Hiring a web design agency vs using Wix or Squarespace

This article compares the process of hiring a professional web design agency versus building your own site using Wix or Squarespace. Which is the most effective method when you're just getting started? We'll weigh up the pros and cons of each and give you the answer.

Contributed by Molly Raymer and edited by Stephen Cleary

Hiring a web design agency vs using Wix or Squarespace

Building a website has never been easier due to the introduction of DIY, low cost online website builders such as Wix, Squarespace, Shopify and Weebly. And whilst it’s true that these companies are both user and bank balance friendly, given the importance of online presence it’s worth considering if you really want to go it alone. Below we outline some of the pros and cons of using an online website builder compared to hiring a professional web design agency; so regardless of your final choice you can be confident that you’re making an informed decision.


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The cost

Let’s not beat around the bush- hiring a professional web design agency is going to cost money. If you have only recently set up your business, or have only just started to establish yourself, these could be funds that you don’t have access to right away.

An online website builder like Wix or Squarespace is almost certainly going to cost less, with many offering attractive new customer pricing and discounts. Building and designing your own website can save you valuable cash in the short term, however you will often find the cost of online website builders increase significantly after an initial offer period, or you’ll have to pay for additional add-ons or functions for your website beyond a basic template.

Wix, one of the cheapest options, currently charges £8.50 per month for freelance websites and upwards from £13 per month for e-commerce businesses. Squarespace is generally regarded to be a higher quality option and its prices reflect this. Prices start at £10 per month for personal websites and £20 per month upwards for e-commerce businesses.

Web design agencies are a bigger initial investment. The price of website design and development tends to range anywhere between £1000 – £5000 for small business websites in the UK. It is therefore important to choose wisely and spend time looking for an agency that is the best fit for you and your business. You’ll need to assess the quality of their website design service in relation to the price they charge. If you would like to read more about the right questions to ask web designers, we’ve written a quick guide on hiring a professional web designer.

Watch out for ‘web designers’ who promise to build you a site at a very low cost (e.g. less than £750 or $1000) because they tend to deliver shoddy work leading to a waste of your time and money.

Wix’s online store
An example of product display in Wix’s online store. Credit: WebsiteToolTester


An advantage of creating your own website with Wix or Squarespace is that you have control of your timeline, and can create your website in a very short turn around if you devote the necessary time towards learning the process and designing each web page.

Almost all good professional web design agencies will be working on several projects at once, which could stretch out your timeline. However, it’s worth considering if your own time could be better spent elsewhere. Even the simplest online website builders like Wix and Squarespace require a large chunk of time to create a page that’s live and ready to share, especially if this is your first time dabbling in web design. It might appear time saving to go DIY, but if you can’t commit to giving your website the time it deserves it is likely to take longer than hiring an agency, or cause your website to look disjointed and unfinished.

Although using a professional website designer can initially take longer, it will free up your own time and ensure you have a polished and professional website ready to go at the end.

Web Designer | Clear Design
A website designer at work


Arguably the greatest advantage of using a professional design agency is that they already have the expertise in building a website. A unique and visually appealing website will always outperform a generic, run of the mill website, and that is exactly what you are paying designers to create. If you use a template from a popular online website builder, chances are your website will look similar to thousands of others that used the same template.

Designers understand important factors such as search engine optimisation, compositional design techniques, user experience design and digital accessibility. Each of these skills can take months or even years to learn. While you might grasp the basics, this isn’t something to leave up to chance, especially given the importance of search engine rankings for growing your business.

It’s also worth pointing out that online website builders like Wix or Squarespace won’t offer the same level of support and advice that an agency can give. If you create your own website you might find yourself responsible for fixing bugs and managing updates, which can be time consuming and expensive if you end up needing professional help. A good professional agency should be able to minimise the chance of bugs and help with updates and quick fixes. Most online website builders also don’t offer a good degree of online security or robust back-ups for when websites and servers crash, potentially causing you big problems if either were to happen.


Wix and Squarespace are very user friendly, with both offering a very simple drag and drop design tool. They have fairly advanced software already. Wix offers various widgets like Wix Bookings and Wix Stores that enable you to expand your website’s functionality. Squarespace also has its own, slightly limited, e-commerce and booking features. However, neither Wix or Squarespace will be able to offer as extensive a package as a professional website design agency.

Agencies will often have access to additional talent to create graphics, illustrations and imagery that will elevate your website, alongside the skillsets to ensure everything is up to scratch on your site for accessibility, mobile compatibility and optimal loading time. They can provide this without you even needing to think about it. This certainly takes a weight off your shoulders.

Wix’s online store
An example of product display in Wix’s online store. Credit: WebsiteToolTester


Analytics and data should drive online marketing decisions, and you can get plenty from your website if you have the right tools. A professional website designer can include analytics in your web design and maintenance package, including statistics from Google Search Console and Analytics. Many online website builders offer analytics tools, but these often work with varying degrees of success, and for something so vital to your business, you need to consider the amount of data you need to inform your decisions.

Side-by-side comparison

Now, let’s take a real deep look into a direct comparison between hiring a web design agency versus building your own website with Squarespace or Wix.

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Stephen Cleary is an experienced Brand & Website Designer and the founder of Clear Design. He specialises in creating memorable brands and captivating websites that help businesses connect to their customers. View Stephen’s portfolio or get in touch.
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