Let’s be honest, it’s 2023 – if you have a business, you need a website. Web designers, developers, and firms offer customized services, while companies like Squarespace and Wix are also making it possible for people to build their own website.
There are many benefits to using a website like Squarespace to help you customize your very own website so, you might ask: why hire a web designer? We’re taking you through the many pros and cons of using Squarespace vs. hiring a web designer. There’s no wrong decision, but there’s one clear winner for every individual, and we’re here to help you make an informed decision.
Design, Customization and Layouts
Squarespace and Wix: Pre-built layouts
Squarespace and Wix come with pre-loaded templates that you can choose for your website. They’re solid options for simple sites and local businesses that want to keep a minimal presence online, almost like an online business card. While Squarespace allows for a little customization, your creativity is limited to their pre-built templates. Plus, you (or an employee) will be the one dragging and dropping virtual blocks around to customize your website. Since these pre-built layouts are also shared by everyone else working in Squarespace, your website will likely end up looking similar to many other websites on the platform.
Pros of using page builders
- Pre-loaded templates
- Easy to create bare-boned websites
- Great “online business card”
Cons of using page builders
- Limited to the template
- Do it yourself (i.e. takes time)
- Won’t stand out from the crowd
- Mobile optimization challenging
The Bottom Line: Page builders like Squarespace and Wix are good bets for anyone who needs a quick-and-easy landing page or online business card. While the templates look presentable, they do look like many other websites you’re accustomed to seeing. This makes it difficult to create a strong visual identity. They use a straight-forward drag-and-drop process, but you’ll be the one “designing” your site and there can be a learning curve.
Hiring a Web Designer: Custom design and layouts
When hiring a web designer, you’re employing a professional who will fully customize and execute every aspect of your vision, helping you achieve the website of your dreams. For businesses, especially those with higher ambitions, hiring a web designer is the way to go. This is especially true for businesses with audiences or focuses in science, technology, and government.
For brands and companies that need to establish a strong visual identity and stand out from other websites, hiring a web designer is your best bet. A huge benefit to hiring a web designer is the relationship you develop with someone who understands your brand. A good web designer can continue to help you with your evolving web needs as your business scales.
Pros of hiring a web designer
- Limitless layout options and design opportunities
- Seamless execution of your vision from a seasoned professional
- Strong and unique visual identity
- No cookie-cutter layouts
- Mobile website will look extraordinary
Cons of hiring a web designer
- Sometimes not necessary for small / one-page projects
The Bottom Line: Hiring a web designer gives you total control over your online presence. The ability to stand out from the crowd and develop a working relationship with a web designer is an invaluable investment for your business.
Social Media + Community
Squarespace and Wix: Third-party options
Squarespace’s platform offers several widgets and third-party plug-ins that users can connect to their business’s services. Their widgets let you add your social media accounts, implement newsletter popups, and more. Catch is – some of these plug-ins will charge you monthly to use them. For businesses looking to create a sense of community, have active social feeds and integration on their site or need multiple layers of tagging/categories of content, Squarespace might not be the best bet for you.
Pros of using page builders for plug-in integration
- A lot of options
- Simplistic embeds
Cons of using page builders for plug-in integration
- Limited capabilities
- Fees for some plug-ins
- Difficult for large audiences
- Some plug-ins are confusing to implement
Hiring a Web Designer: Endless options
A skilled Web Designer can connect your website to any social media service. Web designers can integrate social media feeds, API calls, discussion boards, content sharing within the site itself, newsletter feeds, and more.
For businesses and entities delivering information to a large audience, a web designer will be able to develop a site that can handle a high amount of traffic. If your business relies on third-party automation services like Zapier, Integromat, or ITTT, a web designer will be able to integrate those services seamlessly.
Pros of hiring a web designer for plug-in integration
- Unlimited ways to build connection
- Efficient social integration
- Holds large capacity of user base
- Third-party integration
- Visually stunning
- Functionality in tip-top shape
- Can integrate any API
Cons of hiring a web designer for plug-in integration
- Not every business needs so many features
- May not be cost effective for all businesses
Selling Products and Services
Page builders: quick and easy e-commerce
Squarespace and Shopify have made it easy for anyone to sell and offer their services on the internet. The simplicity and tools that both platforms offer can be of great use to any business just starting out. While the free tools are useful, more advanced SEO and online marketing tools (ex. customary thank you emails, abandoned cart notifications) will cost extra and may get expensive. Mobile optimization may be difficult as well on these platforms. If a business is experiencing a ton of traffic, Squarespace and Shopify lite installations may not hold up.
