In recent years, there are many different web design platforms such as Squarespace, WIX, Shopify, and many more. And all these generally offer same thing. An advanced template to create a website easy, fast, and cheap! And who doesn’t like that?
Traditionally, a web design cost about $1,000. You can go to Craigslist and find college student to do it for $500 but general web development / design cost starts at around $1,000 and $2,000 for E-Commerce websites. (Check out our pricing and link to competitors) So when Spuarespace.com offers up to 25 products for only $18/month (or $29/month for Shopify), why wouldn’t anyone be interested? I definitely would be.
How are making your site through web designer & these Web Design Platforms different?
To be frank, it’s very similar. They all contain texts, images, and system you can manage content (CMS). They all typically come with SEO setup. The main difference is that with Web Design Platform, you’re expected to do all the work to make it look nice while with a designer, you can expect to get a site that looks nice without lifting a finger. When a designer build you a site using CMS (content management software) like WordPress or Drupal, you’ll essentially getting similar CMS capability where you can do minor updates using your login credentials.
Then, why are you trying to charge $1,000 ~ $2,000 for a website?
Simplest answer is that you’re paying for labor cost. $18 or $29/month you pay for those services is similar to cost of running server and services for your site. When you create a website, half of the work is doing content management and styling to make it look good. When you use web design platforms, you’re doing all these work yourself. And these platforms are typically only provide limited capabilities to ensure minimum amount of tweak is needed to make it look decent. When you start building these sites, be sure to have plenty of time available to spend on your website. Because you’ll be spending hours at a time trying to position pictures right way and edit little and there to make it look good and balanced.
How do web design platforms (Squarespace & Shopify) make $$?
They are doing mass hosting at lost cost so your monthly fee is their main income for maintenance and expenses. And they would profit from any additional services you’ll realize that you need once you start building the site. For example, if you need extra products on your site, you’ll need to upgrade. Or if you want specific look or want to get their premium themes, there’s extra cost to it. And without doubt, they’ll continue to develop their ‘premium options’ in order to entice you to upgrade and spend more on your site.
Long story short, they operate in ‘Minimum to start, More $$ to make it perfect’ style billing while most web design/development work is based on ‘Pay up front & minimum to maintain’ style billing.
What’s the real difference than? Advantage/Disadvantage of using web designer or Squarespace/Shopify?
There are two main differences/Disadvantage of using Web Design Tools.
1. With Web Design Platform, you do NOT own your site. Meaning if you ever decide to move to another platform or CMS like WordPress, it’s Good Luck coping and pasting! This also means you’re bound by whatever they offer and their terms and pricing at all times. It’s very unlikely that they’ll decide to increase price by 10 times next year but if they do decide to do it, there’s not much you can do. They may offer migration tools at cost but I’d think that’s counterproductive for them to offer such tools even at cost. But when you design your site with a Web Designer, WordPress installation, for example is completely yours. And you can move it to anywhere, anytime because entire installation including all codes are your property to do whatever you’d like, a flexibility you do not have with platform services.
2. Someone to call when things go south. When you have an issue with a site you paid for, you know who built it and who to ask questions when you need help. And if there’s an issue you can’t resolve, you know who can help you. With Web Design Platform, you do NOT have such luxury… simply because YOU are the one who created the site = you are responsible for it. Now, it’s natural for these companies to offer paid support service if they don’t already, but that’s like calling a call center for your ‘customized site’. And typically their help will go as far as, ‘Everything look good on our end’, please reset, delete, or fix your page unless you pay for ‘premium support tier’ which helps you customize and work with changes you made.
So… which route would you recommend?
Depends on your need. If you want something cheap or if you’re a startup with $0 budget for website, you want to go with web design platforms because no web designer can ever beat that. (Although, I had some people asking if I would) But if you want your website done without spending hours in front of the computer, and get it done professionally, you might want to spending some money up front for it. As the old saying goes ‘You get what you pay for’ and that rarely change. When you work with WebVillage, for example, we become your partner in all your online marketing need. And we’ll offer not only free consultation on any related topics, but work with you to make sure your site is always updated and working, giving you a peace of mind.
We also offer third option!
What if you can have low cost, flexibility + ownership of your own WordPress? Our Express Package is designed to do just that. Check out full details here!
At the end of the day, you have to choose what’s the right path for you. Good luck!