I remember building my first website. I had NO experience. I didn’t really have any desire to learn to code or become a web developer. I just knew I wanted a website, and I thought I had no choice but to do it myself.
I built the site and learned a lot...but it was a super frustrating process. It took forever, and the results weren’t pretty.
That was probably 7 years ago, before the rise of website builders. Now, anyone can put together an awesome looking affordable #website in just minutes...without any training in HTML or CSS.Now, anyone can put together an awesome looking affordable #website in just minutes...without any training in HTML or CSS.Click To Tweet
Most marketing agencies aren’t starting with zero knowledge like I was, but building a website from scratch still isn’t easy. You need to set up your domain, hosting, install your CMS, determine design, layout etc....and then there’s the inevitable back and forth with your clients.
Related Reading: Noob Friendly 10-Step Guide To Creating Small Business Websites
Now, however, there are a wide variety of website builders. Even platforms that you can resell as your own!
But what does this mean for you and your business? If you’re already developing websites, how would this help you?
Table of Contents
What is a White Label Website Builder?
White label website builders are re-sellable, easy to use website creation platforms with drag-and-drop functions in a variety of responsive templates. The white label part of the deal means that you can resell the builder as your own product without the client knowing that you didn’t develop it.
This is HUGE for agencies.
Why? It means that you don't necessarily even have to build your own websites, you can actually turn around and sell access to the builder itself with its templates as a DIY product and take credit for the results! This saves you time and money and allows you to focus on your business’s core competency.
Building websites from scratch used to be an extremely technical and complicated process. You basically needed to be a developer and have a very specific skill set to get anything accomplished.
Website builders remove the technological barrier and allow you to create awesome websites without being a developer or even knowing how to code!
With templates and drag-and-drop features, website builders allow you to easily put together website after website quickly for clients.
But how would white-labeling website creation help you if you’re already building websites? You’re already doing your thing...why change anything?
Why Would a Web Design Agency Need a White Label Website Builder?
Our CEO, Brandon King, put it pretty bluntly:
“If you sell local business owners products they don’t need, you’re screwed...and if you continue to sell to fewer and fewer verticals at higher and higher prices, you’re also screwed.”
This is certainly a scary statement! However, I’ve actually seen what happens when you’re not constantly adding clients or are hyper-focused on your top clients: you lose a big client or two in succession (which happens all the time in the marketing agency world), and before you know it, you’re on the brink of destruction!
As Sarah sings, "storms come I learned to be strong". She’s so right, storms do come, and as an agency, you need to be ready.
Having a large, diverse portfolio of clients will help you minimize risk.
More opportunities in website development are on the way. Businesses are looking for website help more than ever. In fact Statista reports that 57.7 percent of small and medium enterprise owners in the United States (SME) owners planned on investing in a new or improving their current website.
...and agencies can use white label builders to meet this demand.
Agencies who use white label site builders typically fall into at least one of the three following categories:
- Agencies that have clients who want to DIY their own websites but don't know how to do it. For these clients, you can resell your website builder as your own. You can just show them how it works and provide a bit of support as they go. You’ll make money selling websites with a fraction of the work. Bonus: Your clients will be impressed that you have the bandwidth for such solutions!
- Agencies that have clients who want help building their websites. Some clients will want a partner to help them build their website. This will be a bit more hands-on, but the website builder software will take the technical work off your plate.
- Agencies that have clients who want NO part in the site creation process. These clients will never need to know how easy the process was once you’ve got the hang of the system and have some go-to site templates. You’ll be able to quickly put together websites and scale your site-building operations.
The intuitive features of most builders take the time-consuming technical work out your hands, allowing you to focus on business growth.
Growth is what you’re after, and white label website builders allow you to scale your operations.
If you’re a web design agency, you don’t need to use a builder for every project. For larger clients you can still design the custom site they want. For smaller clients with smaller budgets a builder will give them what they need for a price they can afford.
"About 50% of the websites I build are using website building platforms," says Robert Mening of WebsiteSetup. "A lot of the clients that I serve are small businesses and they just don't need 100% customized solutions because their needs are relatively simple. Mostly, they need a modern and well designed site that clearly conveys what they are all about and what they offer... and for that a website builder is perfect. On top of this, these smaller clients don't have a massive budget and so not only am I able to serve their needs and create a beautiful website they love but I can do it for a fraction of the price because it doesn't take me long to make them what they want."
But there have to be drawbacks, right?
The Essential Pros and Cons of Using a Website Builder
Whenever I need to make a big decision, I make a list of pros and cons.
If you’re a list-nerd like me, you know it helps.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of resellable website builders:
- Speed: Builders allow you to use templates to quickly set up sites. Rather than building sites from scratch for every client, you can choose from customizable templates. This allows you to build sites quickly and take on even more clients.
- No Dev Experience Necessary: The major time suck for most agencies are the technical challenges that go into creating custom websites. With builders, you don't need that development experience to create an attractive, effective site.
- Price: Again, without the need for a developer working on your site, the price goes way down. This allows you charge less and keep more of the profits.
- Frees Up Your Time: If you're not a skilled developer, or if you don't have a team of skilled website developers, having a builder frees up you and your team’s time to focus on the things that you’re exceptionally good at.
Tyler Mandroian, Director of Operations at C1 Partners notes that they’ve had success with builders in the past,
“The benefit here is that the bevy of available web editors are almost always capable of producing something that looks great, hits responsive design requirements, and leaves a fair amount of customization for advanced editing and SEO-specific coding.
You don't need a lot of expertise to make these sites look good, but you really do need proper planning and a fair amount of time to get details in order, especially if your design (or client) happens to be especially picky.”
