Custom Development Versus Platforms Like Squarespace

May 8, 2014

Posted by: John Maddox

Custom Development Versus Platforms Like Squarespace

On a regular basis, we have clients come in needing custom development after trying to leverage platforms like Squarespace or Wix for what is really a web application not a normal website.

While these platforms are great for many websites, it only takes needing minor custom functionality to force a complete redesign and development. Because these platforms do not allow access to source code, upgrades or modifications needed cannot be done, even if a good developer could tackle it in a hour.

Custom Web Development

Common Reasons For Custom Development

3rd Party APIs Needed

An API (application programming interface) is basically a door which enables different applications to connect digitally. Some are very complicated, some are straightforward to integrate with. 99% of the time, without a widget that has been developed for a specific API connection and functionality, it doesn’t do 100% of what you need. Lack of access to source code immediately requires custom development.

Multiple User Types

If your website or web application concept requires multiple types of users, more importantly, if there are significant differences is what each type of user is allowed to do when logged in, you probably need custom development.

User permissions are logic rules set up in the code which allow a specific user type to access different content, be able to upload information, make changes etc. Often these can be very easy to set up, but it’s also very common to require serious development time. Either way, without access to source code, how easy or complicated is not relevant because nothing can be done.

UI/UX Modifications

As a website gains traffic, more data on user interaction becomes available. The next step to increase visitor conversion is often simple modifications to the layout, minor tweaks to content or adding conversion tools. While many of these are available on platforms, many are not and would be very simple additions from a development perspective and extremely important in maximizing advertising ROI.

Again, without access to source code, you will run into many limitations that would not be in play with custom development.

Custom Development Isn’t Always The Answer

This is not a bash of these platforms. They are very well developed, solve many issues that have plagued the web industry, and handle the demands of many clients. Based on your budget, what has been determined as MVP (minimum viable product), and what your future vision for the company is, using one of these platforms could be the right move.

That said, it is extremely important you consult with a professional before you head down that road to identify potential roadblocks as your business grows, along with future ideas for functionality and user experience. Planning for the future makes your chances of success that much better!

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