Home – New Forums Tech talk The REAL Reason Why Free Website Builders Suck…

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  • #1190902
    getcontented.com.au
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    bb1, post: 224461, member: 53375 wrote:
    You are making an assumption that someone will do something terrible, some people do have the ability to design, even though they don’t have the label ”designer” behind there name.

    That would be like me saying people shouldn’t garden, because they may do something terrible to their garden, at the end of the day everyone has different abilities and can do what they like to do.

    I have seen reviews on here for web designers and even other designers have given them the thumbs down.

    Oh, I should clarify something… when I said “something terrible” I meant something actually terrible… like putting 4 point body copy with a 36 point heading because they didn’t test it on different browsers, or putting white text on a photo with a really light background and not realising the copy doesn’t knock out properly… I’m not talking about things that are a matter of taste, I’m talking about obviously incorrect things, like misusing the word “their” instead of “they’re”, or using hot pink all-caps for a big paragraph of text.

    These are things almost NO designer would do… not things that designers sometimes quibble or disagree about.

    #1190903
    Stuart B
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    Gormandize.com.au, post: 224451, member: 67887 wrote:
    Good post, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Talking about my experience, I’d say sometimes it is better to build your own free website using WIX than paying $$$$$ to a web designer that is focused on design only but not on conversion.

    In saying that have you heard of the new web builder called pagecloud launching this month? https://reserve.pagecloud.com/r/ZmcveE/

    It looks very impressive, especially the feature that let’s you copy a design from another website.

    I’m very interested to see what these do. The Grid is another one to keep an eye out for. Uses AI to create a website for you. But my question is this…

    Will these AI built websites just do a really good job of making websites which look amazing AND optimise them for commercial goals too? Will they be smart enough to ensure the website is designed in order to achieve the business’ goals?
    Probably not because all businesses have different goals.

    I would imagine they’ll do a good job of making sites look great, which is a good thing but as far as ecommerce is concerned I don’t know how they will tackle that.

    #1190904
    Hatching_It
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    getcontented.com.au, post: 224463, member: 72814 wrote:
    optimumpercussion.com.au

    The single ugliest Magento website I’ve ever seen..Even the old standard template was nicer than that!

    #1190905
    getcontented.com.au
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    Stuart B, post: 224477, member: 10757 wrote:
    I’m very interested to see what these do. The Grid is another one to keep an eye out for. Uses AI to create a website for you. But my question is this…

    Will these AI built websites just do a really good job of making websites which look amazing AND optimise them for commercial goals too? Will they be smart enough to ensure the website is designed in order to achieve the business’ goals?
    Probably not because all businesses have different goals.

    I would imagine they’ll do a good job of making sites look great, which is a good thing but as far as ecommerce is concerned I don’t know how they will tackle that.

    Yeah, the trouble with these automatic designer things is originality… I say this with full respect to the programmers/designers who created this product – their pedigree includes medium.com which you can’t say is badly designed at all.

    Things like “the grid” cannot possibly create something foundationally different… which is fine, you’ll never get anything looking *bad* out of it, but the problem is, we’ll end up with even more stuff that looks exactly the same as everything else… and the design world needs more originality, not less in my opinion.

    #1190906
    bluepenguin
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    Stuart B, post: 224138, member: 10757 wrote:
    …or how the proprietary platforms mean that you’re locked in and there’s no way to transfer your site to another developer…

    I know this isn’t the point of your post, but you can build a Weebly site for free, export the code and install it as a stand-alone HTML site anywhere you want, with a few understandable limitations. Just thought I’d point that out.

    #1190907
    getcontented.com.au
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    bluepenguin, post: 224577, member: 21866 wrote:
    I know this isn’t the point of your post, but you can build a Weebly site for free, export the code and install it as a stand-alone HTML site anywhere you want, with a few understandable limitations. Just thought I’d point that out.

