#24 Selling a custom website and 7 reasons why not to use a site builder service

Episode: #24
Running time - 5:30 mins

Your potential client says to you they are considering using a site builder.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! You Scream!

How on earth do you compete with a £9.99 a month service used by millions of small businesses?

Are these really your potential clients?

  • The clients you should be looking for are ones that value your work, your process and want to work with you.
  • Are these lower budget clients really who you want to work with?
  • These types of clients can cause more problems than good.

What is a site builder?

A service like:

So what are the reasons that these services are not the holy grail?

1. Search Engine Rankings

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can be a very complicated game, with site structure, linking, meta information and craw-ability particularly effected by a site builders. As well as performance which i will get onto.

Many clients care about SEO and even alone mentioning that a site builder can hurt chances of ranking high can be enough to make them rethink their cheaper strategy.

2. Cookie Cutter

Does your client really want a site that looks like many others on the web?

Or do they want something custom built and crafted from the ground up?

Sell to your client that they will be proud of their new site and not something copied from another market.

Show them your portfolio and ask them to find anything similar, in 99% of cases they will not be able to and you may win them over on uniqueness.

3. Web Fonts

Site Builders don’t accommodate Web Fonts which give an improvement to the reading and branding experience of a custom built site.

With 000’s of new fonts available it’s a wasted opportunity.

TypeKit is my preference in libraries although some of Google’s completely free fonts are impressive.

4. Support

Support from some of these bigger companies are renowned for being patchy and poor.

Not tarring everyone with the same brush but you are more dealing with telephone staff than of web hosting and design experts.

Smaller companies can give more tailored and custom support in my experience.

5. Shoehorn

Many clients content is unique and you are ramming content in places not design exactly for that specific content, whether that be images of varying size, large text, downloads, audio.

Sticking and not crafting the important content can make or break a site.

6. Site Performance

I take site performance very seriously and so should you. Google also nows see's site loading times as a factor in their algorithm.

Many areas of site performance are thrown out the window with a site builder.

Very easy for a client to add in a 3 megabit image and wonder why the site page takes a while to load.

With a custom solution in the case of Media Surgery - we would use ExpressionEngine with clear instructions on use and auto resizing and quality of image set.

7. No flexibility to scale with features

Many of these site builders don’t have the flexibility to scale with features such as image galleries, e-commerce and custom content.

You are restricted to what you are given rather than an blank canvas with endless possibilities with a custom solution.

The One Thing to Take Away (Tottta)

Whilst these 7 points will really help you sell a custom solution sometimes people are just in the market for cheap. You need to let them go.

There is also an opportunity to get a solution like SquareSpace and customise it for the client. A half way house between custom and drag and drop. A lot less expense for the client whilst still keeping you busy. Personally i love and firmly believe in crafting client businesses from the ground but there is a market for that.

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" What you do not want to happen to you, do not do it yourself either" Sextus the Pythagorean