This post is aimed at small business owners or individuals who are trying to understand whether they should start their website on Wix or Squarespace, or similar templated website service.
Every once in a while I come across a client that currently has their website hosted on Wix or Squarespace, and they want me to redesign their website. What follows is a discussion on how it’s difficult for a designer to “design” a website on a templated platform and deliver all that the client desires.
Typically, this is what happens. You’re starting your new business or already have one, you even made a logo by yourself and all you need a website to get going. Sounds great. Your heard about Wix (or Squarespace) and you get started with the website because it just sounds so easy.
What happens next, for a lot of people, is they end up with a monster of a website that looks unprofessional and perhaps ugly and poor quality logo (I’ve had those clients). Then they realize, they need a designer and they show up on our designer doorstep saying, “hey designer, I have a website on this platform, and I have all these bells and whistles I want to add – but I don’t know how, and I know my website needs a lot of help because I don’t know what I’m doing”.
This is an exciting challenge as I love taking an ugly website, adding proper functionality, flow of content, and making it look great. But – the first challenge is explaining and convincing the client that we need to move away from the templated and limited website platform and work in WordPress. Why?
This post is totally not about bashing Wix, Squarespace or any other platform that offer a convenient service at a reasonable fee. I think they are great, but they are not for everyone – as far as clients, and they are not for designers who want to offer some customized functionality, and flexibility in design. When I say they are not for everyone, I mean, if you are not sure of your ability to tell good design from “not so great” or how a website should function and the flow of information, you might end up with something that is damaging your business rather than enhancing it. You might confuse your users and potential clients as to what your services are i.e. lose their interest and business.
If you think you are pretty good at creating something clever, functional and good looking and just need a simple site without too many frills and options, then you should totally go for it and those types of services will make your life easier and save money. But if you are not – it’s best to pay a professional who designs and builds WordPress sites, has experience in this field or even offers more services to help you grow and advertise your business. And as with everything else in life, we designers come at different price tags so you just have to look around and find someone that works within your budget and can deliver what you ask. Ask a friend – I get many of my referrals through friends who have seen my work and are happy to pass my name along.
There are certain types of business that do great on Wix or Squarespace platforms such as restaurants or other sites that don’t require too much functionality, but serve as a simple informational site such as about section, menu, food gallery and contact section. Even simple shops. Similarly, if you are looking for a portfolio service, you will very likely be very happy with templates to present your work. If your business might require more pages, more functions, you want to be able to have a choice of components and choice of stylistic options (now or later), it’s best to go straight to WordPress. Therefore, when I talk to new client and they tell me their site is currently hosted on a subscription platform and they have all these ideas, the first thing I say is, sure, but we will need to move the site to WordPress.
While WordPress of course has some limitations, some based on theme, some based on platform, if you work with a great flexible theme (for which you need to pay for – not free), there is so much you can accomplish, not to mention hundreds of thousands of plugins being developed daily for almost anything your heart desires to add to your site. If you have or want to have e-commerce site, there are themes especially developed with that in mind which make adding various shop functions easy. WordPress like Wix or Squarespace has a functionality for a client to log in and make changes to their site without having to hire a designer for every small price change or text update.
Here you might think, why do I need a designer if WordPress is so great and I can do so much myself, with all these options you mentioned? Sure you can. But again, if you are not sure of your design and layout sensibilities or might not be great with technology, it will be a learning curve and you might not get a results you want. You will burn a lot of midnight oil to figure some things out. You can try, but working with someone who has years of experience, is not comparable to someone who just just dipping their toes in the WordPress water so save yourself the stress if your budget allows for hiring a professional WordPress designer.
Of course if you’re seeking something completely custom, the designer might have to work with a developer who will further customize the website or even build something completely off WordPress if that’s needed. But for many small businesses, a WordPress site offers everything you need to have a functional and attractive site that will attract potential customers and make your business look amazing.
Are you a business owner who needs help with your website – or have a website but don’t know how to promote yourself? Contact me to discuss your project.