    This site seems to say that the templates are copyrighted by weebly, and also that if you archive your site want to reimplement it, and you have a blog, your blog won’t work anymore.

    It’s somewhat understandable, I guess, because they’re obviously using a blogging engine, but you’d expect the pages to still work – it doesn’t really seem like a true export.

    http://www.siriweberfeeney.com/template-faqs/can-i-transfer-my-weebly-site-to-another-host

    But it’s understandable… they don’t WANT you to go somewhere else, they’d rather you stayed with them… the issue with the template design copyright is kind if interesting, though… I wonder if that’s the case, what the “free” part is :) and what part of it is yours?

    #1190908
    JohnW
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    Stuart B, post: 224477, member: 10757 wrote:
    I’m very interested to see what these do. The Grid is another one to keep an eye out for.
    Hi Stuart,
    I spent a little time on The Grid site. I even watched its video but I have to admit I got frustrated and left because it would not give me the info I wanted.

    The key question I did not see answered was:

    How do people find info on a Grid website?

    The very first issue that business owners need to address when planning a website is not what it will look like. It should be, “how will I efficiently deliver my info to new clients on the web?”

    The prettiest web page with the most awesome copy is useless, if no one sees it. This dilemma is what drives the $160 billion online advertising industry that is largely owned by Google, other SEs and Facebook.

    It shakes my confidence in The Grid’s potential when I look up Google’s cached copies of its web pages and links between them seem to be almost non-existent. If this is to be a typical publishing methodology it will be generic search engine referral death.

    • Will it be essential for system users to rely on expensive paid advertising to attract new customers?
    • How many $thousands per month of ads will be needed to attract new clients to these sites?
    Will this system really be a low cost website builder?

    There are a bunch of interesting FAQs posted. Here are some that caught my attention:

    “How do I manage SEO on The Grid?
    For our general release, our layout filters automatically handle SEO optimizations using your content (e.g. auto created site description, page descriptions, page title in url, etc).”

    (JohnW: Only two search engine ranking elements out of the hundreds SEs use – that is NOT SEO!!!!

    Automatic SEO filters – all the attempts at automating SEO I’ve seen have hurt SE referrals.)

    “Can I beta test without becoming a Founding Member?
    No.”
    “Is there a trial version available?
    No.”
    “Are there any other examples or site I can see?
    Right now our site is the only site using The Grid’s auto-design technology. We will be bringing more sites and demos online soon…”
    “Do you give refunds?
    Payments, including Founding Memberships, are non-refundable.”

    I know you are not promoting this site and it isn’t a free service. I just thought FS business owners may find it interesting to explore some of the “devil in the detail” of free/low cost DIY web publishing services.

    I found The Grid very confusing. Is it trying to turn a website into a social media platform? That’s OK if all you want is to build social networks but what do you do with sites like these appear to be, if potential clients want information not entertainment?

    PS. I notice that The Grid has to buy Google Adwords for searches of its business name. Not a good sign.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1190909
    getcontented.com.au
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    JohnW, post: 224609, member: 6375 wrote:
    Hi Stuart,
    I spent a little time on The Grid site. I even watched its video but I have to admit I got frustrated and left because it would not give me the info I wanted.

    The key question I did not see answered was:

    How do people find info on a Grid website?

    The very first issue that business owners need to address when planning a website is not what it will look like. It should be, “how will I efficiently deliver my info to new clients on the web?”

    The prettiest web page with the most awesome copy is useless, if no one sees it. This dilemma is what drives the $160 billion online advertising industry that is largely owned by Google, other SEs and Facebook.

    It shakes my confidence in The Grid’s potential when I look up Google’s cached copies of its web pages and links between them seem to be almost non-existent. If this is to be a typical publishing methodology it will be generic search engine referral death.

    • Will it be essential for system users to rely on expensive paid advertising to attract new customers?
    • How many $thousands per month of ads will be needed to attract new clients to these sites?
    Will this system really be a low cost website builder?

