Why you should avoid drag and drop website builders
Author: Evolution Design Agency
September 22, 2021
So you’re in the market for a new website for your business. What exactly are your options? You could hire a pro web developer to build you a well-designed, speedy, SEO-optimised site from scratch. What a dream! But wouldn’t it be even easier if you could do it yourself? If you were a pro web developer, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog (and you’d already know the answer to the question posed in the title). But you may still be enticed by the more independent route of using a drag and drop editor to create your website yourself.
Drag and drop website builders like Squarespace, Shopify, WIX, etc. are appealing because anyone can seemingly build a website themselves. Using premade templates and content blocks where you can literally drag and drop your own content in, they also offer innumerable options for colours, fonts, layouts, and features.
But what’s going on behind the scenes with all that code? Is everything as it seems? Read on to learn the reasons why you should avoid drag and drop website builders and what you should do instead.
- Bloated code = slow load times.
When building a website with a drag and drop editor you may be impressed by all the options and different features available. Unfortunately, all of these different options and features are sneakily coded into your website, even if you aren’t using them. The code is there, and lots of it, making your website huge and taking up enormous amounts of space on a server.
The major drawback here is that all this unnecessary code can vastly slow down your load times and severely impact user experience. Did you know 47% of Users expect a maximum of 2 seconds loading time for an average website? And 39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load?
On the flip side, a well-designed, custom-built site has only the code you require. Without all of the unused, unnecessary features in the background, load times are minuscule, and user experience is off to a flying start.
- Poor SEO and Google rankings.
Getting your website out there on the world wide web is simply not enough these days. You also need your audience to be able to find you easily. Otherwise, what’s the point? You need to rank on Google for search terms and keywords relevant to your product or service if you are going to compete in the online market. This is called Search Engine Optimisation or SEO.
For drag and drop sites like Visual Composer, Elementor, Divi, etc. with countless different options for colours, fonts, positions, elements, and features, the code behind the scenes that makes it all work is very poorly optimised and takes much longer to load than necessary. Google ranks sites according to several factors, and site speed is a big one. The slow load times of drag and drop websites can be extremely detrimental to your Google rankings.
Luckily, when you have a website professionally built from the ground up, SEO is carefully considered right from the get-go! Your website will not only look good for Google, it will be sleek and streamlined with no bad code slowing you down.
- You’re tied to that platform.
If you build a website on a drag and drop editor platform, they usually lock you into their own hosting solutions, often resulting in higher ongoing costs than you’d expect. These companies are also usually based overseas, and so are their servers. Once again, this can make load times longer, and it can also be an issue trying to rank locally when Google sees that your website is hosted somewhere overseas. To get around this, you may decide you want to take your website and host it with a local hosting company. But more often than not, these companies don’t just hand over your website. You don’t really own the code or your website. You’re trapped into staying on their platform.
Whereas If you have a custom site built from scratch, you can always keep the files and move your hosting wherever you choose, giving you freedom and choice.
- Good support can be hard to get.
Occasionally something may go wrong with your website and you just can’t figure it out yourself. No shame, you aren’t a web developer, you’re a business owner! But where do you turn for support? If your website is on a drag and drop editor platform, you can try contacting their support team, talk to a robot before you get referred to a real person (overseas) via email. The process could take days, losing you valuable business.
You’re left wishing you’d just invested in a purpose-built site in the first place and had the ability to talk to a local web developer within the hour and have your issues addressed by the person who actually built your site.
- Beware drag and drop sites in disguise
You can also fall victim to the issues discussed above when you buy a website from a rogue ‘web designer’ or ‘web developer’ who really doesn’t design or develop the site at all, but rather employs a drag and drop editor to modify a third-party pre-built theme to suit your brand. Eeekkk! Unfortunately, it happens a lot in our industry.
Of course, more often than not, they won’t tell you they’re using a drag and drop builder theme and will fob it off as a quality site with a ‘quality site’ price tag to encourage you to think they put in the work, but don’t be fooled. It’s just a drag and drop builder site with the same poorly optimised, bloated code.
Some red flags that you aren’t getting a real custom site are:
- Not having in-house designers AND developers (note this can rarely be a single person as designers and developers require very separate skillsets and parts of the brain to conduct their work).
- Not being provided with a PDF of the design or the opportunity to make design changes BEFORE you see the site development link. If they sound like the request could be difficult to design, red flag!
- All their example sites look similar.
- They have only been around for 5 or so years.
The rule of thumb is, to avoid the red flags select a provider with in-house designers and developers.
A drag and drop editor website can seem like a great option if you need a site fast and have zero budget but have plenty of time on your hands to go the DIY route. If this doesn’t sound like you, it may be wise to talk to a professional web developer who can build you the site of your dreams, while taking into account load times, SEO, and your budget.
At Evolution, we have both in-house web designers and developers. We don’t use templates, we don’t use drag and drop editors – we design every single website from scratch, bespoke to you and your brand. Give us a call to talk about taking your business to the next level with a custom website on 03 5222 3328 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to organise a meeting to discuss your next move.
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