There’s no denying that website builders like Wix and Squarespace are a great option if you want to set up a great looking website quickly and easily. Aside from not needing any sort of design or coding experience, these platforms provide everything you need such as web hosting and domain names all in one place.
Their pre-built templates all have a professional look to them along with decent customization options so you can make it look more unique. Wix even offers a feature called ADI or Artificial Design Intelligence that automatically designs the website for you using a very simple step-by-step process. However, being web designers, we can’t help but ponder on the ‘Artificial Design’ aspect of it.
For many people, a website that’s built using a template is going to be just what they need to get started. If they have a hobby, a journey, or an idea that they want to share with the world, then a template site is a great way to go.
But if you’re a business that offers products and services in exchange for people’s time and money, you should really do yourself and your customers a favor and put some more thought, effort and time into your website.
It’s normal for business owners, especially those who are in the startup phase, to want to do a lot of things themselves. It’s not just about saving money and preserving capital, but also about control.
But if you’re busy tweaking and fine tuning your website design and creating content for it, who is going to run and manage your more important business operations?
If you’re a professional photographer, you wouldn’t hire someone to take photos for you so you can take care of your website. You’d hire someone to design your website so you can go out and take photos, get more clients, and build a name for yourself.
Even if these website builders offer dozens, if not hundreds, of different templates, it doesn’t take long before you realize that they all look pretty much the same.
In order to appeal to different people’s needs, the designs need to be easily adaptable and versatile. The downside is that they have a very generic feel to them. They’re pretty much copycats of popular web design trends. You can customize the design to your liking, but the options are still going to be limited.
“Insert image A into placeholder B.” It’s the IKEA of web design: attractive on the surface, affordable for many, fulfilling a relevant demand. But the results are still imitations of higher quality products.
If you’re trying to develop your brand and differentiate your practice from your competitors, are you going to be able to do it with a generic looking website?
If you think paying for a custom website is not really worth it, consider what your prospects and potential clients think when they see that your website looks very similar to all the other financial advisor websites they’ve looked at.
Can a website that’s built overnight highlight your branding and company values? A custom website may take weeks or even months, but the end result will be well worth the wait.
Designers will not only talk with clients about colors, fonts and images, they’ll also want to know who you are, what you value most, and your visions for the future.
The uninitiated may not appreciate the level of artistry involved in creating a custom website, nor how much fun the process is. It is profoundly rewarding work that results in something that’s unique and has a distinct personality.
A website is more than just a design project. You also have to think about the tech running in the background.
A major downside of pre-built template websites is that you don’t have full control of the code that’s running your website.
If you want to change anything, you’ll have to go through their proprietary website editor. This will be a nightmare for any web designers, web developers, and SEO professionals you want to hire down the road.
It’s basically impossible to add any more features if your chosen website builder platform doesn’t already offer it. As a financial advisor you might want to add things like a client portal, risk analyzer, financial calculators, chatbots or an appointment scheduler to your site to make life easier for both you and your clients. If you see something on your competitor’s website that you want to use on your own site, you’re basically out of luck.
If you want to improve your search engine rankings, you need to be able to edit the code to make sure it’s optimized for search engine algorithms. Most SEO professionals will simply refuse to work with any site that’s built using a website builder because they won’t be able to improve any of the existing code.
There’s also no way to fine-tune the code to make your web pages load faster. You can’t use different web hosting providers other than what Wix or Squarespace provides.
Even if a template website seems like the best option you have today, it’s going to present more challenges in the future as your practice grows and your requirements change.