Creating a website is no small project. It requires time, creative thinking, and money. If you’re broke, you’re probably not in a position to pay thousands of dollars for a professional website. Luckily, you’re not stuck handing out business cards until you make some money. Website builders like Weebly and Wix can be a cheap and easy way to grow your online footprint.

I’m sure you’ve been taught that if something looks too good to be true, it is. So how do website builders stack up to professionally built ones? There are pros and cons, which we will discuss below. The final decision will be your call.

The Case FOR Using a Site Builder

  • No coding skills needed. If you lack a basic understanding of programming, you can still build a pretty decent website using a web builder. These platforms don’t require coding skills or professional assistance. Thanks to user-friendly templates, most of the work consists of dragging and dropping.

  • Affordable. Startups usually don’t have a lot of money to work with. A site builder is an inexpensive alternative to building a professional site. You can save hundreds to thousands of dollars and have control over your budget.

  • No design skills necessary. With dozens of templates to choose from, it’s easy to find attractive web designs that fit your business. Web builders may not promise the best-looking sites, but you have the freedom to choose what you want and feel good about it.

  • Quick completion. It doesn’t take long to create a website using a site builder. With a drag-and-drop interface, the site could be done in less than an hour. Of course, most people take longer, but the fact is that it can be done over a lunch break.

The Case AGAINST Using a Site Builder

  • Not suitable for all businesses. Some businesses can get away with a less professional website, but others cannot. If you need a quality, polished site, a web builder won’t be enough. Only an experienced web team can give you the innovative design, SEO coding and intuitive layout you need.

  • Poor customer service. Free platforms have customer service teams, but they’re not always the most responsive. If customers report that your website isn’t functioning properly, it takes time and effort away from your business to uncover the problem. You could also lose sales in the process.

  • Cookie cutter designs. Page builders have dozens of templates, but they aren’t unique. As a result, your site might look almost identical to someone else’s. If you need distinct features, hiring a design firm is best.

  • Slow load times. Sites on free platforms tend to run much slower than their custom-designed counterparts. Keep in mind that users expect your site to load within a few seconds. This is why speed is a ranking factor and associated with bounce rates.

  • Unstructured SEO. Not needing coding skills is a blessing and a curse. You can build a site, but it might have messy code. When coding is unstructured, it can hurt your on-page SEO and drop you down in the rankings.

  • Limitations. Site builders may advertise free or low-cost plans. Unfortunately, many of the features will be locked. To have access, you’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan. Before using a site building tool, know the true costs.

Web builders have invaluable benefits. They can be a quick, affordable way to get a website up and running. However, if you need a professional website, it’s best to have one custom built. It will be more expensive, but it will be unique to your brand and have all the right ingredients: good SEO, enhanced features, fast load times and great service.