12 Apr 13 April 2014
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Why Wix and other website builders are no substitute for doing a website properly

In today's blog post, we're answering a common question- aren't you just providing the same service that I can get with Wix? Wix may be for you, but there's a few things that you might want to consider first.

Building a website through Wix and similar site builders may sound like a good idea. And we agree, a Wix web presence is better than nothing at all. But using Wix for your entire site, especially if you are a business of any size is no substitute for doing a site properly from the ground up with a web professional.

Here are some reasons why you should think again before deciding to build your whole site using one of these services.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

When planning how your site will function and deliver a return for your investment, and when setting goals, think about where your traffic will come from. Unless you are using the website for existing customers, or backing it with paid advertising, the backbone of any operation is organic traffic through search. Where you appear in search for critical keywords will determine how successful the site is- and whether you are getting the maximum return from your web presence.

So how does Wix stack up against ‘real’ websites?

Credit where credit is due- Wix has improved remarkably in this area of late- mainly in moving from Flash templates to HTML5. At the time of writing, we are told that there are still Flash templates available, and some sites continue to use Flash. This is not a good idea and you should move off Flash immediately.

If you are on an HTML5 template, well done. But how much control will you have? Your search engine performance, especially in key markets will not be in your hands- but the hands of Wix and any changes they make that could affect your site.

If you use Wix, you don’t have control over your SEO- if you need to bring in an SEO specialist to find out why you are not ranking for certain keywords, good luck getting them to go into Wix to take the necessary steps to resolve the situation.

We had an unfortunate “I told you so” moment with a client a few years ago who decided to “upgrade” their website with Wix (without speaking to us first!). Unfortunately they lost their position in Google for all the keywords that were bringing them traffic and business. After six months, they ended up having to rebuild their entire site outside of Wix with proper SEO consultation. While this proved costly, the real cost was all the business they missed while their website was hosted with Wix. Their competitors probably had a good six months though!

We’re not saying that all Wix sites rank poorly- search performance comes from a range of factors both on and off the page, but the main issue is that you have no control if you need to optimise.

Wix can be expensive

Wix is a freemium model- this means that you can build your site for free, but for a professional look you’ll be paying more. Maybe not as much as having a professional build your site- but think about the long term. You are completely in the hands of Wix- they may change their business model or pricing at any time. When you build with a professional, you own your site- it can be hosted nearly anywhere so you are not tied to one business and relying on them to hang around and provide great service. And if it all goes bad you'll hopefully still have your backup ready to go.

The support of a professional is much better, because they will get to know your business and you build a relationship. You will never get the same level of support with Wix- if you decide that later and need to change services it will be too late- and a website re-build will be in order.

When you build with Wix, you are creating a site in less time than it takes to bake a cake (apparently you can be online within 30 minutes). Does your key marketing tool and image deserve more time? We think so, and if succeeding online was that easy everyone would be doing it.

Wix sites stand out

You may think your site doesn’t stand out but it does (and not for the right reasons!)- anyone who knows about websites will spot your Wix site a mile away. This may be fine, but think about what sort of image you are creating for your business? Would you be happy to spend thousands with a business that couldn’t hire a professional? Especially with eCommerce and entering into deals online where building trust is essential. Would you treat other aspects of your business like this?

You’ll also notice that Wix has hundreds of templates- but many more users. What does that mean? Well, your competitors somewhere probably have a site that looks the same as yours. Think about what message you are sending to the marketplace.

Looks aren’t everything in a website

People make this mistake time and time again- spend considerable time on how the site looks and provide little care into what the content says, and what the marketing message is.

It would be nice to have a site that looks good and has great content, but if you have to decide between one or the other, go with content first.

Content is king- it will sell your business, and it will keep people coming back to your site time and time again. As search engines don't have eyes, content is generally what helps you rank in searches. Why is this relevant? In our experience, Wix sites are focussed heavily on looks and are light on content- probably due to the design process. Don’t fall into the trap and focus on content to create a great website.

Wrapping up

Any website is better than nothing all- but if you are doing anything serious with your site, you can’t go past a professional. By all means use a Wix template for inspiration for the look and feel of your site, but be careful before you go with what appears to be the cheapest option for your most important marketing tool in 2014. Are you heading for long term pain for short term gain?

Click here to speak to a professional about your website needs.

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