About cheap or free on-line site builderARTELABS - ICT Services
The trap of online pipework
By Roberto Lepori, CTO at ARTELABS
If you don’t need a fully customised / corporate / website you may use an online attractive site builder by using ready-to-use templates.
Of course, with a lot of marketing and advertising, you may find simple turn-key solutions (in which, as a senior developer, I don’t believe) such as:
It’s time to end bad websites, once and for all. Let’s take a look at how clients and developers perpetrate this trend of low-quality websites and pinpoint new design and development standards that will help end this vicious cycle of “all-surface-no-substance” sites.
These very low cost solutions belong to the new web economy that I call “Web Uber business”, a B2B service like many others where you pay in advance satisfied or not, free with premium features. This business is based on the quantity of customers they can attract, with the lowest effort and the minimal of human resources.
These business models have many disadvantages:
- Your website will belong to a company u barely know the real identity.
- Your website will be limited the options / functionalities the platform offer.
- Your are trapped by their themes / template their offer, as for example:
- No transparency.
- No direct contact person.
- Everyone will have the same “clothing”.
- Spend a lot of time trying to “create” pages with only online guidelines.
- For Swiss companies, these solutions are often hosted in the USA or in other Countries with their own legislation and monopole laws, similar to GAFAs.
As stated by an Infomaniak previous News published in 2017
- The problem is that your site will not reflect your style or your brand. It will be impersonal and not scalable.When you want to optimise the ergonomics of your website or appoint a web designer to develop your site further, for example, you will realise that it is quite simply impossible.
- When you create a site with a site builder, you will not be able to choose or change your web hosting service provider so easily.
- Your site will be hosted on the site builder servers and if this the site builder does not allow you to transfer its templates or your design elsewhere, you will be locked into this hosting service provider. If this provider is unstable, limits your website traffic, or does not offer support in your language.
- Migrating a site designed with a site builder is always , because most editors do not allow all the elements (files and databases) in your website to be backed up, which will involve many adjustments to be made manually.
- Finally, bear in mind that the companies supplying a site builder may get bought out, change their pricing policy…
What about Search engine optimisation (SEO) for your website ?
Search engines are constantly evolving their algorithms, and although a site’s ranking in the search results depends firstly on its content, this can be risky if the content generates revenue and you cannot quickly make changes in this regard.
Search engines will sponsorise above all the company that offer your service (if free you will accept their publicity into webpages like WIX for exemple) and if you perform a search for your company, hidden meta tags that you cannot remove will be always there to increment their online business. Just like Booking or TripAdvisor. Your site will not be on the front line, but behind the company that hosts your website or provides you the site builder service.
- The creation of a website is not what takes the most time.
- What takes time is creating the content that you are going to put on your site: the articles, videos, images, and everything that is going to bring value to the people who will visit your website.
- A site builder will not redirect your content for you, and you will also have to invest time in understanding how it works and what its limits are in order to exploit its full potential.
At first glance, site builders allow you to quickly design attractive websites without any technical knowledge, but they will not allow you to control your data and important technical aspects in order to properly optimise your website (back-end coding included).
If your website is a medium or long-term project, it is therefore important to prioritise a powerful and scalable solution which will benefit from a hosting which is able to evolve with the growing success of your website.