Website builders are becoming prevalent as mobile traffic increases and both individuals and businesses recognize the value in getting online. I’m going to call SquareSpace and Wix “DIY” website builders because they market themselves as a do-it-yourself approach to building a website. SquareSpace advertises “build it beautiful”, and Wix encourages you to “create a website you’re proud of”. These are the two leading DIY website builders, and their “What you see is what you get (WYSIWYG)” approach to editing appears to make building your own website simple and hassle-free.
How Much Will It Cost?
Using a DIY website builder like SquareSpace or Wix is tempting because of the low upfront cost, averaging between $25-50 per month, but don’t let that become the main factor in your decision-making, or you’ll likely end up frustrated. Just like other products and services, with website builders, you get what you pay for. You’re not paying for the design or build of your site; you’re on your own to build your site based on the templates provided by the website builder. While those templates are user-friendly and help ensure your site has a consistent theme, they’re also not very unique.
If we look at it like building a house, DIY website builders are providing you with a handful of different floorplans for something akin to a modular home, and most of the houses on the block are going to look the same. That doesn’t mean they aren’t functional, but they are limited, and they’re not extremely unique, not just in design, but also in function.
Professional websites are built using content management systems. Our favorite, and the choice of over 1/3 of the websites on the internet, is WordPress. If a DIY builder is a modular home, WordPress is like a foundation. It’s going to involve a greater investment up front to build it out, but you have complete ownership in the process and lots of customization along the way.
Which Website Builder Should I Use?
When buying a house, you might hold off on some of that “ideal” remodeling, because you need some margin in your budget and decide you can live with it for now. But when it comes to your business, you’re more willing to make sure your space fits what you’re doing and is appropriate for your industry, even if it means a little more remodeling and extra money up front.
Why are we willing to spend more on our businesses than our homes? Because our livelihood doesn’t depend on it; at home, we can settle for less than our ideal or put up with a lot more inconvenience than we’re willing to put our customers through. The same is true for websites. For a personal site or blog, you can likely live with the templates and simpler features, but for a business, you need a website that will represent your business well and be welcoming to your clients.
Recently I got into a remodeling project that involved wallpaper and drywall. I ended up hiring a professional to finish the job because it cost less in time and money and looked better in the long run than what I could do myself. Many people use DIY website builders to create sites that look good, but there’s an opportunity cost involved in time, skill development, and industry awareness. Also keep in mind that starting on one platform and transferring to another isn’t always smooth, and that’s be design from the perspective of the DIY website builder. They are selling their platform, so keeping you there is in their best interest.
Does It Sound Like We’re Opposed to a DIY Website Builder?
We’re not… in certain circumstances. Just like you might be comfortable doing regular maintenance around your house without hiring a handyman, there are good reasons for using a DIY website builder and some satisfaction in knowing you were able to put something out there on your own. On the other hand, we DO want to discourage you from a DIY approach to your business.
A DIY website builder might be a good idea if:
- Your site is simple, with one or very few pages.
- You don’t expect your site to grow, either in size or functionality.
- You’re comfortable with page layout and building a site yourself.
- You want to test a single product or campaign without connecting it to your business
A professional website is a better investment if:
- You want your site professionally created following industry leading branding and communication practices.
- You want ownership of your site and its layout.
- You have specific functionality you would like on your site, such as a directory, portfolio listings, or design elements.
- You want your site to be uniquely tailored to you and your business.
Want a Quote on a Website?
That’s exactly what we do, and we’re happy to help! We’re also not going to upsell you on things you don’t need. Contact us for a quote. We provide start-to-finish quotes so there’s no sticker shock or surprises along the way.
Really want the freedom to build your site on your own? We can also set your site up with a WordPress layout for complete ownership and customization, giving you the opportunity to develop your site on your own while leveraging our resources (without using a DIY website builder).