Pros of using Shopify and Squarespace for e-commerce
- Easy and simple to use
- Good for small businesses
- Plug-ins and apps available within to help optimize users experience
Cons of using Shopify and Squarespace for e-commerce
- Not much variation
- Businesses that have strong visual identity can’t express it
- Analytics won’t go too in-depth
- Good plug-ins and apps cost extra and can get expensive
- May need to hire a web designer anyways to get desired level of customization
Hiring a web designer: limitless e-commerce
A web designer is able to translate your products and branding into a cohesive online presence. For branding-focused businesses, hiring a web designer is a crucial part of keeping your brand consistent when selling goods and services online. For those dependent upon CRM (customer relationship management) software like Salesforce, Hubspot or Zoho, a Web Designer will be able to integrate those systems beautifully into your website.
Pros of hiring a web designer for e-commerce
- Cohesive visual identity and branding from products to design of site
- Categorization and cross-selling of products and retail possible
- Gives consumers the ability to customize their purchases (i.e. filters, colors, sizes etc.)
- CRM integrations
- Order fulfillment and warehouse integration with third-party services
- Marketing discounts, codes, sales additives within construct of site
- Custom design for Shopify
Cons of hiring a web designer for e-commerce
- If your business isn’t reliant on any of the above just not cost effective
- Your business may not need to have a strong visual identity
The Bottom Line: If your business is offering a service, retail, scheduling appointments or using a third-party app to sell goods and services – a web designer is the best investment you can make for growing, maintaining or freshening up your business’s online presence.
Analytics & SEO
Page builders: limited options for analytics
In today’s web, everyone has a website, and everyone wants more views and clicks on their website. Analytics and SEO optimization have become key important factors in increasing your website’s visibility. Squarespace and other page builders have widgets and plug-ins available to their users for SEO and analytics, but they often come at a cost and place the burden of maintaining best SEO practices on the business owner.
In order for any business to make a splash and get noticed – a web designer is a worthy investment to harness your analytics and take your company to the next level.
Pros of using page builders for analytics
- Great for small businesses with a local consumer base
Cons of using page builders for analytics
- Can be a learning curve to translate data
- Not always up-to-date to industry standard or new trends
- DIY can be more time consuming taking you away from other important things
Hiring a web designer: full analytics integration
A professional web designer is able to take your old website, new business or emerging brand and bring it to the next level. Web designers have extensive experience with data analytics and best SEO practices to bring your site to the top of a Google search. This is one of the best parts about hiring a web designer – not only are you receiving a fresh, strong visual identity online but, they’ll help your website attract new customers and leads. Using web analytics to help you better understand your audience is an investment in itself, and a worthwhile one at that.
Pros of hiring a web designer for analytics
- Most up-to-date SEO practices to strengthen your presence
- In-depth analytics explained by a professional to help you understand you consumer base
- Generate new business leads, customers and online traffic.
- Integrate any third-party analytics platform and have complete control over when your analytics events fire
Cons of hiring a web designer for analytics
- Dependent upon choosing the right web designer who can communicate effectively
The Bottom Line: This is a big one. Unless you’re going to be using your website as an online business card, a web designer is going to help launch your company to the next level and give you a deeper understanding of your customers, while generating new customers all at once. Worth the investment, don’t miss out.
Maintenance + Upkeep
Page builders: maintain it yourself
When using a web builder, you are solely responsible for the maintenance, upkeep, hosting, and domain name renewals. If you aren’t anticipating the need to update, manage, or change the content or look of your site, then this is not a problem. However, if you’re in need of heavy lifting or maintenance for your site, and you foresee future growth – a web designer is the way to go.
Pros of using a page builder for maintenance
- Mostly simple to drag and drop within the constraints of a template to change layouts
- If you don’t need to update or change things often, you’re pretty much good to go
Cons of using a page builder for maintenance
- Time-consuming to update
- The burden of maintaining traffic is placed on the end user
- Learning curve and not so straightforward process
Hiring a web designer: worry-free maintenance
A web design company will easily be able to maintain and update your website. If your company website is in need of regular upkeep, hiring a web designer allows you to focus on what’s most important – running your business!
Pros of hiring a web designer for maintenance
- A seasoned pro can do it all for you
- Gives you the tools to DIY effectively
- Leaves more time to focus on other things
Cons of hiring a web designer for maintenance
- May not be needed for simple sites
The Bottom Line: Hiring a Web Designer will empower you to keep growing your site without the time consuming hassle of doing it yourself.
Why Bushwick Design?
By now, you should have a pretty clear idea of whether using Squarespace or hiring a Web Designer is the right choice for you. If you’re leaning towards a web designer, then Bushwick Design may be the best option for you. We’ve taken a myriad of Squarespace sites and turned them into high-functioning dream websites. Brooklyn SolarWorks and Highview Creations both started as Squarespace sites, and Bushwick Design overhauled them into customized web experiences that look fantastic. With our long and proven history and expertise in the field, we can turn your vision into a fast loading, mobile-friendly and incredibly immersive website.
Bushwick Design has an award-winning portfolio, and a track-record of offering a multitude of services to a wide variety of industries:
Bushwick Design’s Services
Bushwick Design’s Industries
- Beauty & Fashion
- Carbon Capture
- Climate Change
- Professional Services
- Public Service
- Real Estate