    There are a bunch of interesting FAQs posted. Here are some that caught my attention:

    “How do I manage SEO on The Grid?
    For our general release, our layout filters automatically handle SEO optimizations using your content (e.g. auto created site description, page descriptions, page title in url, etc).”

    (JohnW: Only two search engine ranking elements out of the hundreds SEs use – that is NOT SEO!!!!

    Automatic SEO filters – all the attempts at automating SEO I’ve seen have hurt SE referrals.)

    “Can I beta test without becoming a Founding Member?
    No.”
    “Is there a trial version available?
    No.”
    “Are there any other examples or site I can see?
    Right now our site is the only site using The Grid’s auto-design technology. We will be bringing more sites and demos online soon…”
    “Do you give refunds?
    Payments, including Founding Memberships, are non-refundable.”

    I know you are not promoting this site and it isn’t a free service. I just thought FS business owners may find it interesting to explore some of the “devil in the detail” of free/low cost DIY web publishing services.

    I found The Grid very confusing. Is it trying to turn a website into a social media platform? That’s OK if all you want is to build social networks but what do you do with sites like these appear to be, if potential clients want information not entertainment?

    PS. I notice that The Grid has to buy Google Adwords for searches of its business name. Not a good sign.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    John, you really are a master of writing up long dissertations on things! Nice piece there. Your analysis is absolutely the case. Nice message!

    One of the things that struck me about the Grid is their promise that you just don’t have to worry about design – that they basically have an integrated automatic A/B testing system built into it, and it “automagically” morphs the design based on what works best in terms of more people on the page, and getting them to read your whole message.

    That’s all well and good, but there are a LOT of assumptions built into this! One of them is that you’ll have good content… copywriting and engaging content creation is as much as a skill as design is.

    I realise people don’t want to have to deal with the pain of all the aspects of marketing, but to I also feel like ignoring them will get people back into that bad place where they’ve spent some money and not really got the solution they were after.

    As you say, the cost of going with them in this case is complete lack of control – over a LOT of things, including things that are important to search engines, and therefore dictate how much traffic you’ll get from search engines.

    Search engines aren’t the ONLY source of traffic these days, but it can be a very important source of traffic. I think to rely on only one particular source is a massive mistake, because strength is in diversity of attack.

    As with all these things, it entirely depends on what the customer is trying to do… the Grid will be great for some people and absolutely terrible for others – the important thing is to find out what the customer is trying to do and provide that for them, along with showing them the whole picture – not just a portion of it.

    This is, to our minds at least, why a personal connection and touch with someone who is well versed in these things is an absolute must for customers.

    Wishing you happy trails :)
    Julian

    #1190910
    JohnW
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    getcontented.com.au, post: 224615, member: 72814 wrote:
    John, you really are a master of writing up long dissertations on things…

    I realise people don’t want to have to deal with the pain of all the aspects of marketing, but to I also feel like ignoring them will get people back into that bad place where they’ve spent some money and not really got the solution they were after…

    This is, to our minds at least, why a personal connection and touch with someone who is well versed in these things is an absolute must for customers.

    Wishing you happy trails :)
    Julian
    Hi Julian,
    Sorry about long posts. I’m mindful of FS business owners who may not be very familiar with web communications issues. I find it hard to be brief when there are usually so many “why” questions that need answers.

    IMHO, if people are not prepared to deal with marketing issues, page content and design, they will be wasting time and opportunities.

    There have been countless threads on FS over the years asking about the issue of attracting eyeballs to own web pages and social media pages. If they are not published with content relevant to the needs of the intended audiences they will all fail.

    PS: I found a few comments about The Grid on Reddit.

    The Grid site has been live for over 1 year now. Why no examples of sites that use it, yet?

