I remember building my first website using the Godaddy site builder. I was so excited, I felt like a programmer. The site was horrible, but it was awesome because I built it. We were finally live.

But after a few months, reality kicked in. The site was blocky, our logo was out of proportion, and we weren’t converting any leads.

I didn’t have money for a developer, so I did it myself. But it consumed so much time, and all I really wanted to do was market products… Not design websites. But we had to be online.

And I’m sure you do too.

So if you have been using a site builder or you’re thinking about it… Stop! But if you must, use a service like Square Space or Lead Pages. They are user-friendly, mobile-friendly and cheap. WordPress.com is a great resource also. For more advanced users, I highly recommend wordpress.org .

The Problem With Site Builders

How often do the one-size fits all model work?

Companies like Godaddy and Dex Media will tell you how great their site builders are, but it’s hard to get your site to look like the ones advertised. Site builders usually render low-quality pages that have poor functionality. It’s almost better not to be online than taint your brand with a poor site. In this case, I would just go with a Facebook page (although I highly recommend having your own site).

Site builders love to promote all their great SEO tools, but it’ s hard to optimize a site without a human. I’ve never audited a site builder website with great SEO. Some ranked on Google’s front page, usually for their brand name and that’s it. That’s hardly SEO. Search engine optimization includes keyword research, social sharing, coding, site architecture, navigation structure, image optimization, content quality and more. One of the most tedious and valuable tasks, however, is link development. This is the process of earning links (basically votes) from other prominent websites to let Google know you are a quality brand. All this work would be difficult without dedicated human effort for each website.

What I Recommend

If you’re using a site builder, don’t be ashamed, you’re in good company. Many people start that way. Groupon started with a one-page site that featured a PDF image of a pizza coupon.  And I’m not here to shun these organizations because they have helped many people get online, including myself. The objective here, however, is to help our followers find success online. We want to see you succeed, so we want to make sure you’re informed.

If  you can afford it, hire a pro. We offer a web building service starting at $250. Or you can hire a freelancer. Or you can do it yourself with WordPress, Squarespace, Lead Pages, Shopify, or Magento. But avoid site builders if you can. They’re a great way to start, but they’re only good for placing general information about your business online. If you want to grow, get serious about your web presence.

We all know going digital is necessary. So if you’re going to do it, do it right.

P.S. We’re starting a live training to help you build your own customized website in 1 hour. This is a $100 WordPress training that comes with a free customizable template. With this training, you will learn how to do it all yourself.

You can learn more here.

Special thanks to Geoff Llerena for the blog image.