- Less Customization: Let's face it, some clients may ask for more customizations to their website than you'll be able to deliver with a website builder. However, communicating clearly up front about design can reduce any gap in expectations.
- Design May Suffer: With website builders, the idea isn’t to come up with all kinds of fantastic custom designs for websites, it's about producing an effective, exceptional website experience that can be replicated over and over again easily.
- Less Flexibility: Bigger resellers may be slower to identify and fix bugs, or be less responsive to suggestions and requests. This can make the agency look bad. Web designer Richard Howe of Colour Rich explains, “While resellable website builders have been excellent for our company growth, a lack of flexibility and urgency can reflect badly on both the platform and reseller."
- Lack of Cohesive Solutions: Tyler also notes that, “...functionality can vary wildly from one solution to the other. This creates an issue where staff essentially needs to train themselves on these nuances—we've seen this cause an issue where rather than build on this learning, a lot of this education is lost between client projects. This inherently creates the kind of time sink that these website editors are supposed to eliminate when deployed at scale, which is why our firm has decided to go with one robust solution.”
Knowing the general pros and cons is important, but with website builders, it’s all about the problems a specific builder will solve for you. Let’s look at this next...
Need help selling websites to your clients? Grab our 6 step guide for selling website services to local businesses!
What Should You Look for in a Resellable Website Builder?
Hello, is it fully responsive design and an intuitive interface you’re looking for? Actually, yes, very much so.
Here are a few more capabilities you should look for when you’re shopping for the best white label website builder for your agency:
Drag-and-Drop Page Design
Drag and drop builders allow you to easily customize the design and content of pages without developer skills. Having an ugly website makes visitors recoil in horror. In fact, 38% of consumers will stop engaging with content that is unattractive in imagery or layout. Drag and drop frees technically-challenged users to easily create the design they want. Your clients will thank you for this feature!
Fully Responsive Design
85% of adult consumers believe that a company’s mobile site should be good or better than the desktop version. Any website you build needs to look amazing on any device. Dave Sloan of BigTalker notes that as recently as 2016, only 30% of small businesses have mobile-friendly websites so there is plenty of room for improvement out there! If a website builder doesn’t have responsive design, you should look elsewhere.
If you and your clients don’t understand out to navigate around the builder’s interface, the main point (ease) of using a builder is undercut. Plus, it’ll take more time to train staff how to use the platform.
Setting up hosting can be another time-intensive aspect to creating websites. Look for builders where all hosting is included to provide you and your end–user client a hassle free experience.
According to Chris Scalise, “Some aspects of SEO are easy to control on your end. For instance, by writing engaging content with the right keywords, you can draw in traffic and appeal to the search engine spiders that crawl your website in search of relevance. However, many other aspects of SEO are buried within the meta content and hidden within the site’s code. These include: Your XML sitemap, HTML sitemap, robots.txt file, meta tags for pages and images, URL structure, microformats, breadcrumb navigation, mobile friendliness and SSL certificates. When you use an SEO-friendly website builder, you can ensure that every aspect of your site is properly optimized.”
Plenty of Customizable Templates
Reinventing the wheel for each website job is one of the biggest time-suckers website design agencies face. Being able to choose from a wide array of customizable templates can save you a TON of design time. Just make sure you take a close look at the templates that website builders offer to ensure they’re up to your standards!
Built-in Image Editor
Speed-optimized images are essential for your site’s user experience. Being able to edit images within the builder will save you and clients from needing to invest in image editing software.
Cost of the White Label Solution
Howard Steele of Suberb Website Builders, an independant site dedicated to the review of website builders, told me, "You should calculate the financial reasonability of using the white label instead of your own solution. Pay special attention to the number of websites that can be created with regard to the terms of the plan."
Analytics Reporting Dashboard
Being able to quickly access and view reporting will help you communicate value to your clients. Plus, if your clients have opted for the DIY website building experience, you’ll want to make sure they have access to a reporting dashboard that they’ll understand.
The key is to look for a full white label solution. This means complete custom branding throughout the site editor and a seamless experience for the end-user. You want to add value to your own brand and services you offer.
Related Reading: How to Sell Website Services to Local Businesses
Many site builders will be co-branded or mistakenly reveal the provider’s company. This can create confusion for the client and also push them to look for the source, thinking they will get a better deal which is usually not the case.
Bottom line, if you can get all those solutions in one builder, you’ll be in good shape.
If I knew about website builders 7 years ago, I would have gone that route in a heartbeat. If I was running an agency, the choice would be even more obvious, if possible. Why?
...because being in the website design biz is hard work! Clients often want some really crazy design choices that make you jump through a lot of technical hoops.
However, offering a website is one of the most important online services to have. It’s the core of your online presence which means you’re providing a vital piece of your client’s business. Plus, pairing the website with other key services like email and domain registration will keep your clients locked in to ensure a longer and closer relationship.
Justin Knott, President of Intrepy explains how using site builders has lowered the barrier of entry to the website design:
“Drag and drop builders are a fantastic solution for clients who wish to maintain their site themselves for cost or other reasons. This use to be an impossible task even a few years ago. Now with 1-2 hours of training, if you are any kind of tech savvy, a client can accomplish a lot of things from adding blog posts to updating pages. Overall I highly recommend the use of builders because it creates stunning websites for clients and expedites the build for agencies.”
You can actually get really good at creating awesome custom sites with white label site builders.
If you want an easy solution to scale website creation at your agency or offer your clients a nice DIY website creation option, they’re a no-brainer.