WordPress for 99% of our projects. It’s by far the most scalable, easy to manage, and gets effective results. If you feel like you need a hand with your website, get in touch with us, and let’s have a chat about the best option for you and your business.