There are more and more options available to those of us who need a website, the newest options promise an “easy” process with great results. But what is the truth? Should you use Wix or Squarespace instead of hiring a professional web developer?
The truth is that most businesses will end up hiring a professional at some point. This can be hard to imagine when we start out, often with low funds and a small business that we can’t imagine growing into an empire. We have seen it for ourselves, though, over and over, where people have signed up with Wix thinking it’ll “do the job” only to find their business grows and they outgrow the platform.
On the other hand, we entirely understand what it is like to be at the point where you struggle to justify the cost of a fully professionally built website just to get your name out there. We get it, honestly, we’ve been there. So we are not going to say that you shouldn’t go this route, but we are going to give you some pointers to make sure you don’t run into the issues that our clients have run into over the years.
Do you own your stuff?
This is so important and so often overlooked when people sign up for a new website with one of these providers. One of the worst experiences we had was where a client built a website with vistaprint, who then charged a significant admin fee to give them back their domain!
Check the fine print, make sure your stuff belongs to you and that there aren’t any catches.
Can you make a quick getaway?
Don’t assume that signing up for wix or square space means you will stay with them indefinitely. There’s a reason most businesses have their site built on WordPress and even within the set of people who sign up for the alternatives most migrate to WordPress at some point.
If you sign up with VistaPrint they will lock you in and try to keep you.
If you sign up with Wix there is no tool to migrate to any other platform.
If you sign up with Squarespace they provide a tool to migrate to WordPress when you are ready to upscale. This means you can export all of your content directly to a WordPress site, which will significantly reduce the time and financial cost of the move.
Does it make your site slow and clunky?
Some methods of building a website are better than others. Your customers will thank you for a fast site, Google will reward you for a site that loads fast. So a light and speedy site is a must. Some website building tools add lots of unnecessary “bloat” to your site, making it heavy and slow. With WordPress this can be avoided easily, assuming you know what you are doing!
Are there hidden costs?
WordPress costs as much as a domain and some hosting, the actual platform is open source and free. Most functionality can be added for free. We would, naturally, recommend hiring an expert to help with your build but it is possible to build a reasonably good website with WordPress as a complete amateur.
With most of the website building tools out there, they offer “free” or cheap until you need extra functionality. For example, most charge extra to have your website load at your own domain, which is essential for a business site.
Check out ALL the costs before committing to a platform, don’t be caught out by unexpected costs.
Can you get help when you need it?
Because WordPress is open source, free, and used by the vast majority of websites in the world there is almost too much information, resource and support available on using it.
The WordPress forums themselves are a great source of information, but there are also lots of other people online happy to share their expertise and often for free.
With some of the other options, you will be limited to the proprietary support. Web developers will be unlikely to have used Wix very much so you will be restricted to the help available from Wix. Which means that if you are unable to resolve an issue yourself you may find yourself “stuck”. On the other hand, if you use WordPress to build a site and run into problems you will be able to quite easily find a developer who can help you fix them.
So what do we recommend?
We are asking you to think carefully about your decision when building your first website, bear in mind the points above and choose wisely.
Our recommendation would be WordPress, if you can stretch to paying for hosting. If you are not at that point just yet we would suggest you check out Squarespace as it provides assistance for the natural evolution to WordPress in the future.
But first, contact us and see if a Coppertops website is as expensive as you think. We make sure our websites are optimised to promote and sell your business, so we provide more than simply the technical knowledge involved in web development. And handing this task over to us will mean you can focus on building your business and creating that empire.