    This is an interesting post: “Review from a Beta User” (Nov 15)

    “There appears to be no way at all at this point, for example, to develop a site of more than one page. All posts get displayed on the same page. That explains why these sites we keep getting shown to us as demonstration sites are all such tinkertoys.”

    “I suspect that the reason we’re hearing so little from beta users is that most of them are like me. They tried to use it, got frustrated, and wandered away…”

    “TG has a LONG way to go before they will have a product people can actually use to communicate on the web.”

    I’m intrigued that there have been 63,500 people who have forked out $100 with apparently nothing to show for it. At least they seem to be getting refunds when requested.
    Best Regs,
    JohnW

    #1190911
    getcontented.com.au
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    JohnW, post: 224626, member: 6375 wrote:
    Hi Julian,
    Sorry about long posts. I’m mindful of FS business owners who may not be very familiar with web communications issues. I find it hard to be brief when there are usually so many “why” questions that need answers.

    IMHO, if people are not prepared to deal with marketing issues, page content and design, they will be wasting time and opportunities.

    There have been countless threads on FS over the years asking about the issue of attracting eyeballs to own web pages and social media pages. If they are not published with content relevant to the needs of the intended audiences they will all fail.

    PS: I found a few comments about The Grid on Reddit.

    The Grid site has been live for over 1 year now. Why no examples of sites that use it, yet?

    This is an interesting post: “Review from a Beta User” (Nov 15)

    “There appears to be no way at all at this point, for example, to develop a site of more than one page. All posts get displayed on the same page. That explains why these sites we keep getting shown to us as demonstration sites are all such tinkertoys.”

    “I suspect that the reason we’re hearing so little from beta users is that most of them are like me. They tried to use it, got frustrated, and wandered away…”

    “TG has a LONG way to go before they will have a product people can actually use to communicate on the web.”

    I’m intrigued that there have been 63,500 people who have forked out $100 with apparently nothing to show for it. At least they seem to be getting refunds when requested.
    Best Regs,
    JohnW

    I *love* your posts, John. Absolutely no need to apologise. You bring many of the pertinent issues to the fore, and these things require detailed analysis, not cursory assessment.

    Respect,
    Julian

    #1190912
    getcontented.com.au
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    Gormandize.com.au, post: 224451, member: 67887 wrote:
    Good post, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Talking about my experience, I’d say sometimes it is better to build your own free website using WIX than paying $$$$$ to a web designer that is focused on design only but not on conversion.

    In saying that have you heard of the new web builder called pagecloud launching this month? https://reserve.pagecloud.com/r/ZmcveE/

    It looks very impressive, especially the feature that let’s you copy a design from another website.

    Hi Damien,

    Yes, I absolutely agree: it’s better to use a free online tool if it helps you to work out what you want as content, and to put it up, to test it out, and get all the details in place… it can solidify your priorities… and yeah, your site should be marketing-and-sales-driven if that’s what you’re interested in and what your priorities are. Some people prefer to have other people do this for them, but if you have the drive, that’s excellent. If you have the drive to do your own design (even if that means using a template) then so be it, too! You’re the designer at that point :) There *can* be things that people aren’t aware of, though, and that’s part of the job of the designer, to make clients aware of the issues involved and the tradeoffs, so they can make truly informed decisions.

    The design and content of a site should be subservient to whatever requirements its owner(s) have, in my opinion. Without recording of detailed stats around a sales funnel at a minimum, and an understanding of the information around the various offers you’re making at various points in that funnel (from cold to hot), you have no way of knowing if what you want to achieve with your site is being achieved (unless what you want to do doesn’t involve a sales funnel).

    I guess this is part of choosing a designer… the designer should listen to what is important to you and create a site that fulfils those requirements, communicating that that’s what’s taking place as they do so. The whole point of design is making decisions around many aspects, and if those decisions aren’t in line with your priorities, (so long as you’ve got a balanced set of reasons), I don’t think the designer is really doing their job as well as they could.

    Happy trails,
    Julian

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