Cheap Website Builders – Are they worth it?

by Emily on July 26, 2017

in Articles

More than ever we are doing business online. In 2017 51% of Americans now prefer to shop online and 96% of American have made an online purchase in their life. With these trends it is not surprising that businesses are starting to focus their attentions online and to their business websites.

With this new focus there has been a rise in the number of DIY website builders/providers. There are approximately 5,730,000 websites current built on the top 5 DIY platforms. This article is not going to look at the top 5 DIY platforms and tell you which is the easiest to use, which offers the most perks or which give you $100 to spend on Google ads.

Here are 3 articles which will do exactly that.

  1. Pc Mag
  2. Website Builder Expert
  3. Sitebuilder Expert

This article intends to shows you the real costs of DIY builders in comparison to the traditional Web Developer and why they may or may not be the best solution for your business.

Upfront Cost

Most users of DIY builders will be brought in by the cheap price but are they? Here is a table highlighting the costs over the first two years of the three biggest DIY builders. The average cost is $328 per year or $27.33 per month. (costs were calculate based on monthly fees accumulated over a 12 month period)

You may find these prices surprisingly high, especially when you take into account that you are only being provided with hosting. For most websites you can find acceptable hosting for around $10 per month or $100 – $150 per year. The zero upfront cost can become a significant sum in the future.

Growing Pains

The dream of all online businesses is that it will be a success and we move on to bigger and better things, websites are no different. Should the time come when you wish to move away from a site builder then you may hit a snag. Most DIY tools will to the best of their ability lock you in. If you want to move your site to another CMS of builder then you will have to start from the beginning. Squarespace is one of the providers that does allow you to move between providers. Do remember that moving any established site is never going to be a simple exercise.

What’s the cost of design?

What is the price of design? It is actually worth its weight in gold when it comes to your website. 50 milliseconds is the time it take for someone to decide if they like or dislike your site. That’s according to Carleton University in Canada who showed participant pictures of websites for a split second before asking them to rate each one. Adobe found similar results when they discovered that Given 15 minutes to consume content, 66% of people would rather read something beautifully designed than something plain.

The question is: Are you a web designer at heart? In our experience you could be but not right away. Like anything in life it takes time to develop your abilities. It will take you time to learn what design concepts work and what doesn’t work. It will then take time to learn how to translate these designs onto the screen via your builder.

Adobe also found that 38% of people with stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive. What is that percentage worth to your business?

The value of your time

How much free time do you have? If you answered too much then building your own website may be the option for you. The team over at lift interactive suggest most projects are 12 to 16 weeks long. Billie Rickson provides the image below detailing how those 12 to 16 weeks are usually spent.

You can argue that these time frames are for larger projects. You must also take into consideration that if you choose the DIY option, there is time required to learn the website builders software and learn website design. The result of these two learning curves could take your total build time well over 16 weeks. Plus reduce your amount of free time until the project is done.

We have seen numerous cases where people have given up on the project because it was taking too long, they wanted their evenings and weekends back.

Price of a developer

Unfortunately the cost of a website has been distorted over the years. There was a time when all websites were and should be priced at thousand of dollars. However, over the past 3-5 years technology has moved forward to the place where that is no longer reality. Website costs can be reduced dramatically.

There are projects that can be over $10,000 but these are specific to larger companies looking at unique design work, copywriting and market research. They are not companies who are going to be focused on DIY builders.

For those who are considering DIY builders there are companies such as Affordable Web Design who will deliver a professional designed and built 6 page website for $100. Using a company like this will ensure you receive the benefits of a web designer at a comparable cost to the DIY builder (with no need for a learning curve)

Here are the costs of using a developer like Affordable Web Design over a two year period.

Conclusion

If you decide to go ahead with building your own website then you have my support. It is a long road with a steep learning curve. The majority of DIY websites look like they have built by the business owner and not a professional. The problem here is that most businesses build websites because they want to start making money and generating online sales now. They don’t want to be paying hundreds of dollars a year while they learn how to design websites that work.

My advice would be if you really want to learn and you have the time available then building your own website is likely the solution for you. However, if you already struggle with having enough free time and you need results instantly do some research. Find a reputable company with a track record of results that can help you.

The small upfront cost will be worth it when compared to the value of your time and missed sales going down the DIY approach.

To answer the question of cheap website builders are they worth it? The answer is yes, if you have the time and desire to learn and develop your skills as a web designer.

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Crille Rönneborn July 26, 2017 at 20:39

I dont think theese pagebuilders are any good. If my page grow and grow then i need to move it, and if i move it would be a lot of extra work.

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