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Don’t Waste Your Money on Site Builders

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In this day and age, having an online presence has become more necessary than ever. As such, I’ve noticed that more and more people are spending their hard earned money on site builders such as Weebly, Wix, Squarespace, and many others — not realizing the drawbacks of doing so. What’s worse is, they have absolutely no idea that they’re going to spend more in the long run with these quick and not-so-practical website solutions!

Most of these site builders have a free package, which in my opinion is just another way of luring in unwary clients. You get to try their services for free, although your account will pretty much be limited. You’ll be able to use their premium designs and their easy-to-use drag and drop website builders, which in turn will make you think that “Hey, this shit is cool and I guess this is the real deal! Why don’t I go with their premium plan and unlock the rest of the powerful features?”

And there’s your first mistake. Sure, their drop and drag builders and their templates may be cool, but for $5 to as much as $20 per month, it’s just not worth it. If you think you’ll have full control over your site once you pay, then you’ve got it all wrong! There are better options out there and you’ll save a ton of money if you knew where to look.

I did a little research on the three site builders I mentioned above and no doubt, you’ll save more and get more if you just go with a standard shared hosting plan + a content management system (CMS) + a premium template (one-time fee).

Regular Shared Hosting – The “Better Plan”

Let’s see…

  • CMS: free!
  • Shared hosting: $7/month at most
  • Domain: $10/year
  • A premium, responsive (mobile-friendly) template: $30-100 one-time, but there are really great designs for free as well

Total: $194 at most for your first year and that’s with no discounts applied. You could easily half this value with discount coupons. Recurring fees will be at most $144/year after your first year.

With a shared hosting plan, you’ll have full control on whether you want to put ads on your site or not. Do what you want with your site — make a photo gallery, write as much content as you want, upload 100 pages of content, do whatever you want really… as long as you abide by the host’s terms of service. And with WordPress as your CMS, you can easily build whatever you want and that’s with no additional costs. You can create a blog, you can build a corporate site, and you can even setup an e-commerce site for free with a plugin called WooCommerce!

Now on to the site builders…

Weebly

Weebly has a free plan, although we all know that free almost always means limited. And that’s the case with Weebly. Their paid plans start at $4/month but I don’t really know what features you’ll get with that plan. Their site doesn’t seem to provide that much information, but it seems you can only get “everything” if you buy the business plan which is for $25/month.

Here’s their pricing table (if the image is too small, click on it to view the full size image in a new window):

Weebly Site Builder Plans

To get as close as possible to the “better plan” I posted above, you’d have to go with Weebly’s business plan. Even then, you’d still be limited to whatever templates they have — sure you can customize HTML/CSS, but you can’t upload new files/templates as they don’t provide FTP access. This means if your site is with Weebly, there’s no way you could get a developer to create a custom site for your business, should you ever decide to do so.

Cost: an unbelievable $300/year for limited features and an unknown amount of resource allocation

Wix

I find this company a bit funny, because it seems they charge people to be able to upload a favicon. Yeah you read that right, you have to pay if you want a simple favicon for your website!

Here’s their pricing table (if the image is too small, click on it to view the full size image in a new window):

Wix Sitebuilder Plans

Same with Weebly, if you ever want to get as close to the “better plan” I have above then obviously you have to go with the most expensive plan. The cheaper plans won’t get you anywhere near the flexibility and control that you’d get if you went with a regular shared host instead.

Cost: $194/year for an ad-free, mobile-friendly site. You’re limited to using their templates, but at least you get to use your custom favicon!

Squarespace

Squarespace is a host I just can’t take seriously because their plans are a big joke. With a $96/year plan (or $10/month if paid monthly), you’ll only be able to upload 20 pages and sell ONE product on your website. They say you’ll get “fully integrated e-commerce” but you’re only allowed to sell ONE product. What the hell?

Here’s their pricing table (if the image is too small, click on it to view the full size image in a new window):

Squarespace Site Builder Plans

And yet again, we’ll be forced to go with the most expensive plan just so we could try to match flexibility of regular web hosting plan (but we won’t be able to anyway).

Cost: $288/year to have the ability to upload an unlimited number of pages and to be able to sell unlimited products

Spend Your Money on Better Solutions

These site builders may be ideal for those who just can’t be bothered to spend a few hours to research, but in the long run you WILL still face issues especially if you have a site that has a lot of potential for growth.

At first it might seem that site builders are worth paying for because it’s easy to build a website by just dragging and dropping stuff onto your pages, but trust me when I say that there will come a time when you’d feel you are being restricted on what you can do. You can have much, much more resources and control over your site for a fraction of what you’re paying/going to pay for these site builders.

I have simple advice: be a wise consumer. Research and try to learn as much as you can. It’s going to take some time, but you’ll end up saving hundreds of dollars in the long run. Read this web hosting guide, some of my web hosting reviews, and sign up with a reputable host. After that, install WordPress or any other CMS of your choice on your hosting account, then get a sleek premium theme for a one-time fee of less than a hundred bucks. There are some really good designs for free so make sure you check out some free themes as well. Do a little tweaking to customize your design (some premium themes have a built-in drag and drop builder), and enjoy the flexibility and full control over your website!

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Comments

  • WordPress is always better than site builders. WordPress offers a lot of flexibility and with all the plugins available you can have tons of features. Most of the premium WordPress themes these days comes with a lot of features. Site builders don’t really give you a lot of features until you pay a lot of money. In fact, Google’s Blogger, is better than site builders.