Dove Soap has their “Campaign for Real Beauty” and the milk producers of America have their “Campaign for Real Milk”, so I think it only fair that web designers have a “Campaign for Real Websites”.
I’m talking about those fly-by-night website building websites. These are sites that have drag-and-drop functionality with a few elements and they let build your own site based on the few parameters it allows.
The problems with those are many, but to illustrate it, think about the last time you watched someone give a PowerPoint presentation. Do you remember what it looked like? Probably not, but you’ve probably seen it before. It probably used the same tired themes and clipart that’s been used by PowerPoint users for years. The result is a largely forgettable, formulaic and useless set of slides.
A website shouldn’t be a theme applied to 10,000 other websites. It should be unique and memorable. And if the aesthetic reasons aren’t enough to convince someone those website building websites are useless, the technical reasons might be more convincing.
For starters, many produce Flash-based websites. That’s how they let you have “creative freedom”, except, they don’t bother telling you that your website won’t work with nearly 20 million devices that don’t support Flash and Google can’t index your site, which means poor search ranking for you.
Second, if they do produce HTML, they produce it using 10 year old standards. The pages will be constructed and built in an un-semantic way that plops out a website that’s already out of style and out of touch.
So what are some good alternatives? There aren’t any. Sites that make websites don’t work and they produce “faux sites”. That’s why it’s past time to start The Campaign for Real Websites.