You need a small web project built and you’re wondering what’s the best way to go about doing it. There are so many options! You could hire a company like us to do it, or you could do it yourself at a place like Squarespace or Wix. Building it yourself in WordPress is a good option too.
If your needs grow, this simple route may not end up being as free or cheap as they seem.
Here are some things to be aware of before you make the decision:
Squarespace, Wix and other services will provide you with a website you can put together yourself. But you get less design options and less features. If you see a template that is perfect for your business – great, maybe that will be good enough for your five page site. But if you’re hoping to rearrange the elements on the page, create a custom look, or add a feature (can we have a small contact form on the sidebar? can we have a different style of slider?), typically the answer will be NO. Not possible on this system. If you ever need some additional features not available, your only option is to rebuild the site on a different system.
Also, if you ever want to leave Squarespace or Wix, you can’t move the site. Its a proprietary system, and there is no other service provider you can move it to. The best thing you can do is copy / paste your content page by page into a completely rebuilt site.
Wordpress doesn’t have this migration problem. As one of the most popular web building tools in the world, there are many hosts who can serve up the site (some better than others). If you get sick of GoDaddy as your host, you can always backup the site and move it to lightningbase.com or wpcloud.ca, or wherever else you like.
On the design site, there are thousands of pre-made templates or ‘themes’ available for WordPress. With some hunting around, you should be able to find something that will work for your small site. But before you go a grab a free theme and install it, pause for a moment as you may run into similar issues just like the proprietary services. If you find a theme that does exactly what you want, great! But many off the shelf themes will let you only control a very limited number of items. We’re back at square one again. If you want to rearrange things, or add certain features, you may be stuck.
Often times we’re asked to go into a client site with a pre-made theme and make design changes to it. The thing about themes is that they are developed by thousands of people all over the world, who each have their own way of programming a theme. By the time we go into the site, figure out how its built and what is where – we could have just built what the client wanted from scratch. If a themes is what you want (or can afford) find the theme that does EXACTLY what you need. We find spending money editing a theme can get expensive quickly.
Templates, and pre-made solutions are nice. We all wish they would do exactly what we wanted. But if you have a growing site, with needs that evolve, you’ll be much better served to take the long way around, and get the site designed from scratch.