There are a lot of website builder services on the market, and it can be difficult to determine which one is right for your business, which undoubtedly has its own specific needs.
While all builders tend to highlight the best features it offers, we’re here to discuss warning signs to look out for when investing in a website builder, and what you need to know to make sure you choose the best one for your business.
To make sure you’re not hit by buyers remorse, or stuck with a website building solution you’re not happy with, we recommend reading the fine print and understanding the terms and conditions of any website builder before making a business purchase. Do your research and read the fine print before making a purchase so that you can choose the best website builder (opens in new tab) for your needs.
1. Sneaky added costs
Some of the most important things to look out for when purchasing a website builder are hidden costs in the form of important features – like social media integration, a custom domain name, or ecommerce (opens in new tab) analytics – that the service leads you to believe will be included in the base price before signing up, but actually aren’t.
Many website builders will offer a low introductory price and then raise the fee dramatically after the first pay period, often a year. This is something to be aware of when choosing a builder as it can end up costing you both money and time in the long run, if you decide to rebuild your website on another platform.
Avoid website builders that have a dramatic increase in their fees after the first payment cycle, which will usually be signposted as you sign up for the service. Instead, invest in one that has a consistent monthly price, or that offers discounts on annual or multi-year price plans. This way, you can both budget accordingly and not be surprised by an increase in fees down the road.
2. Lack of templates
The best website builders come with a wide selection of templates. Templates allow you to quickly create a professional-looking website without having to start from scratch. If a builder doesn’t have a wide selection of templates – or let you import your own – it’s likely that your business’ website will be limited in how unique it could look, negatively impacting brand identity.
WordPress allows you to design and import your own themes, as well as select from a premium set of templates when you commit to certain website builder plans. Wix (opens in new tab) has over 200 templates for you to drag and drop your images, text and videos into. To put it simply, the more templates you have to select from, the higher the chances are of you finding one that fits the aesthetics you are looking for.
3. No free plan or money-back guarantee
Some website builders will advertise a free trial but switch users to a paid plan once it ends. Others offer a money-back guarantee but only if you cancel within the first 30 or 45 days.
To avoid long-term issues, choose a website builder with a basic free plan so you can try it out before committing to it. Additionally, look for one that has a money-back guarantee to give yourself some piece of mind if you end up unsatisfied with the product. That way, if you decide to switch, you’ve only spent time, not money, trying out the service.
4. No tutorials or how-to-use guides
When you’re first starting out with a website builder, it’s important to have access to tutorials or how-to-use guides. Some builders will advertise these resources to entice newcomers, but then make them hard to find or hard to follow, and some just do not provide them at all.
Choose a website builder that offers easy-to-follow tutorials or how-to-use guides so you can get started with building your business’ website right away. Bear in mind that it’s just as important to check if a service has an active community forum where you can ask questions and get help from other users.
To give your business the best chance of staying visible online, you should only consider builders that offer robust search engine optimisation (SEO) tools. Look for basic tools such as keyword research and metatag optimization in addition to more advanced ones such as sitemaps, robot tags, and canonical URLs.
These features are essential for optimizing your business’ website for search engines and making it easier for customers to find your business online. Consider investing in a website builder that offers all of the SEO tools (opens in new tab) that you feel your business needs to use, so that you can create and maintain a website that’s friendly to both users and search engines.
Also, social media is now a vital part of any business, and so it’s important that you choose a website builder that offers social media integration, especially if your business already has an existing social presence. This way, you can connect the business’ website to its social platforms, making it easier for visitors to find and share its content.
6. Limited customer support
Many website builders will advertise 24/7 customer support, but in fact only offer it during business hours. Others will have a limited number of ways to contact customer support, such as only through email or chat.
Choose a website builder that offers around-the-clock customer support so that you can get help whenever you need it. Look for one that offers several different ways to contact its customer support team, so you can choose the means of communication that’s most convenient for you.
- Check out our list of the best web hosting (opens in new tab) services on the market