Why you shouldn't use 'free' design tools such as Wix

If something is too good to be true, it probably is

‘Why use a professional web designer when you can use Wix and do it yourself?’ is a question we hear every so often, sometimes it is posed slightly differently, such as ‘My mate has put something together in Wix and it looks good’ or ‘I think this is fine for what I need’.  All of these statements make designers clench their teeth in frustration. It’s not restricted to websites, you can go onto Vistaprint and ‘design’ your own letterheads and business cards in a few minutes.

The answer always boils down to another question – What value do you place on your business?

If it can be done for free, why does anyone use a designer?

The misconception here is that design is just about putting pretty pictures and some words on a page. The design process actually involves gaining an understanding of what your business is about and what you want to achieve. The designer translates this to a visual identity that is applied to your print and online presence. This must promotes and reinforces your brand values to your existing and potential customer base. When this is done properly itt can be monitored through analytics and customer feedback, leading to a continual process of development that keeps you at the top of your game.

Online design tools like Wix and the print companies such as Solopress and Vistaprint just offer you templates that you can customise. As can anyone else, and unfortunately this is usually pretty obvious. Customers want to know that you are serious about your business, if you only spend a few quid on your brand and online presence you aren’t on a great trajectory to build brand awareness and trust.

A cheap approach looks cheap.

It concentrates on superficial detail

Wix makes it easy to design websites like brochures – but they’re not.

All of the emphasis is on something that looks nice, rather than a site that looks good and performs really well for your business. Wix makes it easy to jump straight in construct a page and publish it, but using a web developer will result in a deeper look at just what your online presence needs, how to achieve it and then measure it.

You need to consider how your content is going to be structured, what page titles you will use, the header text for each page, the calls to action that appear in search engine results as well as conversion optimisation. As well as that you need to ensure you have implemented some online tracking so you know how it’s performing, and set up essential Google tools to get insights from your website that may drive your marketing decisions. Then you need to be able to fine tune this on a regular basis. All of that is really hard with Wix

All of those elements need to be specific to your business. Wix doesn’t allow you to use the business level tools that other systems such as WordPress do.

It devalues your business

The trouble with using freely available templates is that lots of other people are. Wix has a user base of over 90 million people using something around 500 customisable templates, simple maths makes that around 180,000 people probably using the same template as you. Your website is one of your first points of contact with your customers, and one of the first things they use to judge your credibility. The same logic applies to your stationery, handing someone a business card that has obviously been done in 5 minutes on the web says all the wrong things about you and your business.

You don’t own your site or content

You are totally locked into Wix once you have created your site with them, they host it and if you read the small print; “you grant Wix worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such User Submissions” So they can do anything they want, say they decided to start putting ads on all sites? Nothing you can do about it.

Always have control over your website, content and domain names

If you don’t own and control these you are wide open to problems, Think of it like someone else owning your phone number or house address – stupid isn’t it?

Say they decide to increase costs, you can’t go elsewhere easily as you are locked in. If your site was created in wordpress for example then changing hosting companies is a straightforward process (Think of it as changing gas or electric suppliers).

But it’s cheap…

Then we are back to our initial question, what value do you put on your business succeeding? Customers aren’t dumb, they pick up clues to your commitment from everything you do, and if the first things they say are cheap then you have a lot of work to do to dissuade them of that perception.