What’s the deal with Web Designers?

Adam Reed
29th April 2019

I was inspired to make this into a blog when a friend’s dad told me about something. He made his own company and needed a website, and he couldn’t help but note how expensive a nice-looking, interactive and a generally high-quality website. I will be looking at how much your skills as a website designer are worth, why Wix.com and other such websites are so cheap, and if you were to use one, I will recommend which one you should use.

Wix.com, Webflow and Weebly are all types of web designers. Wix.com can cost from about £15 all the way up to £90 per month. Webflow costs about £25 a month and Weebly costs from £10 to £35. After reading into it, I found out that these costs aren’t to use their software designing tools, but the costs are to have a domain name, which you can get on other websites for less than £2. This means that by having skills as a website designer, you could be saving yourself nearly £400 a year. If you’re into gaming, that’s a decent priced gaming PC every year, or 133 extra coffees from Starbucks.

What’s wrong with using websites that basically make your website for you? Well, really there is no actual problem with using them, it’s the fact that, in terms of websites, more content is not always better, and when you can add any image, any piece of text, anywhere on your page with no effort, it is very easy to get carried away and make an ugly website. On the topic of ugly websites, if you want to implement parallax scrolling (where background images move slower than your scroll wheel), it is scrappy. Images on a Wix website take a long time to load. This is again caused by the sheer amount of content that you can easily put on your website, meaning that there is a lot of items to refresh. Neither Wix.com nor Webflow let you create a favicon and Weebly has a great big ‘W’ as your favicon. At the bottom of a Weebly website, there is a footer that says ‘Powered by Weebly. Create your own for free!’

There are multiple things that you can’t do in the three mentioned earlier web designers. You can’t, with any of the website designers, download an SEO (search engine optimization) plugin, making your website come low on the list of websites which do pop up. Since Wix.com, Weebly and Webflow are all made for small business owners (no, they are owners of a small business, and they are not business owners who are small), their companies would not be well known anyway, so not having an SEO plugin is not helpful. Wix.com and Webflow are both heavily based on JavaScript, so if the user has JavaScript disabled in their browser, the websites hardly function. Weebly, however, does function without JavaScript enabled.

In terms of site ownership, Wix says on the surface that ‘Wix does not claim any intellectual property rights over the User Submissions’ but in the terms of use, it says that ‘you grant Wix worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such User Submissions.’ In short, Wix is saying, “We don’t claim the website as ours, but you must let us change it whenever we want, however, we want.” Meaning that you could hardly say that the website as yours.

Mobile sites on Wix.com are extremely difficult to do nice and neatly. This is because you can’t make your website completely responsive in Wix.com, so you must create a whole new website that is mobile compatible. To do this, you must have 2 different Wix editors, so every time you want to update your site, you must update your mobile site as well, often leading to inconsistencies and mistakes.

In conclusion, as convenient as it all is: having a website that you can easily access to update, generating a relatively good looking (although fairly generic) website, just knowing how to build a functioning website that is ok-looking is: much cheaper, much easier to find, mobile compatible and viewable-for-all is much better, than having a generic, half-owned, website that some people can’t even load. If you were to use a web designer instead of coding your own website, I would recommend Weebly. Weebly, although being more expensive, does one job much better than both Webflow and Wix. Weebly can load with JavaScript disabled. That’s it. There is not much of a reason to use any of these web designers.