Many businesses and organizations struggle with the basics of Search Engine Optimization and the importance of web development. It all starts with how your site is built, organization of pages and internet marketing best practices on your website. This is known as “On-Page Optimization”.
I have been contacted by many businesses who are using simple and free website builders hoping they can rank well on search engines. Sometimes it is just out of reach for small startup businesses to invest in professional website development. I get it, simple and free is great. But like most things, short-cuts aren’t the long-term answer to a strategic online presence.
Here are some of the main reasons to stay away from the free or inexpensive do it yourself website builders such as Weebly, Wix and a few other unnamed platforms. In addition to the do it yourself sites, many large corporations for self-employed contractors such as realtors, mortgage brokers, insurance brokers to name a few offer branded template sites to their contractors.
There are some serious issues with these platforms and here are just a few main reasons not to use them.
Search Engine Optimization
It is nearly impossible to rank well when using these platforms. One of the biggest disadvantages is the inability to implement many SEO best practices that are strong signals that search engines look for.
In addition, to the many on page optimization challenges, the structure of these sites are incorrect. The way the URL’s are structures doesn’t allow for search engines to index individual pages of the site. This is incredibly important as search engines index all the pages of site.
These are also some additional significant disadvantages such as the fact that some of these types of sites use Java Script. Java Script is difficult for search engines to read and therefore may result in spiders not crawling these site pages.
It’s not your site
When it comes to ownership, it is critical for each business to have ownership of their site. I am pretty big on this right from the get-go of any project. It is so important that each account you set up is in the proper individuals or business name.
This is a huge problem for any business or organization. This means you do not own your website and in some instances depending on the platform, you don’t own your domain. I have seen some businesses start out their web presence with these types of platforms and then changing to something more robust. When requesting the Trying release the domain comes with a challenge and a price tag. These companies may or may not sell them to you.
No Website Back Ups
It can be common for some of these platforms and companies to not have the capability to backup your site. Backing up your site is a very important best practice should you need to restore your site for any reason.
Limited Design Functionality
Whether it is a template site from a brand you represent or template sites, the design functionality is very limiting.
The do it yourself platforms offer “pretty” templates, easy to use however there is limited functionality. Search engines don’t care if your site is pretty, they look at metrics to provide relevance and significance.
The template sites provided by large corporations to their contractors are the worst offenders. They have cookie cutter layout and content for thousands of websites they provide. Same text, no on-page optimization, and the only linking strategy is linking to the corporate site which provides no value to the individual sites, only benefitting the corporate site with thousands of links pointing back to them.
You’ll never rank well with these types of platforms. Search engines prefer unique, relevant content as a starting point and these sites just don’t offer that.
If you want to a strong starting point, a scalable site, create your own website, have control over your website presence, be unique and relevant.