If you’re a newbie to web hosting, you might have seen services on certain web hosts, offering “page builders” to create your new site. Or perhaps you’ve heard of products like “Wix”, which allow you to host your site on their domain, and which allow you to quickly build out site elements like contact forms, information pages, calendars, and some other basic functionality.
These page builders trade flexibility and long-term viability, for ease of use. In general, I wouldn’t recommend them, but there are perhaps some situations when using a page builder might be viable. In this article, I’ll give you a few situations when such a choice makes sense.
1. Your Website Isn’t Very Important to Your Business
Page builders target customers who don’t care too much about their website. They won’t tell you this, but it’s true for the following reason:
No Long-Term Guarantee
Page builders are overwhelmingly proprietary. They don’t open source their code, and there’s no way to export your content from one page building service to another. This means that you’re dependent on that hosting service for your site – forever. If it goes out of business, you’re out of luck. Even if they release their source code (which they won’t), you won’t find another host which runs their software, so you’re dead in the water.
If you plan to keep your website around for as long as your business lasts, a page builder is a terrible idea as it completely robs you of options. You’re locked in. So use one only if you’re comfortable with uncertainty.
2. You Don’t Want to Put Any Effort into Your Site
Page builders tout their customization options. You can choose from a variety of themes, and there’s a host of easily accessible functionality that you can implement with the click of a button. But when it comes to websites, each has unique requirements. You will have a lot of customization to suit your business.
You may need to have a unique URL structure to make it easier for clients to identify your services, you might need functionality to perform dynamic calculations on the fly, or you may need to develop a tool to calculate pricing for example. Almost every site will have some unique functionality that the page building service hasn’t thought of.
We call these “log-tail” requirements, and they’re an absolute necessity. Your site might be the only one in the world that needs to do something in a particular way, but it’s necessary. A page builder caters only to the most general requirements, unlike an infinitely extensible software framework like WordPress.
3. You’re Comfortable Starting Over
Using a page builder means that at some point or another, you have to be willing to build your website again from scratch. For example, if the hosting service providing the page builder increases its prices, there’s nothing you can do. You either have to pay the extra amount or quit and build another site. As mentioned above, you can’t perform any migrations.
With a normal CMS like WordPress, you can simply export your entire site and settings into a single file, and move it to another server, since all of them will support the most popular CMSs like WordPress. And because you have that freedom, hosting providers are wary of increasing prices willy nilly since they don’t have lock-in.
Page builders are for those who don’t take their websites seriously. This isn’t meant to be a knock on your business. Sometimes you just need a contact page with your website address and nothing more! But if your site is directly or indirectly responsible for a large part of your revenue, and you need to do more with it that just maintain a contact page, I wouldn’t recommend a page builder to anyone. It’s well worth the effort to learn how to use a regular CMS like WordPress instead.
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!