Drag & Drop Websites – WYSIWYG website programs are they worth it?

Finding someone to build your business a website these days is as easy as looking online, or waiting for one of the probably many calls your business gets from people claiming they can build your presence online for cheap.  Pricing for websites varies widely and so as a savvy business owner, you should question why so cheap or why so expensive, right?

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Drag and Drop Website Design – WYSIWYG

There are many companies out there that claim they are “professional” web design services, however when you look behind the scenes it’s easy to see they’re charging an inflated price for a website you could build yourself.  There’s many platforms on the web today that use a “What You See Is What You Get” interface, commonly known in the industry as “WYSIWYG” (pronounced “wiz-ee-wig”), these platforms are very simple to use, and are often called drag and drop interfaces.  In the web development industry, companies that use these type off platforms typically aren’t considered web developers, as little to absolutely no web coding is required to use them.

The drawbacks to using Drag & Drop websites

Many drag and drop interfaces have several limitations a business should be aware of before deciding to use a company that uses this software. Business owners should look at their website, and their overall internet strategy including: Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Content Development, and future Web Development before going with a drag and drop interface.  Drag and drop interfaces can lack many features, so you must be sure of what you want to accomplish before deciding to invest money into a website on one of these platforms.

Below we have listed just a few limitations that are common with many drag and drop websites:

  • Incorrect html code.  Often the drag and drop program editor inserts the html / css code it thinks is needed on its own.  This can be a problem if the program doesn’t allow access to changing the html or css, or if the person working in the WYSIWYG editor doesn’t know html or css.  Incorrect html code can cause problems ranging from incorrect rendering on different browsers or devices to negatively affecting search engine rankings, and because you’re working in a WYSIWYG there is often little to nothing that can be done to correct these types of issues.
  • Limited website functionality.  Since drag and drop interfaces are designed to be simple, many normal website functions are not available.  You want drop down menus, how about customizable and conditional forms, or what about integration (API) with different programs such as Gmail, Facebook, Twitter or something else?  Better check, many WYSIWYG programs can’t handle these types of functions.  Even if you don’t think you want these features now, will you in a year from now?
  • No FTP or cPanel access. FTP or File Transfer Protocol is a program that allows a web developer to access the back end files of your website to make changes to html, css, and whatever program your website is written in, a website cPanel allows access to these files as well.  This is important because it gives the web developer access to change code on a website to do a whole host of things, such as: make a website faster, make or maintain databases, create different files for better search engine optimization, secure different parts of your website, and many other web coding functions.  Without access to these files, you are left to the mercy of the company that created the WYSIWYG program.
  • No responsive design.  Responsive design allows a website to reconfigure itself to the best possible viewing experience based upon the device type, program and screen size that is accessing it.  Don’t be mislead into believing that a mobile website is the same as responsive design, because it’s not.  Even Google as an industry leader in search engines has stated that responsive design should be considered a best practice for web development, you can read what Google says about responsive design. Many WYSIWYG programs don’t have responsive design ability, and anybody trying to tell you a mobile site is better than responsive design is probably masking the fact that they can’t build responsive.  I will admit there may be some very remote instances where a mobile site makes sense, but those should always be the very rare exception.
  • Not database driven.  I think that most business owners would agree that they would like a website that has the ability to grow with their business.  Websites that are built utilizing a database allow just that.  What to be able to update your website often, and give your visitors the ability to search for exactly what they need?  How about being able to return all the pages and pictures that associate with a specific product a visitor is interested when they come visit?  Many WYSIWYG programs aren’t database driven.
  • Not transferable.  What happens if down the road you decide you want some, or all of the features above and you decide you’re moving your website to a professional platform?  Chances are because you’ve developed your website in a proprietary environment, your entire website will need to be recreated.  That means any money you may have saved in the beginning because you decided to go with the cheaper guy, will now be spent on moving this website by a web professional.

Decision time – who to have build your website

For some businesses I suppose a website built in a WYSIWYG interface may suffice, but if you’re like most businesses you’re understanding more and more the importance of a strong internet presence to continually grow your business.  For businesses like this rarely will a drag and drop website afford them the opportunities to grow the functionality of their website as well as website content.  Knowing the differences and limitations to these programs should help aid in deciding which direction is best for you and your business growth going forward.

One of our customers has a saying that I think fits here perfectly; “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of the lowest price is forgotten”

You might have a WYSIWYG website if it’s built in any of the below programs

Following are commonly used WYSIWYG services, there’s way more, but these are the most popular: web.com – wix.com – weebly – website tonight (godaddy) – webs – iPage – Homestead – Vistaprint – Microsoft FrontPage – Moonfruit

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