So a long-time client of mine decided to switch to Squarespace a while ago. At first I was inclined to write a post on what SquareSpace lacks in how it is better to stick with a website design agency or freelancer instead. I thought “How dare they” and “Here we go” referring to a larger corporation stealing clients from the little guy. I have heard it all over place lately, on Podcasts and in discussion forums about the future of the web. Many people believe the trend is bending in the direction of easy to use Do-It-Yourself website builder companies like Webly, SquareSpace, and the Grid. Gone will be the days of the Freelance web designer and small agency. This DIY approach is now a way of life. Why hire someone when you can just do it yourself? Broken dishwasher? There’s a Youtube video on how to fix it. Want a new deck? Follow these simple online instructions. Plane tickets? No more travel agent needed just book them yourself. Need a website for free? Web.com (You’ve maybe seen the commercial). So is it the trend that my job and web agency to be obsolete in the next 10 years? I believe not.
Your Time is Your Money
After some thought following the loss of this client to SquareSpace, I realized that this decision comes down to time and money. Being that time is money, we can just say it comes down to money. There is a simple formula to find out if you should hire a web design company or just build the website yourself. If you are making more per hour than you pay your web agency per hour to build a website then you are losing money taking the time to do this yourself. Your time is money and it still takes a lot of time to build a proper website the way you want it using an online website builder. You need to sit down and learn the SquareSpace dashboard then take the tutorials on how to do it right all while gathering your content and images to finally build it. All this time you spend building the site can be spent working on the business you are building it for. All this time spent doing-it-yourself, you could hire a professional that can offer valuable feedback on layout and usability.
The money you make relies on your website.
More often than not, much of the money made in small business, relies on website performance. If you plan to sell product or expect business to find you through search, then the DIY approach will most defiantly NOT give you the advantage. If you rely on your website to make a conversion such as a contact through the site or a sale, you will lose money if you do not have a good landing page. Now this is not the case for people that have a website only for the reason of reference and identity. A good example of this is an online resume or portfolio website. For people wanting to build these types of sites and that have the time, SquareSpace is a great option. This leads me to believe that SquareSpace and the other web builders do help but giving people a website for very little money that would of never afforded to hire a web developer. It only expands the web to more people.
Just another tool for the same end result (Almost).
Most websites today are built on some sort of framework. A majority of sites we build are built using WordPress for the sole fact that it allows the client to easily update the site without having to contact another party to do so. WordPress websites place well in search and make it easy to post your weekly blogs. Other developers use Joomla, Dupral, and tons of E-commerce frameworks or content management systems (CMS). SquareSpace essentially is the same thing. A content management system that uses templates to create a website. There are actually quite a few so called “Web Designers” that use SquareSpace to build client’s websites. The only difference is that you can tell when someone has done it themselves. The site looks like a template. It screams “Squarespace!” or “Godaddy Page Builder!”.
There is a place for SquareSpace and if you have the time to learn the process and become a web designer, it may be right for you. Most people in the end will have wished they just paid a design company the money to accomplish this. We currently take on more clients that are unhappy with their online website builder than loose them to it. It is for this reason we believe the web designer is here to stay.