In General, Web Design

Instead of writing a large piece about things you need to know about SEO and so forth, I thought I’d write a small little article about a topic I recently saw on another blog.

In this blog, the author asks whether web designers are still needed. Now, I’ll be honest, without having read a single word of the article, I immediately felt myself becoming rather upset. But, I started reading the article, and as I did I started formulating my own thoughts on the subject.

To start, here’s the link to the original article:

Now, this article (and the question) got me thinking about something else that the author touches on which is the idea of free website builders.

We’ve all seen or heard about these free website builders: Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, etc.

They offer users and business owners the ability to build a stunning website for free and with little to no knowledge needed in web design and coding. That is a cool concept; giving small businesses the ability to enter the digital domain and create a website for themselves to promote their business and/or services.

I champion that, and I champion the fact that companies like that want to help smaller businesses, too. I have an absolute passion for small businesses, and if there are services that can aid them better, I say go for it!

However, there is a bit of a dark side to these website builders.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with both Weebly and Squarespace in the past. And, from this experience, each of these services are great to work with. They deliver on what they promise, and you can get going within minutes.

But, like with everything else, you only get so much with the free account you can register. The moment you want more space, more features, more freedom and your own domain name, then you’re hit with a payment wall, and pricing starts at around $5 to $10 per month. For more features, you’ll obviously have to pay more, but, as a business idea that supports small businesses, is this really a good one?

Especially for small business owners in South Africa. For them, these free website builders are a great fit for their business model: it gives them a wonderful starting point with which they can get online and get seen by hundreds of potential customers.

However, with the state of our currency, the pay-wall behind which more extensive features are being hidden away seems like a stretch for some as there is a huge difference in the pricing for local small business owners. And sure, there are free options, but they give you so little to work with in most cases.

It feels almost as if we are being tricked into buying into this service that seems 100% free, until we realize it really isn’t.

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