Template website builders such as Wix, Squarespace and a host of others are generally a bad idea for businesses. Why you ask? Here are some of the main reasons.
Whilst template websites look great in demos, it’s not until you start using one that you realise the shortcomings. In general, they include all sorts of complicated methods used to setup the page and when that page needs to resize to an infinite number of different screen and browsers, things often start running into each other, text is cut off or wraps to the next line at the most inconvenient places and starts to look very average, very quickly.
A custom website is designed with each piece of information or image having a purpose and each component is then designed to make that work.
One thing we often see in template sites when we scan for SEO, is that many items either aren’t accounted for and depending on the builder platform, aren’t accessible!
We noticed in a Wix website we SEO scanned recently (we do this as part of client research so we know what the client’s competitor websites are scoring to give us a yardstick) which had a substantial amount of text, that one checkpoint that Google Search looks at could never be satisfied. The way this template site was coded meant that the text to code ratio was less than 1% for the page. Google prefers a text to code ratio of at least 10% per page and using this formula, the page would have to have a minimum of 8000 words (about 16 x A4 documents) to satisfy that requirement. Having that number of words on a page would create a very poor user experience which could make the user leave the site before reaching the site’s goal (eg. making contact or purchasing an item) which in general is the primary function of a business website.
So why did this Wix website have such a bad text to code ratio? The way that this template was built held no regard for how the code would be exported. It ticked some aesthetic boxes but in doing so, so much messy code had to be used and in turn it slowed the site substantially. Speed being one of Google’s latest ranking factors, this means poor organic search results.
You would think that a template site would have some flexibility in its design so that if you wanted to use, for example, a portrait image in a space setup for a landscape image that you could do so. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Doing so may require a heap of customisation which would take longer to reconfigure than just building it to suit the intended image in the first place.
Template sites are built with a one-size-fits-all framework, and this often means that your website will look like potentially 1000s of other websites that have also used that template. The restrictions built into the site will also mean that you will also sit on a level playing field with all of the other sites that also used that template and in turn your SEO technical scores will also be similar.
Did you know that the majority of websites out there (in particular ones built in Wordpress) rely on ‘plug-ins’ and ‘widgets’ in order to make things work. This could be to display anything from a rollover button to a contact form and anything in between. This often spells the end of many Wordpress websites prematurely, as when the plug-ins are updated, all of a sudden, the site ‘breaks’ which is the term for when text and images start running into each other and fail to display correctly.
Just because there is a high percentage of websites out there using the Wordpress platform, that doesn’t make it better. The nature of Wordpress as a platform is that it is ‘open source’. This allows anyone to build anything to ‘plug-in’. You have no idea until you use it or have to update it, which of these items will cause a website to break and result in a rebuild from the ground up. It’s for this reason, we do not use Wordpress to create our custom websites.
That’s a small range of why template sites aren’t all they are cracked up to be. If you would like to speak further on a custom website build, feel free to get in touch!