Over the last few years, the web design industry has innovated and evolved in some really exciting ways, and it’s now easier than ever to create a beautiful website without any technical skills, using templates and drag-and-drop building tools.
This means everyone now has the opportunity to quickly and easily build a platform to proudly plug their idea, brand, project or business online.
So – is this the end of the road for traditional web design companies? Should everyone switch to the DIY approach, or are there any drawbacks? In this article we’ll help you understand what your options are, and how to decide what’s right for you.
Both these platforms allow you to choose from a list of several dozen design templates, tailored to a particular idea or industry (e.g. fitness, fashion, food etc), and then drop in your own images and wording to customise the site for your own project or business.
They don’t charge any set up fees, just a relatively low-cost regular subscription fee, for all-in-one packages which include web hosting for the site, plus domain name management and business email from Google.
Easy as that! So – is this approach the right choice for you? The answer is: it depends.
An example template available from Squarespace
At erjjio studios, we’re into sustainability and long term strategies. This applies to the relationships we develop with you, the systems we design, and the environmental policies we employ – you can read more about our mission here.
Squarespace and Wix are definitely worth checking out, and they may well suit your needs, particularly for short term and/or personal projects, like a wedding website for example.
But there are some drawbacks and risks to be aware of, if you’re considering them for a longer term and/or business purpose.
Although there are a few dozen templates to choose from in total, there are only a few that suit a particular industry – and everyone that uses these platforms within that industry has that same small set of templates to choose from. So there’s a strong chance that you’ll choose the same template as one of your competitors – making it difficult to create a distinct identity for your brand. It also isn’t easy to make much adjustment to the basic template design, unless you’ve got some technical knowledge.
As well as allowing you to build simple pages filled with images and words, Squarespace and Wix both have a certain amount of additional features available, such as forms that can be used by your visitors to submit wedding RSVPs, or appointment booking requests for example. This is helpful – however you may soon find, as you gradually grow your business and decide that you want to upgrade your website, that they simply don’t offer the functionality you need – and at that point you’ll be stuck.
The templates and systems they provide you with to build your website are owned and controlled entirely by them. If at some point in future you decide to leave them and move to a different platform (e.g. because they put up their pricing to a level you aren’t happy with, or you need some functionality that they don’t offer), your website would simply be switched off and you’d have to start from scratch in order to build a replacement site elsewhere – you won’t be able to take the existing website with you. It isn’t portable and it isn’t yours to keep. That’s not necessarily a big deal if your website is small, but if it’s grown and matured over a longer period, it would be much more of a headache. Plus, at the time of writing, Squarespace does NOT yet use renewable energy in its data centres – so if you care about sustainability, this is a problem too.
If you decide against the DIY approach and instead choose to partner with us, the key benefits are that the above problems no longer apply. We use an industry standard platform called WordPress, which offers the following key advantages:
Everything we create is bespoke, so your website is customised to suit your exact requirements and preferences. We begin with a moodboarding process to collect and discuss ideas, then we design your site from scratch. We invite your feedback and input at every stage, and make revisions until you’re completely happy.
There are no limits on what can be built, when freed from the restrictions of DIY platforms like Squarespace and Wix. Whatever you can imagine, can be built – either by coding it from scratch ourselves, or by choosing from a vast library of plugins and software integrations built by 3rd party developers which can help to speed up the process (and therefore lower the project cost for you).
If you ever decide you’d prefer to leave us and start working with a different partner instead, there’s absolutely no lock-in with us, either contractually or technically. You (or your new partner company) will be able to take a copy of your website with you, and transition seamlessly over to them with no need to create anything from scratch or repeat any work. For this same reason, you can also move your website between (hopefully green!) hosting providers in a relatively simple way.
We hope this overview has helped you get a feel for the pros and cons of the DIY website approach for your project. It’s well worth having a look at Squarespace and Wix – they both offer free, no-obligation trials during which you can experiment and build a site.
If you’re interested in discussing your project with us, we’re all ears! Get in touch and we’ll be happy to chat, and help you think through your strategy.
Regardless of whether you decide to build a new website yourself, or work with us to build it – we can also help you promote your business online, get noticed by more potential customers and generate more sales leads. Give us a shout – let’s have a chat. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or via our Contact page.
Either way, enjoy the process of bringing your project to life!