4. They hold your content hostage
As long as you keep making the monthly payments, nobody gets hurt. Capiche?
Every relationship with a website builder starts out happy. But as you learn more about web design and other platforms that do more for a better price — you might want to explore other options. If you want out, it’s almost impossible to take your website with you. Especially if you’re using one of their proprietary templates.
All your blog posts and any other writing that took hours to craft will be lost forever unless you have copies of the original docs. Or, unless you copy and paste everything. And worse yet — that design you poured your soul into? It might also be lost forever.
There are ways to migrate your site, but migration is laborious and complicated, especially if images and other digital assets are stored. Unless your website builder produces clean HTML that’s all yours, you’ll sacrifice your design to the digital void when you end your contract.
Webflow makes it easy for you to export status elements, cms content, creative use of Zapier, and or the CMS API. Your content will always belong to you.
5. They push ads
Advertising is the way most media outlets stay in business. So it makes sense that website builders would want to push ads for increased revenue. But ads distract and annoy. And they definitely don’t center the user. Really want to make customers angry? Make them pay to have an ad-free experience. Sheesh.
At Webflow, we don’t push ads. We care about our users' experience.
6. They still require Google Analytics
Which isn't a bad thing, because we all love Google Analytics.
But here's the deal: don't try and fool us with your own analytics. You and I both know they're not that great.
To be fair — many of the top website builders have improved their analytics. But there's no beating Google at what Google does best. It's valuable to have more detailed user data such as bounce rates, traffic sources, and interactions per visit. And Google Analytics gives detailed information that most website builders don't have the capability to provide.
7. Their free domain names are too long
Let’s talk professionalism. What seems more official — nytimes.com or nytimes.myboringwebsitebuilder.com?
Longer URLs will do if you’re building a personal website for something like your model train collection — not a lot of people are likely to see it (sorry). But if it’s for a business, you need something meaningful and memorable. Pay the extra money for the respectability an official domain name gives you.
Webflow’s free domain name is short and memorable: webflow.io. When you’re ready for full-on profesh, our custom hosting starts at just $12 a month.
8. Their templates limit creativity
Website builders are like instant cake mix. Both their templates and packaging show something that looks appetizing. Instead of adding an egg, you add content. And even though you follow the directions, you sometimes end up with a bland approximation.
Sure, that website builder offers hundreds of templates, but how many are unique? And how many other people are using the same templates? If you’re a business using the same template as your competitors, you’ll get lost in a sea of sameness.
You could spend the bare minimum to throw together a website, but your site is often a first impression. If you’re a new business and your website looks like it was put together in 10 minutes, it’s going to be a bad introduction.
If you’re starting from scratch and don’t know anything about coding, a template can be a good place to start. But many website builders don’t make it easy for the less design savvy to make changes. And for those who start from the ground up with little web design knowledge, it can be a frustrating experience.
Many templates aren’t exactly the pinnacle of creativity — their design aesthetics go out of style faster than most YouTube channels.
At Webflow, we understand that not everyone has the time or experience to build a website from scratch. We also don’t believe that rigid templates are the best solution. That’s why our talented designers build templates that can be used as a starting point and easily customized in our designer.
And, more importantly, why we give you the power to start from a completely blank canvas and build exactly what you envision.
Not all website builders are created annoyingly
It’s easy to dump on website builders. For anyone who has taken the time to learn code and basic elements of web design, they seem like a pretty brainless way to create a design. But they do serve as a foundation and inspiration for those who may want to go further.
Dragging and dropping is easy — knowing how to arrange elements in a meaningful way is a bit harder. But whenever a tool is there to simplify something, it gives us a head start. So wherever you are — if you want to be a designer, the most important thing to do is to start designing.
What are your thoughts on website builders? We'd love to hear from you in the comments.