What (or who) is a website builder?

People seem to be very confused and discombobulated as they tiptoe about the digital landscape in search of the best web builder solutions to either rebuild an existing website or go full throttle and start a brand new build. They ask me the difference between Squarespace and WordPress, Weebly and WIX, and I understand it does get confusing, especially when I start with the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org - yes, peeps, one is a platform you will be paying monies to each month (wordpress.com), the other is what designers/developers like me use to build more customised solutions for our lovely clients, on hosting of their choosing.

Website builder platforms such as WIX and Squarespace are low-cost solutions for small business owners and sole traders looking to get their business online quickly and simply. But it has been my experience that people will opt for one of these solutions but then find themselves stuck technically and creatively. While these solutions can offer you drag and drop usability and design suggestions, it can often be a bit overwhelming if you are a first-timer and new to these platforms and interfaces - you can't be expected to be good at everything!

While many platforms state that no behind-the-scenes coding experience is required, it's not always the case. If you want your website to look sharp, contemporary, and visually attractive, it can be well worth hiring the services of a digital designer and developer, to make certain your website stands out from your competition - raise it an octave, if you like!

At Hooper + Kind, we can work with all the platforms (WIX, Weebly, Squarespace) but most of our clients have secured hosting already and so opt for a free WordPress CMS (Content Management System) install on their hosting, from which I design a customised website solution for them, adding functionality (Contact Forms, Shortcodes) along with any integrations they may want too (Hubspot, Google Analytics, Mailchimp, Facebook).

I managed to get a lovely digital project 'over the line' recently for a wonderful creative team - www.aswarm.com. It was a fairly ambitious project as there was so much existing and legacy content on the previous website. While the Director of Aswarm got a handle on the content, I set about removing the existing website, installing WordPress, and then following my typical design phase flow, slowly and methodically teased out an impactful design. The strong images from previous productions providing clear inspiration meant the design phase was enjoyable and I was pretty much 'in flow'.

In summing up and signing off, I would advise the following:  If you have a super low budget, a shoestring or less, you can go it alone and there are some free options with WordPress.com.  If you go that route, why not do as best you can with getting a site up online, and when it's live you could hire a designer to add the finishing touches.  They will certainly bring their creative sensibilities to the table, and add much-needed flair and more importantly originality that will make your website shine!.  Digital designers will consider fonts, colour scheme, graphics, icons, layout, user experience, and the all-important, search engine optimisation (SEO).

You could hire an experienced freelance digital designer for a set number of hours.  Think in terms of half and full-day agreements.  The price varies massively as digital designers and developers compete internationally for work.  There are platforms where you can find freelancers such as peopleperhour.com and freelancer.com.

If you do find yourself in a situation similar to outlined above, please know you can always contact me for advice and free snippets of 'knowhow', guiding you hopefully through the confusion! Gill

Email | hello@hooperandkind.com