Squarespace and Wix make their money off of small business owners looking to trim their marketing budget by doing a little DIY. There may be a place for user-created websites, but when you’re ready to do business, you’ll need a web developer.
Templates Can Be Overwhelming
If you are running a business, it can be tempting to DIY your web marketing and put your money somewhere else. But even the most popular user-created website programs could leave you scratching your head.
A client was starting a landscaping business. To minimize the cost of a web development project, he tried using Squarespace. But finding a template that matched his business turned out to be overwhelming, and trying to make his content match the template was even more frustrating. On top of that, he was busy - he had just started a business, after all! He simply didn't have time to figure out how to use the web-building tools, let alone do the research to find out what kind of design would most appeal to his potential customers.
While the relatively low cost of DIY web design tools are an advantage, the one-size-fits-all nature can severely limit your options. Sure, you can customize the template, but it often requires some design and development expertise, and the results can be far from what you hoped to achieve. Many business owners find themselves truncating content and reworking their message just so that it matches the template. This diminishes the value of the website, because visitors don't care about the pretty design nearly as much as finding the content they need.
Templates Can Be Customized - At a Cost
Even web professionals run up against these limitations. In order to keep costs low for a client, a web designer may use a professionally-designed theme with the intent to customize it for their client's specific needs. This is a much more common practice than most people realize, because a truly custom design can add 25-50 hours to a project and can price the designer right out of the client's range. Website templates can be a great approach for economy's sake, but the savings can come at a cost.
Many web designers will tell you that those templates, because they are intended for a broad audience, come with so many bells and whistles that they often have to spend a fair amount of time disabling features and trying to rework pages and layout to better present the client's services and products. In some cases, the approach of the template author is so limiting that the amount of time to customize it causes the designer to realize that they could have created a custom design with less effort.
Web Users Look for Function Over Form
Ultimately, your website is for your customers, not you. While business owners are often concerned with what a website looks like, their customers are more concerned about how easy it is to use. The purpose of a website is not to look pretty, it's to engage your customers. This is where professional web development can help. A web developer will help you answer questions like:
Do your clients respond better to text or images?
What are the top searches driving people to your site?
What are your customers looking for when they land on your homepage?
How will potential clients find their way around your content?
How can you close the deal with customers who want to work with you?
Web-Builders Don’t Replace Developers for Custom Features
There certainly is a place for web-builders like Squarespace and Wix in the world of web marketing, but most businesses need more than that. Despite claims that you can "build a professional website in five mintues for free," you will quickly run into the limits of what self-built websites can do. Contact Provisio today to find out how your website can be far more than a "business card on the web."