Surprising Insights from Small Businesses Using DIY Website Builders

Surprising Insights from Small Businesses Using DIY Website Builders

Designli was recently featured in’s in-depth survey about DIY website builders.

Clutch is a premier resource for those looking to buy or sell development, marketing, or business consulting services. And, in an effort to learn more about the landscape of businesses that may seek web development, they surveyed over 300 small business employees about their experience using do-it-yourself web building technology.

Companies such as Squarespace and Wix have come out strong in recent years attempting to innovate in the DIY website space and have captured the imagination and attention of small businesses looking to have a strong online presence.

Squarespace, for example, consistently partners with big name celebrities to promote their service. The series of videos where John Malkovich attempts to purchase a domain for his new fashion line is a vivid statement about establishing a personal brand using a website today. Wix, too, is making bold moves by recently acquiring DeviantArt to potentially license out artwork to Wix users. WordPress needs no introduction and will likely always remain the behemoth that it is, powering over a quarter of websites on the internet.

So with all this activity, it’s interesting to understand who are using these sites and what for. And, as a company that develops custom web applications, it’s clear to us that there are a significant portion of business owners that are attempting to build complex sites using them. They’d likely benefit, if their business continues to grow, in pursuing a site tailored to their needs rather than patching together other people’s solutions.

That being said, let’s look at some of the statistics that stood out to us from Clutch’s research.

Familiarity Levels With Website Builders

Even as web builders attempt to make the user experience easier and better for DIY web designers, we can assume that those that those individuals getting their hands dirty crafting these sites are relatively sophisticated tech users.

A little over half of those surveyed self-identified as intermediate users of these platforms, being able to set up a site and customize it using the more advanced features that are offered without any assistance. It’s no surprise to us, after using the backend of WordPress or Squarespace for a little while, that navigating to all the various features and options on these builders becomes easy quickly.

screen shot of bar graphs showing poll results

A quarter of people responded as being beginners to these CMSs. Likely these users are newer to the platforms or know how to do the one or two things they need to get the job done and don’t need to invest time and energy learning more.

The more experienced users, the remaining 22%, felt comfortable enough to dig into the platform to add plugins, custom HTML & CSS, and optimize for search. These users, then, are the ones that understand that opening the hood on these platforms can get a little messy.

Tools Integrated To Website By User & Site Complexity

Another interesting finding was what kinds of tools were being installed and how often. In the lead were social media sharing (64%), customer reviews (55%), and scheduling (45%). In the back of the pack were analytics (38%), lead capture (27%), and inventory management (24%).

screen shot of bar graphs showing poll results

When 50% of the people surveyed are using these builders for business yet only 38% are tracking analytics and 27% are capturing leads, to us, this means that these business owners either don’t yet truly understand the power of an online presence or don’t have the skills in-house to integrate these tools.

screen shot of bar graphs showing poll results

Later on in the survey, we learn that 46% of businesses are integrating 5 or more plugins to build the features that they need for their website. Clutch infers that these people are using these web builders to solve the need for a complex website for their business. The other 54% of business are using between 1 and 4 plugins and are running a simpler solution for their business.

Is a Custom Solution Better?

There are a few common problems that pop up when trying to build a complete website solution using these DIY web builders. Don’t get me wrong, the platforms themselves are solid foundations for custom sites, as there are plenty of bespoke development shops that use WordPress, Squarespace, and the like, to build off of.

However, when trying to assemble all the parts together through other developers free plugins a site can start malfunctioning in ways you don’t anticipate if you’re not experienced. We’ve seen it happen plenty of times before. Site load times suffer, third party integrations stop working properly, and responsive glitches can make the layout ugly on mobile devices. The list can get quite long. Even self-identified “advanced users” may not fully understand how the Customer Fields plugin they added to their WordPress site pulls in content or how to make use of JSON-T in their Squarespace templates.

That’s where investing in a team of designers and developers to assist in crafting a custom solution to a complex business site is invaluable.

This survey shows us that there are businesses out there that either don’t quite understand how to leverage an online presence to generate awareness, capture leads, and make sales. Or, they do, but are only using pre-fab plugins instead of investing in a streamlined customer and user experience.

If either of these sounds like you and you’re eager to learn more about how Designli can help you craft a unique solution for your business, feel free to reach out so we can schedule a call to learn more about how we can help.

Thanks to Clutch for featuring us, you can read the full article here.

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