With the growing popularity of site builders such as Wix and Squarespace, it might seem like a good cost-effective choice to try building your own website rather than hiring a web designer or agency. While the technology has come a long way in recent years it’s still likely to be a bad decision that will hold you back in the long run if you take your business seriously.
While these site builders do give you pre-designed templates to work from that don’t look half bad you’ll need to customize these to suit your business, as a minimum you’d work through the template changing; images, colours, and typefaces and the temptation is to go even further than that! Truth be told. Unless you have a background in design, you’re not likely to know what you’re doing. You don’t know how the what best way to layout your site and make content readable is, you don’t understand colour theory, appropriate spacing and proportions and soo much more! Why should you? You’re not a web designer after all.
People often with no understanding of the job, have a hard time distinguishing the difference between an artist and a designer. Art is a subjective form of expression, if it’s good or not is down to the eye of the beholder and what emotions it brings out in them. All too often people think of their website as a piece of art and not, a piece of design. A well-designed website performs a function. It has a goal, it could be to generate more sales, meaning how well the design works can be measured with real tangible results. Your website’s worth doesn’t come down to users’ personal preference and taste, it comes down to the results it delivers.
It isn’t your job to build websites, you’ve got a million other things to do especially if you own a SME. You have a set of skills that are valuable to people and those skills are not in web design or development (probably). Think of it this way, you provide a service for which you charge a certain amount per hour, without the proper knowledge and skillset how much do you think your design skills are worth on an hourly basis? Probably not as much right? So it’s probably best that you charge your worth for your skill set rather than waste time doing something you have little knowledge of.
These DIY solutions to websites give you templates to work off which have been designed and developed by talented designers and developers, they (some of which more than others) look great! But think why your business started, maybe you were offering something different to your competition, so would it not make sense that your website would look different as well instead of a cookie-cutter site that thousands of other people are using?
Each business has specific goals and challenges to overcome. Your website can be tailored to help accomplish these and work for your individual needs. While a template might look great it’s been designed in a way that could suit many different businesses and doesn’t specifically fit to solve your problem. One solution does not work as effectively for everything.
To give some real-life context, imagine you’re buying a suit, you could go down to a high street shop and find one at a low cost that looks great on the mannequin in the window. You’d think that the company who produced this have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours designing it, deciding on the materials and making it look and function as best as possible. But. Just because it looks great on the mannequin or in the pictures it doesn’t mean it will look great on you, sure you can buy a size that fits well enough but your body (much like your business) is unique. If you want to get a suit that fits perfectly you’d probably have to go and get it tailor-made, they’d take your measurements and understand what you need from it and craft something that fits best specifically to your individual needs.
One big problem with templated site builders is the results they give often end up looking very similar. Your website could look almost identical to thousands of others or just end up not having much character or resinating with your business at all. This means that people aren’t going to remember their experience on your site, how it looked, or how it was to use, it is instead going to be quickly forgotten about as ‘another one of those websites’.
Many of your customer’s first point of contact will be through your website. If one of your potential customers can tell that you haven’t put much effort into it or created it in the best way it gives a bad impression from the start. Customers might think you don’t care about how it looks, their experience using it, or ultimately them! This then leads people to ask questions about the product or service you are providing, will you cut corners or give a bad product or service that isn’t up to standard like you have with your own website?
If you do have a site built on one of these DIY platforms, as your business grows and expands you’re going to start seeing issues. These platforms are not intended for high traffic or big business operations, especially in eCommerce. The sites become hard to manage, frustrating to work with and lead to you losing out.
If you were considering building your own website I hope this advice will help you make an informed decision so you don't miss out and cause yourself a world of frustration for the sake of saving money in the short term.