Websites equal engagement in modern business. They’re a means for businesses to connect with their customers, attract new visitors, and convert these site visits into qualified leads.
Does it make sense for your business to use a professional web service, or can you get by with Wix or Squarespace?
It is a well-known fact that professional web design agencies are expensive. Enlisting the services of a professional agency could easily cost several thousand dollars.
Website Builders (like Wix and Squarespace) are applications that allow you to create a complete website from customizable templates. They’re inexpensive, sometimes even free, and don’t require any coding or design knowledge.
The decision to choose an agency vs Wix vs Squarespace depends on several factors. These factors include project budget, business goals, web functionality, business and client needs, and more.
When would you choose one instead of the other? Why would you spend tons of money contracting a development agency when you could build your website for nearly nothing? Are you get ripped off with an agency, or under served with free Website Builders?
In this article, we’ll look at both options. We will examine Wix vs Squarespace as representative DIY Website Builders (but there’s lots more out there). We will compare them to Collide Digital, a web development agency, to help you determine what’s best for you.
What are Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Website Builders?
Website Builders like Wix and Squarespace are designed to be used by people with minimal design skills. Rather than go through the entire process of web design, users can create functioning web-pages from available templates and presets.
Templates and presets eliminate the need to learn complex coding and structuring languages. DIY Website Builders are appropriate for individuals and small companies that do not require extensive programming on their websites.
Who are Web Development Agencies?
Web Development agencies are comprised of staff members who are formally trained and experienced in designing and coding websites.
With professional knowledge onboard, these agencies perform more than just web page layouts. Agencies provide bespoke designs to their clients, enhance their search engine rankings, and make them stand out from their competition.
Web agencies also facilitate the interaction between brands and their audience, helping to build customer relationships. Staff at good web agencies make a point to understand the business and its clientele. Then they tailor the website and strategy to improve sales and convert traffic.
So, Who Needs a Web Development Agency?
Web Builders offer tons of advantages: they are easy to use, quick, and they’re much cheaper than an agency. We’ve also seen that websites created by an agency are always more professional, optimized, and guaranteed to bring in conversions.
So, who would benefit from hiring a web agency, and who is better off building a website from templates? In this section, we explain which options individuals and businesses should go for. Ultimately the right choice for you depends on the nature of your business, and on your goals for the future.
Who ShouldUse Web Builders?
Despite the apparent advantages, web design agencies are not for everybody. In many instances, the costs are just too high for a small business to justify. In this case, a DIY Web Builder is probably your best option.
Smaller companies with small revenues should use web builders, due to their pocket-friendly cost structure. Web builders are also good for sole owner businesses, hobbyists, bloggers, new businesses, unfunded startups, unproven concepts, and non-profit organizations.
Who Should Hire Web Designers?
Web design agencies are expensive for a good reason: they produce better results. They are professional, and focus on designs that generate leads. A rule of thumb when hiring web designers is that the service should pay for itself. It this case, you site needs to pay for itself through revenue generated from traffic conversion.
If you are in an industry where most transactions come from online searches, then a professionally designed site is a must. Penny pinching on web development now can cost you money later in lost conversion and missed sales. Worse, it can drive traffic towards your competitors with more user friendly websites.
High transaction value businesses (like real estate or car dealerships) also need pro websites. The high transaction fees these businesses generate can easily cover the cost of web development. And a client with a big ticket purchase expects more from a seller than just a free template for a website.
Professionally designed websites are also a good choice for businesses in more advanced stages in growth. For a sole proprietorship making over $150,000 annually, a professional website is a wise investment. For businesses, a good threshold is $250,000 in annual revenue before you really need to look for a professional.
Web Builder or Designer? Advantages and Disadvantages
We have explained these two options, and determined who should use which one. In this final part, we are going to outline the advantages and drawbacks of using each method.
The main advantage of DIY Web Builders is the cost. From as low as $10 per month, you can get a very good looking website, albeit one with limited functionality. It is also agile, since the site can go live within a day. In most modern Web Builders the presets and templates are very well designed, giving your website a sleek, modern feel.
The biggest disadvantage of web builders the lack of professional design. You’re not paying for someone with expertise in marketing and conversion strategy, so you won’t get it. Sites made using these templates are also painstakingly generic. Most Builders use similar templates for multiple projects, so your site will only be so unique.
Most Web Builders also offer terribly inadequate Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools. This torpedos your ranking and leads to a loss of potential sales. It’a also really frustrating when trying to tweak the rigid backend of these templates to allow for proper SEO later. If you plan to grow your site, keep this in mind.
Using a professional web design agency offers a host of benefits. You’ll get a professionally designed website because you’re working with people who understand colors, fonts, balance, and design best practices. You can’t beat a professional designer for a unique and original website. Unlike basic templates, web designers can structure your site to maximize conversions, leading to more engagement and higher sales.
Professional design agencies also offer ongoing support, meaning your concerns are always addressed. Most importantly, by outsourcing web design you save time, which you can then use for productive aspects of your business.
There are two main disadvantages to using professional developers: cost and quality/ property issues.
Startup costs are higher with professional developers vs Wix vs Squarespace. Worse, some web agencies have complex pricing and payment plans, which can make it challenging to estimate and control costs.
With so many agencies to choose from, levels of professionalism and ability vary. With certain agencies, you may even run into intellectual property issues later. Having a clear contract and maintaining good communication can go a long way towards solving problems before they start.
The decision to go with a web designer or a web builder depends on the risks and rewards.
As creative as it can be, building a website is still a commercial undertaking. The spending has to be justified by how much business can be realized from the website.
Smaller companies with lower revenues can get away with using web builders as they create a digital footprint. Larger companies should go with professional agencies as they try to optimize their web presence, improve engagement and increase lead conversion.