Wednesday, 01 July 2015

The trap of off-the-shelf websites

There's great growth in off-the-shelf websites and they've only gone from strength to strength in these last few years. But it comes with hidden troubles.

When you're creating a website you do more than add a little content and hope people drop by. You're saying something about your brand. Whether you're an individual or a company your online presence says a lot about who you are and and what values you have.

Off-the-shelf website providers like Wix and Squarespace can be wonderful in giving people without web savvy a platform on which to create something. Nice clean sites for photographers, portfolios, blogs. Even Wordpress goes some way to this with their free and paid for themes. The problem is that by opting for one of these solutions you're not conveying yourself in your design or delivery. You're going for a rough approximation of what you want and too many times people fudge the layout with text embedded into images. Which is bad. Obviously.

A web development process (which isn't has painful as it sounds) can give you a much greater insight into your own company than you might think. There hasn't been a single planning session in my professional life where I haven't seen someone further strengthen their brand and come to some conclusions about what's important to them.

By punting for a pre-made solution you're missing out on all that goodness.

The big challenge people face is often price. But what they fail to realise is that by having a simple conversation for an hour with someone they can get closer to what they actually need. And save money in the long-run by not having to redo everything.

If you genuinely need a website for something simple and personal then definitely go for Wix, Wordpress or Squarespace. But if you're running a business, starting up, or launching a new site then consult with an expert first.

If you can't be bothered with your own upkeep then why should someone else trust you?