Reasons to Avoid Site Builders like Squarespace and Wix

Captain's Blog

Reasons to Avoid Site Builders like Squarespace and Wix

Site Builders

The allure of instant gratification has spanned beyond just consumer goods and services. This need for quick solutions is evident in the rise of site builders like Squarespace and Wix. At first glance, these platforms offer a tempting proposition: the promise of a sleek, professional website without the need for coding skills or a deep wallet. For small businesses, solo entrepreneurs, or those just venturing into the online realm, this seems like the golden ticket.

Imagine the local bakery, “Sarah’s Sweet Treats,” seeking an online presence. Sarah, the owner, isn’t tech-savvy and has a limited budget for her website. She hears about Wix and Squarespace, and in no time, she has a website showcasing her delicious pastries. All’s well, right? Not quite. While the initial setup might seem smooth, Sarah soon realizes her website looks eerily similar to another bakery two towns over. The “unique” template she chose isn’t so unique after all. Moreover, when customers search for “artisanal bakery near me,” her site is nowhere to be found on search engines.

This scenario isn’t unique to Sarah. Numerous businesses dive headfirst into these platforms, attracted by their convenience, only to find the limitations lurking beneath the surface. In this article, we will delve deeper into why, despite their initial charm, platforms like Wix and Squarespace might not be the best long-term solutions for everyone.

Limited Customization and Generic Templates

At the heart of platforms like Squarespace and Wix is the promise of ease-of-use, primarily achieved through pre-designed templates. However, this simplicity comes at a price: limited customization.

Take “John’s Fitness Center” as an example. John chose a Squarespace template that he believed would fit his gym’s energetic and vibrant vibe. After a few weeks, he found another local fitness center using an almost identical design. Not only that, but he discovered dozens of businesses worldwide with nearly the same website look and feel. This lack of uniqueness can negatively impact brand identity, making businesses blend into the crowd rather than standing out.

Further compounding the problem is the limited scope for customization inherent in these platforms. While Wix and Squarespace offer drag-and-drop interfaces, they box users into a set framework. If a business wishes to implement a unique feature or functionality outside of what’s available, they often hit a wall. A real-world example is restaurants wanting to integrate specific reservation systems or e-commerce businesses requiring complex product variations—these can be challenging, if not impossible, to implement seamlessly on such platforms.

In contrast, platforms like WordPress or custom-built websites offer vast plugin libraries and the flexibility to customize almost every aspect of the site, ensuring that businesses can build a truly unique online presence that aligns with their brand and specific needs.

SEO Limitations: Getting Found on Search Engines

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is vital for any business looking to make its mark online. While Wix and Squarespace have made strides in offering basic SEO tools, they often don’t provide the granularity and flexibility required for more advanced SEO strategies.

Consider “Becky’s Handmade Jewelry,” a small online store. Becky used Wix to build her site and, while it looked aesthetically pleasing, she struggled to rank on the first page of search results, even for her brand name. A deeper dive revealed several issues:

  1. Subpar URL structures: Wix and Squarespace sometimes generate URLs that aren’t SEO-friendly, making it difficult for search engines to index and rank them.
  2. Limited Schema Markup: Schema markup helps search engines understand the context of content. Platforms like WordPress offer plugins that easily integrate schema, but Wix and Squarespace have limited capabilities in this area.
  3. Restricted Access to Site Code: Advanced SEO often requires tweaks to a site’s underlying code. Site builders like Squarespace and Wix lock down access, preventing businesses from implementing technical SEO best practices.
  4. Mobile Optimization Issues: Google emphasizes mobile-first indexing, and while these platforms offer mobile-responsive designs, they sometimes fall short in delivering optimized mobile performance, leading to longer load times and reduced user experience.

Businesses serious about their online presence will likely find these limitations frustrating. It’s essential to understand that while website builders can offer a good starting point, they might not provide the tools needed for a site to genuinely thrive in the competitive world of organic search.

Flexibility and Customization Constraints

The appeal of website builders like Wix and Squarespace lies in their user-friendly interfaces, offering a plethora of templates for the less tech-savvy user. However, as businesses evolve, so do their digital needs. Relying solely on templates can become a bottleneck when it comes to implementing unique features and specific customizations.

For instance, imagine “UrbanCafe,” a trendy coffee shop that started with a simple menu and an even simpler website via Squarespace. As they expanded, they wanted to integrate an advanced reservation system, a loyalty program, and a real-time inventory check for their merchandise. They quickly found that Squarespace couldn’t accommodate these specific needs without significant compromises.

Several issues arise with these platforms:

  1. Template Limitations: While there’s a wide range of templates available, altering them beyond basic changes can be challenging. This means businesses might have to settle for a design or feature that doesn’t precisely align with their brand or vision.
  2. Integration Hurdles: While some third-party integrations are available, not all tools or platforms easily integrate with Wix or Squarespace. This can hinder businesses from using preferred or industry-specific tools.
  3. Scalability Concerns: As businesses grow, their website needs to evolve with them. Transitioning from a site builder to a more robust platform can be cumbersome and might require rebuilding the website from scratch.
  4. Lack of Advanced Features: For companies requiring advanced functionalities, such as custom databases, user forums, or specific e-commerce capabilities, these platforms may not suffice.

In essence, while site builders like Wix and Squarespace can be fantastic for startups or individuals needing a basic online presence, they may not be the best fit for businesses aiming for a distinctive digital identity or those with evolving digital needs.

Cost Implications & Ownership

The initial appeal of website builders like Squarespace and Wix often hinges on their apparent affordability. But a deeper dive into their structures reveals costs that can quickly accumulate. While basic versions may come across as budget-friendly, the pivotal features a thriving business requires, like enhanced analytics or e-commerce capabilities, often come with heftier price tags. For instance, activating an online store feature on some platforms necessitates an upgrade. Furthermore, these platforms frequently house their own exclusive marketplaces for add-ons and plugins, each carrying its own separate charge. And as your website grows, so do its storage and bandwidth demands, leading to further financial commitments. When juxtaposed with self-hosted websites, which might seem more costly upfront due to domain and hosting fees, the long-term expenses can actually be more balanced or even favorable for the latter, especially given the freedom they offer in hosting choices and plugin access.

Yet, beyond the maze of costs lies a more pressing concern: ownership. Operating on third-party platforms like Wix or Squarespace is akin to renting your online space. You’re bound by the platform’s rules, leaving you in a bind if you need unsupported features. Moreover, these platforms, like any business, evolve, and their changing terms of service or pricing structures can have direct ramifications for your site. The stability of these platforms, despite their current popularity, isn’t guaranteed either. Should they face disruptions or choose to discontinue, businesses are left scrambling. And if you ever opt for migration, the transition is fraught with potential SEO disruptions and design challenges.

In summary, while site builders like Wix and Squarespace offer a convenient start, they come with hidden costs and critical ownership issues. For businesses aiming to establish a robust online presence, understanding these underlying challenges is essential. Investing in a platform where you have genuine control and ownership might be a wiser long-term strategy.

If you’re seeking a website that truly reflects your vision and goals, consider partnering with LaunchUX. Our experienced team specializes in crafting tailor-made web solutions that transcend the limitations of generic site builders. From captivating design to seamless functionality and enhanced SEO, we’re here to bring your digital aspirations to life. Contact us today to embark on a journey toward a website that stands out in the digital landscape.