What are website builders and should you use them for your driving school website?
It’s no secret that having a website, whether you’re an independent driving instructor or a multi-car school, is highly advantageous. Not only is it your opportunity to tell people all about yourself, your school, and all the fantastic things you do, but it also acts as your shop front, helping to generate new learners to keep your diary full.
Building a website is no mean feat, and can seem extremely overwhelming even for those that are tech-savvy. Website builders might therefore seem like a saving grace in your time of need, but what exactly are they and are they any good?
what is a website builder?
A website builder is a piece of software that enables anyone to create a website with next to no previous experience in website coding required. Companies like Wix, GoDaddy and Squarespace are all example of website builders, and pride themselves on their ease of use and ‘drag and drop’ functionality.
From the outside they seem like the perfect option. No experience required and minimal upfront costs with the promise of a beautifully designed website at the end seems great! However, website builders hide some secrets that you either won’t find until you’re half way through the process or until it’s too late.
Let’s take a look at them…
1. mobile unfriendly
Having a website that works on mobile is extremely important, with over 50% of users using mobile devices to browse the internet, so ensuring your website works correctly on all device sizes is vital. Whilst many website builders say your website will be ‘responsive’ (collapses to fit on all device sizes), you are limited by the in-built mobile rendering. This means that whilst the website will collapse to a certain extent, it only does it in a very simplistic fashion and won’t look quite right. Because of the nature of website builders…there isn’t really much you can do about that!
2. it’s missing a certain…something
Website builders work on a preview basis, i.e you design the site using the drag and drop functionality and see it in preview mode. When you hit the ‘publish’ button you would expect the final website to look exactly the same? Sadly in most cases that simply isn’t the case, leaving you frustrated. Again, due to the limitations of the software, there is little you can do to fix it.
3. MORE SPEED!
A quick loading website is not only important for user experience, stopping people from leaving because it’s taking too long to load the page, but it’s also incredibly important when it comes to SEO. Google loves a website that loads nice and quickly, and is a large contributing factor when it comes to how high your website ranks in the SERPs (search engine result pages). Sadly, website builder sites have some of, if not the slowest loading times out there due to all of the unnecessary code that goes into the backend. If you imagine, a website builder has to cater for every type of website, every type of design and every type of content. This means your website will be comprised of 90% of code that it will never use, but, it still has to load every time someone visits the website.
4. not as easy as you first thought
One of the most attractive features of website builders are the ease of use. But how easy are they actually to use? We’ve tested a few in our time and it’s not as plain sailing as you might have first thought. Sure, the drag and drop functionality is nice but when it comes to the finer details; resizing images, building links, changing position of elements it can all become a very painstaking, mind numbing process. You are of course limited by what the website builder can do, so some things you will simply just have to give up on!
5. SEO, SEO and SEO
SEO (search engine optimisation) is the juice that powers your website and helps in rank in search engines like Google. SEO is a complex beast, with many different factoring elements all playing an integral part. Unfortunately, website builders largely overlook SEO because they like to sell on convenience. That means with a website builder site you’re much less likely to rank above your competitors on Google, seriously hindering how many new learners you can generate!
should I use a website builder?
Website builders have their advantages. If you’re seriously strapped on cash and want a quick, rough website then please go ahead. However, if you want a website that actually works we would suggest you stay well away.
Whilst website builders offer some great features, their downfalls make them a bad choice for any driving instructor or school that wants to actually generate leads online. The lack of SEO benefits, slow loading speeds and unfriendly mobile responsiveness make them less than ideal.
what are the alternatives?
Luckily, you don’t have to look very far for an agency that specialising in web design. Whilst you also have to be careful when choosing the right agency to build you a driving school website, we’re happy to say there are more than enough good ones out there.
If you really want a driving school website that works, look no further than us. We are experts in driving school websites and driving instructor marketing, having helped over 150 instructors across the UK fill their diaries with new learners.
If you want to have a chat with us about driving instructor websites, please get in touch.