There was a time when the need to have your own website to represent your business or passions in life seemed like a wall in front of you, either of time learning to write code (how I wish I’d had the desire to learn that skill!), or of steep financial investment to someone else who, hopefully, enjoyed and was proficient in writing code.
In the last 10-15 years that has changed with the onslaught of “no-code” web building platforms. This means that someone else has written code that allows anyone to design a website, and most recently almost all of these web building platforms have packages that require no other interaction except with the platform itself. In other words, they provide you with domain hosting services as well as a long list of other services previously only available to very advanced users. Examples include domain-based email addresses, rather than a free email, which is quickly becoming a sign of lower end professionalism. Of course, most of these are being considered “Add-Ons” which means there is a fee for them.
For full disclosure, I am writing this blog piece on Wix.com, and I am a low-level website building partner on Wix. While every platform has its plusses and minuses, I use Wix mainly because I’m accustomed to it and know how to work with the sometimes finicky editor. But even Wix has its drawbacks, and generally the editor is not one of them. The increasing number of extra costs for things like domain-based email addresses and email marketing are an issue with all of these sites.
Also, transferring a website to another platform is generally difficult or impossible. You can transfer the domain name to another site, but the somewhat specific underlying code to the various sites makes conversion, say from Wix to Squarespace, a complicated endeavor. If you decide you don’t like Squarespace for instance, and want to have a website on Wordpress it might be better, and perhaps a less expensive choice, to build a new site, copying and pasting content, and re-uploading media. It will not look exactly the same, but be an approximation of what you had before. Who knows? It might even look better. Certainly a fresh new look!
While these drag and drop website building platforms present limitations to the somewhat expansive world of less easily navigated sites such as Wordpress.org, I predict they will continue to evolve into the future. These sites continually engage in developing tools and apps that mimic the wide range of choices available in a Wordpress.org site. The problem will be the inflation of cost in maintaining a website with all the capabilities you desire, as these companies keep trying to increase their revenue by adding monthly charges on apps you may need for your productivity. Once the cheaper choice, designing on these sites will become overly expensive, and people will need to sacrifice the automations, and go back to the basics.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of the current possibilities for drag & drop website design if you choose to do it yourself. The pricing structures vary greatly on each of them. Or if you’d really rather not spend hours designing your own site, see examples of my own designs using Wix on my site here.