The Website Builder Trap

The lure of the ‘website builder’

If you want to set up a website, most web hosting companies provide their own ‘website builder’ software. At first sight these facilities seem to make life easy for you. You can use them to get a website built and published very quickly, and it’ll probably look quite pretty, but using this kind of software isn’t without its pitfalls.

Limited choice

One problem with ‘website builders’ is that they limit what you can do. You’ll probably have to choose a template for your website from the range on offer, then put up with the colour scheme, combination of fonts, and selection of screen layouts, that the template provides. If you’re lucky you might be offered some variations, but very often you’ll not be able to get things looking the way you really want. Plus your website will look almost the same as those created by other people who’ve chosen the same template.

Vendor lock-in

Another problem with ‘website builders’ is that they’re usually incompatible with one another. If you build a website with one web hosting company’s ‘website builder’ then you’re probably stuck with that company for the foreseeable future. If you get fed up with your chosen web hosting company and decide to go somewhere else, how are you going to transfer your website? Unfortunately the only way you can usually do it is to rebuild the whole thing from scratch on the new web hosting company’s system. If your website becomes large, transferring it becomes impractical, and you’re effectively locked-in to your current web hosting company. They know this, because it’s all part of their business plan, and it means they can increase their charges at renewal time without much risk of you refusing to renew and going somewhere else.

Additional fees

Nearly all web hosting companies will charge you a basic fee for hosting your website, but some also charge an extra fee for using their ‘website builder’ software. On top of this they will usually offer to back-up your website from time to time for yet another fee. If your website exists only on their servers, which will be the case if you use their ‘website builder’ facilities, this is another cost that you would probably be wise to accept.

The solution

The answer to these problems is simple: never use the ‘website builder’ facilities offered by your web hosting company. Instead use these techniques.