Sunday, November 3, 2013

Drag and Drop Websites: Are They Worth Your Time?

Are you thinking about building your own website? If you're a business-owner, and you hope to make money from your website, a custom-made site is definitely your best option. Custom-made websites are designed and built from the ground up, typically for a single company, product, or service. Many design companies offer template websites for the use of a variety of clients. Template-designed websites share a similar look, feel, and functionality. In contrast, a design company like The Organic SEO Blog's sponsor, Stepmans PC, offers custom designs, crafted for each unique brand. We feel these custom-made sites are more attractive and certainly more marketable.

If you're considering hiring a design company to build a custom-made website, please read our essential guide for website owners: "Building a Website: Read This First."

Now, a custom-made site is certainly not your only option. A simple Google search, for example, for "build a website" highlights a host of D.I.Y. "drag and drop" website builders. Sites like Wix and Squarespace promise a quick and simple D.I.Y. experience. Here is how Weebly, one of the most popular sites, explains its "Drag and Drop" service:

"Build a professional-looking, interactive website that's reflective of your business simply by dragging and dropping site elements onto your web pages. Easily integrate videos, pictures, maps, contact forms, a blog and more."

Drag and drop sites can be a good option for individuals or small businesses with a limited budget and a need for a basic website structure. As stated above, a drag and drop site easily integrates a variety of elements into a simple template design. With a drag and drop website like Weebly, you could wake up in the morning with an idea for a website and build your website before lunch!

However, keep in mind, the limited cost (often these services are FREE) can also be a drawback. Obviously, the work of creating a custom-made website design is far more complex than using a drag and drop pre-built template. This complexity demands a higher cost.

What are you paying for?

1. Well, of course, a unique site that you can call your own (Weebly users do not own their sites).

2. And perhaps more importantly, a site that can be easily optimized

Unlike a custom-made website, a website built by drag and drop will necessarily have limited SEO functionality. Of course, you might be able to perform a few SEO upgrades, such as acquiring your own domain name, and creating engaging content with the judicious use of keywords. But really, a drag and drop website cannot be optimized in a way that will truly produce results, and if you're business-owner, and hope to make money from your website, this is a serious problem.

The website Weebly Forums (an independent company in now way associated with Weebly), has written a handy breakdown of the pros and cons of attempting to optimize a Weebly-built website: Weebly SEO Review--The Pros and Cons. If you follow that link, you'll notice that the pros are generally tools accessible to any website owner; the cons, on the other hand, are more technical--the type of work you might hire an SEO firm to perform.

This is an important distinction, and it points to a simple truth: Weebly's websites can only be optimized in the most elementary ways--not in the sophisticated ways that can truly make a difference for a business, and certainly not in the ways that can inspire first page placement on Google or any other search engine.

You want to make money, right? Then you need website optimization. And if you want true website optimization, you should avoid Weebly. Otherwise, as we're fond of saying at The Organic SEO Blog, your site is essentially a business card. You can tell people you meet about your site; and you can send people your site's link. But your demographic will remain appreciably small, and you won't attract business from across the Internet world.