Historically, for businesses in need of a new website, it can feel like there are only two basic options available:
Option A: Get a budget website on a short turnaround by using one of the DIY website builders like Squarespace, Wix or Weebly, and settle for generic, pre-fabricated templates and limited functionality.
Option B: Hire an agency to design and build a custom website that meets your specific needs — complete with a higher price tag and longer development timeline.
For many people, the idea of the low-cost, quick-build website found in Option A is very enticing on paper. Why hire a professional website developer when you can create your own for next to nothing?
In fact, for some businesses, these ready-to-go websites are perfectly okay as a short-term solution. If all you need is a homepage, about page, contact page and maybe a blog — and you need it done really fast and super cheap (around $10/mo) — these are your best bets. (For a comparison of the top DIY website builders in 2019, head here.)
Over time, however, these sites fail to live up to the needs of growing businesses. The shortcomings are many, but here are a few of the big ones:
You’ll have limited design features. What you’re getting in convenience, you’re giving up in flexibility with your design. For example, you can edit basic elements like color and font, but more substantial updates like changing page layouts end up being cumbersome, time-consuming tasks.
You’re using the same templates as everyone and their grandma. Your website is the first impression for many people learning about your company. The fact is, there are a ton of websites out there built with these services; when you’re using the same, generic out-of-the-box templates as all of these people, you’ll have a much harder time standing out.
You’re stuck with limited technical functionality. When you use a DIY builder, you only have so many tools and add-ons to choose from. A professionally built site, on the other hand, allows for seamless integrations with a much broader range of tools and software – including more advance analytics and SEO tools to help you track visibility, ranking and engagement.
Put simply, for growing businesses that need to use their website as an effective sales and marketing tool that will generate ROI, these website builders don’t fit the bill.
A Third Option
Now, we’ve been doing this for a long time, and it’s become apparent that there are businesses that would really benefit from having a third option somewhere in between A and B.
These businesses have needs for branding and functionality that go beyond what the DIY builders are able to offer, but they also don’t need a vast website with lots of different templates or a bunch of advanced custom development like e-commerce or interactive design.
Essentially, they’re looking for an agency-level product at a cost-effective budget and the quickest possible turnaround time.
Charlie is the Chief Strategy Officer at Simple Machines Marketing. When he's not doing the marketing, he likes playing guitar, hanging with his family in Chicago and lots of other stuff too but this seems like a good amount for a blog bio.