You see it advertised quite frequently in television with GoDaddy and their online website builder. Manchester City often has Wix flashing up on the hoardings around their stadium and by all intense and purposes using a website builder makes economical sense. How hard can it be using a drag and drag editor? After all, if you can use PowerPoint then you can use one of these.

I’ve tested probably every website builder there is and to be fair, Wix is good. In fact I have a couple of clients on Wix – and the adverts are right, it is easy to use. If you’re quite design savvy you can also have a basic site up and running fairly quickly.

However, all this ease of use does come at a price. First of all, the mobile sites are a complete pain to get right. As Google now ranks websites with mobile compatibility higher than ones that aren’t, this is essential. If you think you can click on Wix’s ‘make mobile friendly’ toggle and hey presto it’s all done, I’m afraid you’ll be mistaken. Granted, it can get most of the layout right but it’s like designing one-and-a-half websites rather than just one; having to move stuff around as it’s in the wrong order. Coupled with this is Wix’s two vertical lines when designing the desktop site you need to keep your design in, which limits what you can do. GoDaddy’s builder is much worse and far more fiddly too.

If that wasn’t bad enough, website builders suffer from a lack of flexibility in terms of being adaptable. They’re closed systems and therefore if you wanted, say, a MailChimp functionality in your site, you’ll be struggling. So while you’re building a site for the now, think about what you might need it for in the future too.

Another downside is you never really ‘own’ the site. Yes, it’s your intellectual property but you can’t download it and move it elsewhere. You build it on the website builder and it stays on their servers. You might think this is fine, but the trouble with this is if your site is on their servers – so are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of other websites. If they’re being accessed at the same time by the public, this will slow the browsing experience for the end user. You’ll end up with a high bounce rate and this isn’t good in Google’s eyes.

Which brings me onto Google. Google seems to have an inherent dislike for these types of websites making them hard to rank. There’s various reasons such as slow server time, but the code that sites behind it to make it all work makes the backend of the site all bloated. All that simple functionality comes at a price.

So if Google doesn’t like the site, you’re going to be hard pressed to get it ranking higher than your rivals despite what they say about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) in their ads. So if you can’t get found, how are you going to attract new client? Maybe they might find you on Yell – but Google is your directory then you’re asking users to search within another. All too time consuming for internet users.

So what’s the answer? It’s making sure you employ a proper web-developer who builds their websites on WordPress. Others like Joomla and Drupal are okay but aren’t needed. Google seems to like WordPress sites and indexes them well (it’ll index them even better with some expert help).

WordPress though isn’t for the faint-hearted or the beginner. At first, it looks really basic and the learning curve can be quite steep. But in terms of flexibility, there’s no better platform out there. You can move it to another server if you like, it’s future proof too with new plugins (think of them as apps) coming out all the time. Some great free ones too.

However, a word of warning, WordPress is like Microsoft Windows in some respects in terms of security. It’s essentially safe but with the sheer number of WordPress sites, it’s a target for hackers. So it needs updating all the time in terms of plugins and make sure you get a good security plugin – think of it as like anti-virus software. If it’s kept up to date then you should be fine – but a good website developer will also create a back up for you too. You can’t create backups with website builders so if it was to vanish and never reappear, then you’ll need to build a new website or just hope the people of GoDaddy and Wix create their own backups.

So as you can see, employing the services of a website developer can save you money in the long run through a better-designed site, mobile optimised, being able to add functionality, create backups and much more. It may at first seem counterintuitive if you’re looking at reducing expenses but it’ll be worth it, make your business look much more professional and if the worst were to happen (and the site goes down), you’ll be glad your developer can get it back up and running (just don’t forget to ask them to make a back up copy as soon as it goes live though!).