How much can I really customize?
Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace are what the industry calls WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) website builders. These systems will offer you a basic brochure website, a contact form, and will often times be mobile and tablet optimized, but when you want something a little different, these cheaper solutions will start to show their true colors. Many of these themes are developed in a “cookie-cutter” way, able to be utilized over a number of different businesses in all different fields.
If you have a unique business with a competitive edge, the pre-fab templates are not engineered with your specific customers in mind. Even with a DIY solution from one of the popular website builders, the customization for your individual needs will likely take you days, or weeks longer than you might expect. One of the major drawbacks with the Wix platform in particular is that once you have chosen a template, you are unable to switch to a different one without re-inserting all of your text and image content. This can be extremely stressful and time-consuming, especially if you discover that your chosen template is not working well enough for your business.
You are not your user.
When creating your website, it is easy to think that your potential customers are just like you. This will almost always result in an ineffective design, since quite the opposite is true. Your users have a completely different attitude than you when coming across your website, and are often just looking to get right to the information they arrived there for. Ignoring the user experience portion of a website design can be an extremely costly mistake.
A commonly overlooked processes in web design is user experience (UX) research. Sometimes it’s not all about creating a website with all of the content you intend, but how well its executed with the user in mind. That is where hiring a web design professional makes more sense than a DIY solution. UX designers have experience with many different industries, and can give you suggestions to improve the usability of your website. There are many subtleties in a user interface that elicit a positive or negative reaction from a site visitor, and that few seconds of a first impression can make or break your brand’s credibility on your website.
While many of the templates in site builders are pre-designed for general use, none of them are custom fitted for the qualities that make your business unique.
How about my search rankings?
One of the major criticisms of the Wix platform historically has been their poor SEO capabilities. They even held a contest last year to try and combat this negative image of their company…
Wix and other website builders have significantly improved their SEO systems in the past few months, but SEO can be an incredibly complex and rapidly changing process that requires frequent updates and research to maintain a proper search ranking. There are many companies out there that do SEO alone! While Wix has improved their platform to have your DIY websites indexed more effectively, there are still many facets of SEO that can be overlooked. A 100% effective SEO campaign cannot rely only on site builders, as much of it depends on your own research and data, as well as in-depth knowledge of what users are currently searching for on the internet in your niche market.
Worth a shot?
Web designers and developers create content for a specific appearance and function, while ensuring best practices, mobile responsiveness, and clear goals for the web presence of your business. It can take a very specific skill-set to manage the countless things that go into a good site launch, and it is not your responsibility to know the extent of it. That is why site builders have such a draw at first glance.
Since website builders allow you to take all of the controls at once, you often find yourself with a mess of a project that won’t perform well for your business. We realize that hiring a web design agency for your project may not be within your budget at all, and from personal experience with clients, many people insist that they’d rather save the money and do it themselves. A simple custom website can cost anywhere from $2,500-$15,000+ depending on level of research and customization.
If you have a very small budget, a lot of time, and feel as though you don’t need a custom-tailored unique design for your business website, Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace may be good enough for you. Here is a Wix theme I suggest that might be able to get the job done. Squarespace and Weebly have a few decent looking current themes to choose from as well.
Obviously as a web design agency, we have a bias toward custom designs (It’s what we’re good at =] ), but feel free to send us a message if you have any questions about what’s right for you. We’re happy to help with your decision, and will be open and honest with what we think is the best way for you to move forward with your site design.