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When to Use Wix/Squarespace and When to Hire an Expert


top us if you’ve seen one of these ads before…

DIY website platforms like Wix and Squarespace have seemingly taken over the internet. Whether it’s an ad like this or another like it, it would appear we can all say goodbye to web designers, developers and agencies and we can all build our own sites now. Shoot, Karlie Kloss built hers without even looking at her screen.

Even better, signing up for one of these DIY platforms only costs something like $20 a month. That’s a steep discount from quotes you’ve probably received from web design agencies which probably range anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000.

Decision made, slam dunk, why are we even still writing this pointless article?

Well, like everything on this planet (except for one size fits all caps and croqs) Wix and Squarespace is not right for everyone. In this article, we’ll try to cover all the questions you should ask yourself to help decide if you should use Wix, Squarespace, or hire a web agency.

Question #1: What are Wix and Squarespace?

Wix and Squarespace are what are known as closed source platforms. While I’m sure we’ll write a more indepth article about this in the future and {link it here}, simply put it means they own the underlying code to your website and customization is limited to what they’ll allow you to do. This sounds a little more harsh than it really is, but important to understand nonetheless.

Wordpress by contrast is what is known as an open source platform. You own the underlying code and customization is limited only by your imagination and or developers abilities.

What this all means in real estate terms

Wix and Squarespace websites are like renting an apartment. There are tons of others just like it, great in the short term and easy to move into. However, in order to own a dog or start cooking meth you’ll need to have your landlord's permission. Also when you decide to move, you’re not allowed to take the apartment with you. That stays.

Wordpress websites are like buying and owning a house. More expensive initially, but if you plan to live in it for a long time and have a specific vision in mind a much better investment. If you wanted to tear down walls or paint the exterior bright pink, the only thing stopping you would be your level of discomfort with disapproving stares from your neighbors. 

Simply put: Hiring an agency allows for customization and better long term solutions, Wix and SquareSpace sacrifice both for the sake of convenience. 

Question #2: How Big Is Your Business?

Are you a local mom and pop shop? A fortune 500 company? Have you been around for a long time, are you just starting out? 

Small and Just Starting Out

If you’re just starting out, building a quick, clean and temporary website through Wix or Squarespace is not a bad way to go. Especially if you’re on a tight budget riding that “I’m gonna finally gonna start that business” high.

Putting your own website together and getting your name out there can serve as a great exercise in defining your business and discovering your brands voice. Stakes are low and through trial and error you’ll be glad you worked out the kinks on your own time early as opposed to an agency that’ll cost you.

Remember though, as your company grows, don’t expect your template site to grow with you. What you gain in simplicity of use with Wix and Squarespace you lose in customization and expansion down the line.

Big and Been Around for the Block for a While

If you’re a bigger company that’s been around for a while, you should definitely be hiring an actual web design agency.

While $4,000 is never fun to cough up, it’s an investment that should save you lots of time and headache. Unlike a smaller company who’s just starting out, you don’t have the luxury of trial and error. You’ve probably built up a certain level of brand recognition in your market and monthly traffic to your existing site. Hiring the right web design teams means hiring the piece of mind and knowing your website will be built right and will last for years to come.

Question #3: How Important is Your Website to Your Business?

Are you running an eCommerce business? What percentage of your revenue or leads are generated from your website? Do you rely more on referrals than your web presence?

In our early days as an agency, we received an RFP from an optometrist with the vision (pun intended) to build a website that could perform eye exams automatically online. Think about that for a second, a website that would literally do their entire job for them. Being that we loved the idea and were desperate for clients, we bid a painfully low amount too embarrassing to post here. Their response? They loved our ideas but felt our price was too high… an eye doctor, automating his only job on this earth wasn’t willing to pay the equivalent of a used 1994 Toyota Corolla.

While we may just still be bitter, the point of the matter is there are times to cut corners and costs and there are times to not. If you are a fashion brand selling designer products online, a professional services provider or just a lazy optometrist, you should hire a web agency. If you’re selling $10 sunglasses on Amazon or the only dentist in a small town, Wix or Squarespace should do the trick.

Question #4: How “Hip” and Tech Savvy Is Your Target Market?

It’s lunchtime, are your prospective clients on the hunt for the nearest Sizzler or gluten free avocado toast?

It may sound obvious, but the younger your target audience is the more exposure they have to the finer things the internet has to offer. In a world where attention is currency, your website is being compared with Yedi and Patagonia websites. How well does your site need to catch their attention and impress?

Squarespace likes to call their templates “stunning”, but they’re really just nice. Without the ability to customize or add animations, what you really get is a static website that can showcase photos well.

So while yes, your site will not look bad, it is going to look very cookie cutter. Nothing that’s going to showcase the things that make you and your business unique.

So if you’re a wills and trusts attorney who sponsors a bingo night at an old folks home, you’ve got it made in the shade. One of these Squarespace templates should do just fine. If you’re just about anything else, you might want to hire a web agency.

Question #4: How Saturated is Your Market?

While there’s a lot of truth behind this Squarespace ad, there’s also a lot of irony too.

The need to stand out is very different depending on what you sell. If you’re selling ethernet surveillance network transceivers (shout out to my first job out of college), you win. No one else is selling that, congratulations. Go Wix your heart out, you’ve earned it.

For everyone else, let’s Good Will Hunting these apples with some math… deep inhale

Wix currently touts that they have 110 million users on their platform. That’s a whole lotta users. Wix also states that they have about 500 templates that you can choose from. That means, for every template you could possibly choose from on their platform, 220,000 other people are also using that same template. And by using the transitive property (ayy, math.) that means if you're using a website builder, even after adding in your own content your website is still going to look very similar to hundreds of thousands of other websites. If you're trying to differentiate your brand from your competition, this is not a good look.

In Conclusion...

We hope this article has helped to shed some light on your decision. If you have any other questions or are still on the fence, feel free to reach out. While we are technically a biased web agency, we don’t believe we’re the right fit for everyone and as we hope we’ve made clear believe there are instances where Wix and Squarespace should do the trick.

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