Why Every Web Designer Should Embrace Site Builder

Why Every Web Designer Should Embrace Site Builder

The number of web designers who still look down their noses at website publishers (such as Squarespace, Wix, Webydo) is unbelievable to me. Eye rolling, haughty chuckling, bursts of forced laughter… the whole nine yards. Our tool of choice is Squarespace, but across the Web, you can see the same snobbery we experience, directed at other template-based website publishers. In the words of a fellow web designer. What is it with designers trash-talking these publishers? Get your heads out of the ground! Template-based publishers offer a major business opportunity; if you’re still stuck in the mud writing them off, you’re missing out…big time.

Web designers are trained to take criticism; it comes with the job. But, the moment we feel our skills being undermined, it’s a different story. There’s a switch at the back of every designer’s brain that flips into panic mode the instant we feel we could be replaced by something newer, something automated, something that doesn’t need a human designer there guiding the process…and these publishing services’ whole pitch is that they allow anyone to create a beautiful site builder.


You send clients who are an ideal fit for a combination of template-based web design and your professional skills out the door. You look down your noses at these website publishers instead of seeing the opportunity they represent. In doing so, you let an incredibly valuable business deal slip through your fingers. we should be embracing the expanded opportunities that Webflow, Virb, Weebly, and others represent. For every small business, nonprofit, or blogger who can’t afford the price of full site development and design, you have an opportunity: a client who values your expertise needs your skills, and wants to invest in your services. What they don’t want is the full enchilada. They shouldn’t need to invest in what could be two or three times the cost of a professionally executed template-based site builder in your full development process.

Leading these smaller clients to think that they need to lay down for a custom-built site when their needs could be better met by the incredible usability, security, and affordable hosting of these publishers and complete the project on budget is, in my mind, entirely unethical. If these smaller clients don’t need custom-built functionality, they don’t need a custom-built site. A restaurant, a pet store, an accounting office; these busy small business owners don’t have time to learn how to work through clunky back ends. ut they do have the insight to see the value of a professionally executed website. That’s why they came to you: they know that the experience you bring to the table means the website you create will be of a higher quality and functionality than they could ever achieve themselves. You know not only how to make a site look good, you know how to make it function intuitively, represent a client’s brand from top to bottom, and meet all of the client’s needs. These site builders are the perfect opportunity to cut a smaller deal with smaller clients instead of sending their business out the door.


This deep down: high-need, larger-budget clients — those who truly need a host of custom-built features — are still going to need your development skills as much as ever. You can still count on hitting your optimal price range with those clients. Instead, where you’re going to benefit from a template-based publisher is with clients who already recognize the essential importance of designers’ skills: businesses with straightforward website needs, bloggers invested in their brand, small nonprofits, local restaurants, and the like. The skills these clients are going to need from you on these projects are the things you love working with: Your professional eye and advanced branding and design experience. The demands and skills these clients won’t need from you at all? Hand-holding HTML coaching, site security responsibilities, site updates, making minute changes to content when clients can’t handle it, optimizing your code for every single browser and interface by hand, and configuring and integrating a million haphazard plugins. In other words, all of the things that can make your job terrible are no longer on your plate.

Offering customized, optimized, professional website publisher-based design gives us — designers — the chance to achieve all the things we love about web design without the drawbacks that suck.

And it gives clients the power to make their own content updates and changes on a professional, flawless site builder without paying unnecessary development costs.

And finally, it gives these clients’ customers a fully branded, fully responsive web experience.

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