For your nonprofit organization, you definitely have the option to build and host your website on a drag-and-drop service like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace, but in the long run it won’t be the best solution. Read more to find out why a custom-built website solution is a better way to go.

The Hidden Costs of Inexpensive Website Builders for Nonprofits

The allure of publishing a website with a quick and easy visual drag-and-drop builder is high. Suddenly, you’re in control of your site and can add your own content and adjust the layout as needed. However, there are many hidden costs to putting your nonprofit’s website on a service like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace.

With a Custom Web Design, You Own Your Data

The content you put up on your site should be 100% yours, right? Unfortunately, if you want to move your site to a different Content Management System (CMS) later, you’ll basically have to start from scratch. With these website builders, you don’t own your data.

Basically, you’d need to copy and paste all of your website’s copy and content from the old site onto the new one. That would get messy and monotonous very fast. If you have a lot of content on your old site, this process would take a long time.

Enlist in the help of a professional website studio like Lucid Fox, and you’ll get a custom solution built on a CMS that completely fits your needs. Even better—your data will be able to integrate with other software or apps you use, because you will own your data outright.

You Can Count On Your Website Developer to Fix Problems, Fast

When you have a custom built website, you can reach out to your developer who can fix a problem quickly. Even more, your web studio will be available for you down the road if you need to consult with them for adding a feature or setting up something new.

With drag-and-drop website services, you are at the mercy of their customer service team who are bogged down by a multitude of requests across their entire client base. It’s like renting an apartment from an unreliable landlord: you may have to broadcast your issue several times before it’s fixed. Or, you simply have to wait a long time before they get around to your issue. Even after that, a customer service fix may not even address all of the problems you’re facing.

Either way, customer service isn’t going to be as invested in your needs as having your own website team.

Also, it’s important to note that if you hire a design and development team, you won’t have to spend any more late nights trying to fix bugs and mistakes. Your team is there to help you.

Custom Web Design and Development Pays Dividends

With Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, or other similar services, you get what you pay for.

Oftentimes, sites hosted on these platforms are low-performance. This will provide your website visitors with slow loading times, which ultimately gives them a bad user experience. Like we’ve mentioned before, people-centered design is crucial to the success of your nonprofit’s website. If someone has a bad experience on your site because of lag, they may not end up supporting your mission, simply because the site doesn’t meet their speed expectations.

I spoke to nonprofit founder Marsia Powers, who recently discovered it was taking 30 seconds (or more) to load her homepage while using Wix. This significant delay in website loading time was a big problem for her nonprofit; according to their analytics, 42% of people exited from her website because of slow loading times.

Aside from speed, your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and accessibility could be affected. Your SEO is key for new website visitors finding your site via search engines like Google, so you want to make sure the content on your site is attracting the right people as much as possible.

Accessibility is very important to nonprofits. In fact, a nonprofit website that isn’t accessible is at risk for legal action because of discrimination against people with disabilities. When we spoke, Marsia said, “Wix doesn’t do that.”

Marsia expanded on her conversation: “I asked Wix, ‘What about the blind?’ Websites need to be able to be read by blind people, too. And their tech support came back and said, ‘We don’t know if our websites are ADA compliant.’” This is simply unacceptable.

A custom website for your nonprofit will surpass SaaS

Saas, or Software-as-a-Service, is a term that encapsulates sites like Wix.

Sure, a drag-and-drop website may involve less financial strain up front, especially when compared to a custom design and build. However, a web project built specifically for your organization will have a lower long term cost for many reasons.

Your custom designed and developed site will be:

  • Fast and high performing.
  • Optimized for SEO and accessibility standards.
  • Designed for your particular audience in mind, providing a stellar user experience.
  • Able to handle a checklist of items to fix or improve your site.

At the end of the day, sites built on Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace are ok for starter sites, but your nonprofit can’t plan on using them for the long term. In fact, Marsia tells us she’s turning people away from Wix as much as she possibly can:

“It might be okay for now, but [you] have to think about the future.”

Start your site off right with a custom design and build from the beginning, and you’ll set up your organization for success from the get-go.

Ready to get your custom website started for your nonprofit? Contact us for a free consultation and quote.

A special thank you to Marsia Powers of Fandom Charities, Inc and Whedonopolis, who was very generous with her time by sharing her experiences.

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