Squarespace's whole pitch is that it allows anyone to create a beautiful website. Its templates are customizable and slick right out of the box. So why would you even need a professional designer for your site? Why not just use the Squarespace template straight as it comes?
For the same reason you need a designer for your brand in the first place.
Don't believe me?
Let's use a great example here. Take cheap-ass logo design.
Sure, you could CREATE a $50 logo online...
Above: some of the options available through online logo creation tools.
Hell no! Generic. Fugly. Questionable.
But for some reason designers still get worked up over online services that offer "free" templated logo creation or über-cheap logo designs like the ones above. Like these programs' existence will be the downfall of our industry or something.
The fear flashing through a designer's mind in this situation is that clients will see the crazy cheap price tags (the above are all about $40–$50) and think Screw it, I don't need a professional at all! and we'll all be put out of business in no time.
Wrong on two counts:
First, I firmly believe that any business owner, entrepreneur or nonprofit director can see the difference between the clipart-tastic examples above and professionally crafted work. No comparison.
Second, I firmly believe that serious business owners know the true cost of cheap design – the massive amount of business you're losing because your organization looks like it's run by the doge meme.
You come to a PROFESSIONAL designer because we know what we're doing.
True, anyone could create a logo, but unless you've worked extensively in logo design you're going to miss the mark. And there's no way that your $50 logo will be able to blossom into an effective brand. Unless you've worked extensively in branding, you won't be able to pull off a full brand strategy on your own.
It's our creative capacity, higher level thinking skills, and years of experience that make graphic designers immensely valuable.
Business-savvy customers know that.
Here at Hoot, we've crafted fully blown branding and marketing strategies for years. We know the trouble spots. We know the pitfalls. We know where and how business owners drop the ball and are committed to guiding you through the process of creating and, most importantly, maintaining your brand.
The whole point of hiring a designer is to create a unique brand identity perfect for you.
And a templated logo is the complete antithesis – the whole point of templates is that the business name can be swapped out with minimal effort to create many very similar designs.
And a templated website? It's the same story.
You can see the difference between a right-out-of-the box Squarespace template and a Squarespace site that's been professionally designed.
Granted, the difference is not as glaring as the clipart logos above – Squarespace sites do look absolutely beautiful right out of the box. But to stand out effectively, you still need a professional designer to implement your full-blown brand strategy.
If you begin tinkering with Squarespace customization on your own and have no web design and branding experience, you're going to run into major drawbacks.
Drawbacks? Like what? Like these:
- Your site will be generic AF. Remember, looking the same is what templated design means. Even if the template is beautiful, it's still going to look like a template without a serious investment of time and skill.
- Customization is easy to use, but tricky to nail. More likely than not, you'll change a few colors around... Maybe try and incorporate a different font... Switch out some photos... And call it a day. Your site's still going to look pretty much the same as those hundreds of other sites built off of your template. Wah-wah-wahhh. 😣
- You might throw your brand investment out the window. Consistency is key to maintaining the integrity of your brand, and your online presence has a huge impact. The minute you start using unapproved fonts, off-brand language, inappropriate color combinations, off-brand photography... NooOOOoOooOOOOO! Keeping your brand intact what is brand strategists are for! If you're investing in a brand, don't blow it on your website, of all places!
Business owners, the takeaway is this:
Squarespace has great customization options, but you still need a professional designer to maintain your professional brand.
If you care about your brand's integrity, you need to make sure that brand is fully coherent across all of your company's presence. If your website is your brand's weakest link, your customers will see you at your worst from the moment they begin interacting with you. Investing in the same professional quality of work that's gone into creating your brand is worth it for your website, where many potential customers are meeting you for the very first time.
Small businesses, bloggers with a budget, nonprofits, local restaurants, and the like: you've got everything to gain with Squarespace! It's the perfect option for a beautiful, functional, responsive site at less than what a custom-developed website costs. Why? Because we start out with a solid foundation each time and perfect it to uphold your brand identity at every turn.
Need to up your web presence? Come drop us a line!
Or, up for the challenge and want to give website branding a try yourself? We've rounded up an essential how-to list here: How to Brand a Website in 7 Steps.
And make sure to come back this way tomorrow for the lowdown on why Squarespace is the perfect option for small businesses – despite what some may say. #HatersGonnaHate.
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