Answer: potentially nothing, but there are some things to be mindful of.
A tale we’ve heard a few times from creative agencies is that they have previously used website builder tools – sites like Wix, Squarespace, or Webflow – to build a website for their clients in lieu of a bespoke website and have asked us our opinions on that. So, here they are.
So first up, we think the website builder platforms are generally fantastic for a lot of people. We throw no shade their way at all. The support and service are really good and they’ve got a load of clever stuff going on under the hood.
If you’re a creative agency and using website builders works well for you, your client, and their audience then we honestly have no reason to interfere with that or step on your toes. So you do you, absolutely.
We’ve also come across designers and agencies where at least one of these four things happens. Perhaps one or two of these are familiar to you:
The website builder doesn’t offer you the design flexibility you wish for
It’s still a great platform, but your creative vision is hampered by it somewhat, and you want to really let fly without having to mould your website designs to what can and can’t be done in your chosen platform.
Your website builder might not provide the sort of functionality your clients need from their website either
They are generally great for static content, but if a client needs something more sophisticated from a functionality perspective it may not be possible.
You’ve got better things to do
Sometimes folks just want to focus on what they enjoy and are great at (i.e designing) and leave the dev side to other people who enjoy and are great at that instead.
The shelf-life of sites created using website builders isn’t up to scratch
It may be everything a client needs when the site first launches, but can’t keep up with the business’s growth, and it becomes more cost-effective to invest in a bespoke site that will last longer and be easier to expand alongside the business.
If one of those four things feels at all familiar we’d like to think that’s where we come in. Building a bespoke website can overcome all these challenges and more.
Now, we know what you’re thinking – a bespoke website sounds expensive. The website builders do have a relatively small fee associated with them – generally around £15 a month, though they all have different tiers – Squarespace’s advanced commerce tier is double that for example. However, this doesn’t include the time costs associated with actually putting together the site together by an in-house designer, which could be significant, especially if it isn’t their forte and it’s at the expense of other work they’d be better suited for.
You’d definitely get more mileage out of a bespoke build too. We’ve built bespoke websites to replace outgrown builder sites a few times. Often this happens after a year or two of the original site launching – long enough for the rationale to rebuild to be unpredictable when planning the original site, but still not long enough to see a decent return on investment.
Most importantly though, we’ll be able to create a site that is exactly as you, your client, and their audience require. No need to change designs and directions to suit what can and can’t be done in the website builder platform. We find that this is where the true value lies.