Wix (or Squarespace) is ready for you but are YOU Ready for Wix?

WIX, Weebly and Squarespace (sidebar: the Super Bowl commercials they have with Lee and Morris are entertaining) are great tools to build a website.

Honestly.

As a designer, I would suggest them if you don’t want to pay up to $3K(or more, depending on the project) price tag that designers rightfully charge to craft these ever evolving tools for new [insert your profession/store here].

But these plug and play site builders are not created equal. And as enticing as free.99 seems, there are a lot of baggage you are taking on when you give control of your site to one of these companies.

I’m free, but it will cost you….

Of the many things that you obtain opening a social media account (access to other people in your field/hobby), you are also signing over rights to everything you post. It is a win/win for the most part but much like parts of the Patriot Act, you are walking into a trap eyes wide open. Wix and it counter parts garner similar control when you utilize their services.

Take for example the copyright:

YouTube “allows” you to load lyric videos and covers of other songs most of the time without any penalties. But add that music to the back of something (like a cooking, makeup or let’s play) that you are profiting from, the copyright lawyers are going to be on your tail. This is more enforced on the audiobook upload (RIP Robert Jordan Channel) than music for some reason (maybe because audiobooks are a separate medium of the author’s book but I don’t know).

This small mention in the footer of your new site is glossed over. It is where you insert your contact information and the year your site was updated (note to self: update your portfolio). Surprisingly, this detail is used as the validation point to ensure you keep your site up to date. But as a consumer/savvy online user, this is a kernel of essential information about your business and who is really running things.

Your web builder holds that copyright if you use the free plan.

You Scratch My Back and I’ll Scratch* Yours…

To go back to being free*, using a web builder packages all the BootStrap, Ajax and Java Script I should know (should know. But I prefer to keep up with the social media elements of design. Shocked? Why? the term designer covers web, print, product and social medial fields. I know enough to ask another professional/follow their manuals.) in a series of user friendly buttons. But why can’t you get that pesky boarder of ads dedicated to the web builder off? Why does the domain name switch (re-direct) to something odd and long?

That is the other thing the web builder owns: the domain. Your www.awesomsite.com/net/org (.ninga, .xyz, are other options but not as popular.) is more likely going to be a webuilder.com/site/awesomesite-ownername. And while some of these are being nicer to the public and allowing your original domain request to act as a re-direct, this can mess with your site’s search-ability (that also has to deal with applying SEO’s to your content but that is another can of worms). So while you can see your few minutes of work in a beautiful form, your audience won’t.

Well.

Unless you pay for it.

I could harp on how using these programs is buying into these programs are but we all are going to put a price tag on everything at some point. No, the main thing that I want to drive home is you. You with your big idea for a site and no content to add to it.

Baby Steps…

Content is essential to your site. Knowing what experience you are crafting for your visitors is the first thing you should think about and prepare before selecting your execution method. Knowing the minimum of how many pages you need, what each page is going to have on it and how things will flow will make the decision process easier. Half the reason designers charges go so high is due to the client’s evolving ideas on what they want. (Time is a rare commodity that no one can replenish.) While developing content and concepts is my favorite part of the design process, fleshing out your content will make designing your site actually fall in the few minutes square space suggests.

So before you get sucked into the flash and glitter of web design, develop your “diamond in the rough”.

Fin.