Squarespace template on a iMac

Choose The Best: Custom Website vs Wix vs Squarespace

Web design is important and every business needs a website. This has been true since Y2K and the importance of internet presence is greater than ever. There are many different ways to create a company, brand, or purpose-built website. The traditional way to bring a website into existence is to hire a web developer to make a custom, professional-quality website. At the same time, DIY web design toolkits like Wix and SquareSpace offer low-budget platforms for brands to build their own websites.

So why do some brands pay for custom development when these free and low-cost DIY tools are available? It’s a reasonable contemplation. The key to understanding is to consider the differing results and experiences. Commissioning a website is a very different business decision from building one through a DIY platform. Why might you choose a custom site instead of DIY-ing?

the process of web design with desktop and tablet

To Save Time

Making your own website is a great learning experience. It’s a good entry-level option for startups who have more time than capital. But it does take time.

It takes time to learn the process of buying a domain, purchasing hosting, and learning the CMS platform like Wix or SquareSpace. It takes more time to start from a simple website template and build out your custom business site. That’s your time or the time of an assigned team on the payroll. It takes time to design and/or collect all the assets, to build each page of the site, then test for every possible device resolution.

Many people just don’t want to invest the time to learn and implement the multi-stage process of building a DIY website. Your time may be more valuable spent on other work or personal time instead of pouring hours into a handmade website. Why not hire a pro to make it on their time instead?

To Achieve Competitive Quality

DIY websites are approachable and many people could make the website if they cared to. But we’re also aware that a first try is never the best quality possible. And your business website is not a project to be trifled with. Many business owners and marketing directors know that a professional-quality competitive website is not going to be the result of their first try with a DIY website kit.

You absolutely could make a website on your own, but it may be worth far more to pay someone with the skills to make a competitive-quality website. The professional website will include a clean, cutting-edge website design, a honed user interface, and built-in SEO. This is an important consideration for any brand to make. In many cases, it’s a better value decision to invest in a competitive website early and reap the benefits with that as your online foundation.

To Avoid Rookie Mistakes

It’s also normal to be acutely aware of rookie mistakes. First-time developers almost universally make a few mistakes, though not always the same ones. You can statistically guarantee that the first try at DIY web design will include a few bugs or accidental exclusions. While these mistakes can be minuscule and harmless, they can also potentially become the source of customer problems or security breaches.

It’s normal to look at DIY website development with concern. Anyone worried about DIY mistakes can rely on professional developers to make sure those rookie mistakes don’t happen. Experienced web devs know both the common rookie mistakes and keep up with new best practices for the latest web design trends. It’s easier to ensure results when hiring a professional.

For Better ROI

Then there’s the question of value for time. Who is available to DIY the website, and would their time be more valuable spend on other pursuits? Combined with the opportunity cost of a longer development cycle, the ROI for self-development may not be as good as it seems on the surface. DIY websites require a lot of hours, which is a good ROI for startups but not so great ROI for businesses with revenue to invest in a professional website.

The hours spent on a DIY website might be more valuably spent on tasks for the business and efforts to increase sales. You might not have someone to spare and outsourcing is more cost-effective than adding someone to the payroll. You might be calculating for opportunity cost, both for the value of the new website and the speed of development.

DIY is only cost-effective when the ROI is right. And if ROI points to professional outsourcing, then outsource for the sake of your revenue)

For Personal Convenience

Sometimes, commissioning a website is a matter of convenience. Business owners and marketing directors often have a lot on their plate. Even if you have the skills and the time to DIY a website, a hand-made site might not be high on your priorities. With a long to-do list and the need for a high-quality website to be completed, it often makes sense to hire a professional instead of tackling the project yourself.

Commissioning a website ensures that you’ll have a smooth, functional site built on best practices within a predictable span of time. This provides peace of mind and can allow business owners to focus on the other essential elements of running the business.

Why Pay for a Website When You Can DIY?

Ask yourself…

  • Why do you pay someone to fix your car instead of watching a youtube how-to, buy the tools and parts and do it yourself?
  • Why do you go to a barber to have your hair cut instead of cutting it yourself?
  • Why do you order a pizza at night instead of buying the ingredients and do it on your own?

The reasons to commission a website instead of building one through a platform are myriad. There are many things we do for convenience, and many times we hire a professional to ensure quality. In business, where time is money, the convenience of a hired website could make a huge difference in revenue. A website without flaws, that follows all best practices, that is secure without gaps, that is finished on time will do more for your business than the up-front cost savings of a DIY solution.

Not everyone has the time. Not everyone has an eye for web design. Most people haven’t built dozens of websites or keep up with the latest design trends. When you need to build trust with your website, a professional developer ensures the quality and performance that your business requires.

You can always choose to build a DIY website. Just be sure to weigh the ROI against commissioning a professional website instead.