It gets me every time. Whenever I listened to an engaging web design podcast from well-respected web designers talking about the possibility of CSS grid or the excitement of art direction on the web, the host would ask the guest to hold on to that thought so the host could thank the sponsor. Then the host would proceed with something like, “When I have friends or a family members needed a website and they ask me to do it. I don’t want to hurt their feeling, but I also don’t have the time to do it. So I recommend Squarespace to them.” Then the host goes on to read all the wonderful features like big sliders and slick parallax scrollings Squarespace offers.
Isn’t it hypocritical of the hosts to accept those kind of sponsors for web design podcasts? On the show, they criticize how the web is losing its soul and yet they have no shame promoting pre-designed templates from Squarespace, Wix, and similar services. Don’t small businesses deserve a unique-looking website as well to communicate with their customers? Templating is not the way to go. These days, I can spot a Squarespace-templated website without even having to look at the source codes. They all have similar layout, typography, and big graphic area.
If you care about your brand, image, and uniqueness and your designer friends turned you down, don’t settle for generic designs. There are still tons of individual web designers specializes in creating small, simple websites. I am one if them. I have a full-time job already; therefore, I love working on small websites on the side. What type of sites are we talking about? Let’s take a look at some examples.
If you have something to promote, you could use a simple, fast website. For example, I recently designed a website for a professor who had written a screenplay. He didn’t need a CMS since the site is mostly information about the film. He updated the script from time to time and I am fine with helping him uploading a PDF.
If you own a restaurant, you could use a unique website that stands apart from templated designs from Squarespace. I designed a website for Le Mekong Vietnamese Cuisine almost ten years ago and it is still looking great today. The owner contacted me from time to time to update the menu, but most of the information remain the same.
If you want to have the ability to update your own content, I could help you choose a CMS that make works well for what you want to do. For Đẹp Designs, a small architecture studio, I implemented Kirby for them to update the contents with ease.
So if you need a small, custom-designed website, come talk to me rather than making your business the same as millions of others. You want to stand out, not stand in.