Sites like Wix and Squarespace are quite popular. These site-in-a-box systems allow you to easily create a beautiful and professional looking web site without any technical knowledge at all. For a basic situation this might be all that you need, but when you start to really site down and think about all the things you might want your web site to do, it gets a bit more complicated.
A well-chosen professional web development team brings a lot of things to the table. They do a lot more than just helping you to create a site that looks good and will have some basic functionality. I found the following meme image on Reddit and it illustrates the point quite succinctly.
Most small businesses employ some kind of accountant at some level. You might opt to do your own books, but when it comes to tax time, you know that bringing in a professional will help make sure you give the government what’s owed them, but keep the rest for yourself.
Professionals Know Things That You Don’t
A professional web development team might seem expensive at first glance, but their expertise should always bring a certain return on investment over time. They know how to not only make something that looks good, but that will help persuade your visitors to take the actions you want them to take. Because of their expertise in the areas they are working in, they can usually execute more quickly than you can as well. I might charge $150 for the hour of work needed to make your web site perform a specific task, but for you to make your site do the same thing it might take you ten or more hours to accomplish. So, my $150 works out to $15 an hour of your time – which is (or soon will be) minimum wage in many states.
The more skilled your team, the more efficient they will be. A skilled team is also going to be better at measuring your success (or failure), too. If you are monitoring traffic on your home made web site (or even a professionally built one on which you don’t have an ongoing plan with the team) it might seem great that you’re getting a hundred visitors per day. If those visitors aren’t converting, though, is it really that great? And if it’s not that great, do you know what needs to be adjusted in order to make it great?
Other Limitations of a Site-In-A-Box
If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it again?
The build-your-own-site companies can be pretty good at doing what they do, but you are always limited to only being able to do what they do. If you want to add some other useful functionality or feature, your efforts might be hindered.
One such example would be doing a proper SEO (Search Engine Optimization) campaign. These systems usually have some decent basic functionality like being able to add titles and meta descriptions, having some control over your link attributes, and other things – but when you want to step it up and get into advanced SEO techniques, some things simply aren’t possible within the confines of the system.
This type of site can also sometimes be difficult to scale. (Scaling is a word we techie nerds use which basically means “to grow over time.”) What may suit your needs and objectives today might be difficult to implement later. This is why, when I first start talking with a new client, I not only try to understand what their current goals and objectives are, but also where they see themselves going in the future. By understanding where you want to be later, I can often lay down a bit of groundwork or tackle another objective slightly differently to make it so that future functionality or goal is easier to set up and achieve.
So, while a Wix/Squarespace type solution might save you some money today, it’s really only deferring the cost, not eliminating it. When you want to move up to the next level, or when you simply want to improve the site’s ability to generate revenue/leads or whatever you want – you simply may be forced to start over again to make that happen.