Meticulously custom-coded websites marked the dawn of the internet. Customizable WordPress dashboard with its polished interface was still far from the horizon; there was only a simple text editor. And although it took a lot of time and energy to create websites in this way, the code was clean and efficiently executed. By the time the internet entered almost every home on the planet and became the go-to source for information, there was a growing necessity for businesses to establish their online presence. A few things happened that announced the revolution in website creation:
- People wanted an easier, faster, and cheaper way to build websites
- Web developer tools such as Macromedia Dreamweaver and Microsoft FrontPage were invented
- The world of web design evolved from simple text, links, and pictures to alluring interactive layouts
The emergence of drag-and-drop builders, themes, and plugins made the website creation process much simpler and therefore cheaper. Web designers and digital marketing agencies started offering more affordable websites, a practice that most business owners found very attractive. However, as our web development agency reveals in today’s article, this shift came with its own kind of hefty price.
The problem with themes and website builders
When people first started using themes and builders, search engines lacked indexing capabilities and advanced machine learning. During that time, those DIY tools actually served their purpose. The World Wide Web has come a long way since then. Today, search engines are more intelligent and efficient with the ability to crawl pages, so websites built on themes and plugins are proving to be problematic for businesses. Here are the most usual issues with these sites.
Slow Page Speed
All the flashy look aside, themes and builders are packed with codes that slow down the entire website. An abundance of nested elements requires extra processing power to render the page, so the more elements the website has, the slower it loads. Having a lazy, slow-loading website directly impacts:
- Your organic search rank
- Your cost per click in paid search
- User experience
- The amount of time that visitors spend on your website
These components, in turn, impact your SEO and PPC campaigns since you are spending more money on inefficient methods. Furthermore, the longer it takes for your website to load, the more likely people are to bounce instead of converting.
Vulnerable to hacks and malware
Many third-party themes, both free and paid, were made by developers as side projects. They neither have the time nor desire to maintain them. And third-party themes need constant updates to address vulnerabilities. This leaves websites outdated and susceptible to malware and hacks. Hackers aim at those kinds of websites and attack their weak points to access crucial information such as credit card numbers, customer data, and so on. The risk is simply way too big for any serious business to gamble with outdated themes and put the trust and privacy of their customers within reach of internet criminals’ hands.
Not ready for Core Web Vitals
On August 31, 2021, Google introduced an important algorithm update, a set of standards used to rank websites and evaluate user experience. They named it Core Web Vitals, and it consists of three elements:
- Largest contentful paint (LCP), which measures loading performance
- Cumulative layout shift (CLS) which measures visual stability
- First input delay (FID) which measures interactivity
The lower your site scores for each signal, the lower it will rank on the search engine results page. Each website builder has a unique code that you most often cannot access at all. As you can’t fine-tune your website when it struggles with performance, you are out of luck, and you are either stuck with it or in need of a completely new one. Builders are already falling behind search engine standards. And as engines are becoming more advanced, builders are bound to lose the pace even further.
A dull way to display your credentials
The footer of your site harbors an extreme amount of untapped potential and has exceptional importance for website ROI. Intuitive and well-structured website footer design aids in creating a premium user experience since it contains all the necessary data and links that serve your visitor as well as your end goal. Your website footer should be organized in accordance with the type of business you are running. With website builders, you get the opposite – a generic-looking footer that neither serves its purpose, nor it’s fun to look at.
Custom coded websites are the solution
Even in the rapidly evolving digital world, there are still tried and true ways that passed the test of time. And custom-coded websites are one of those evergreen things. Having an eye-catching website front-end is what every business owner desires. However, how that facade is backed up on the back-end side of your website can make or break the experience that users have while interacting with your business. Here is why custom-coded websites are the way to go.
Websites load incredibly fast
The things that a third-party theme can do with tens of thousands of codes a professional developer can achieve with just a few hundred techniques. This way, you get a website that is not overcrowded with redundant elements that take a toll on the page speed. Clean, efficient, and organized code such as the one that Sage WordPress theme provides is easier for Google to work with. Due to this, your website enjoys a higher ranking spot on SERP, scores higher with Core Web Vitals, and your users have a better experience.
Responsive web design
Whether your customers reach you via desktop or mobile devices, they will be presented with a seamless and uniform experience since custom-coded websites are equally responsive on all screen sizes. While page builders do offer mobile websites, they can’t match the amount of responsiveness you get with hand-coding. With mobile devices accounting for more than half of global website traffic and also rapidly catching up in terms of mobile vs desktop conversion rates, responsiveness is something that a serious company mustn’t compromise. It is also one of the essential signals Google uses to rank your website.
SEO and PPC friendly
Combining fast page speed with a responsive design results in an SEO-friendly website with enhanced quality and quantity of organic traffic. Also, relevant landing pages increase your Google Ads Quality Score, which in turn boosts your PPC campaign performance. Custom-coded websites allow you to fix performance issues and actively work toward better Core Web Vitals scores.
Better overall security
Custom-coded websites are extremely difficult to hack. Developers can add an extra layer of security which can virtually eliminate the chances of a cyber attack.
The low cost of a website is perhaps the only thing that can make third-party themes and drag-and-drop builders attractive to business owners. But, there’s a catch. Though it may seem like a cheap investment at first, having a builder-based website will end up costing you more in the long run. Low ranking and conversion rates bring nothing more than missed opportunities.
We can agree that hiring a developer that promises to build you a website for just a few hundred dollars sounds very tempting. But, if your heart is set for meaningful business results that provide a chance to grow and scale, a custom-coded website is what you ought to invest in. The chances are that the competition that outranks you on search engines already has one.