Website design platforms are a hot topic in the design community as of late, and for good reason. Most of the bad rapport that web design solutions are receiving from professional designers is due to the fact that they offer basic web building tools for do-it-yourselfers, cutting out the designer from the process.
But there is a distinction between web design platforms built for do-it-yourselfers and those built for use by professional designers. Webydo and Squarespace are excellent examples of two highly robust platforms with differing solutions to make them suitable for two very different audiences. Webydo is a design suite created specifically for professional designers, and Squarespace is a website builder for those who have very little or no design experience at all.
Webydo: Creative Professionals Choice
Just as with many other design platforms, the Webydo solution produces a responsive HTML-based website with a fully integrated CMS, and users create in-browser without the need to know any code with the drag-and-drop feature. Unlike do-it-yourself website builders, Webydo offers advanced features and extras that professionals need to take a website design over the top.
Web Design Suite Features
Webydo offers state-of-the-art features within the design suite, and designers have the choice to start with a template, pre-designed layout, or a blank canvas. Design features include smart guides and a snapping function so that elements easily move into place, a grid generator, and even a layers window. Presets for repeating elements can be set for either all or a few select pages. Images, videos, widgets, and other drag-and-drop items are automatically placed within a bounding box that come with features such as fill, stroke, and effects. Even anchor links are available for linking to certain elements on a page.
Even the CMS is advanced. With WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) CMS editing, clients can easily make changes. Ecwid ecommerce widget makes it easy for clients to display products, control their stock, add media-rich category and product descriptions, and take payments. Even better for designers is the ability to lock down any aspect of the CMS so that a client can’t “accidentally” rearrange certain elements into a funky lay out.
Full White Label
The full white label is where designers can really make Webydo their own. Professionals have to be able to display their brand on everything that clients may see, and this is exactly what Webydo allows. Designers can place their logo on the CMS login screen, the dashboard, even the canvas.
Webydo also offers some awesome extras for the business and marketing side of design. With Bill My Client, designers can send and track invoices to clients from the dashboard, and then send received payments to their PayPal account. The Client Sign-up Wizard, available with the Agency Plan, allows designers to generate leads by sending a pre-designed site to prospective clients, seeing the changes a prospect makes, and then contacting the prospect to see if further assistance is needed. Voila! A new client has just been made.
One of the best parts of Webydo is the fact that they want to hear from designers. On the Participation Forum, designers can post changes or additions they’d like to see on Webydo. Then other users can vote for the changes they want to see most. The top voted posts get attention from Webydo first, and these changes are implemented as quickly as possible.
Squarespace: Platform for Do-It-Yourselfers
It is easy to see why Squarespace is such a well-known design platform. They offer stunning templates that fit a variety of industries and purposes, from shops to musician websites to restaurants. Just as with other website design suites, Squarespace produces HTML-based websites that are mobile-ready. Unlike suites for professionals, though, Squarespace offers extra features needed by users who have limited to no experience designing a website.
All of the templates use the Content Block System and Layout-Engine that guides users in the design process. Because pages are already configured, users can easily create a unique design very quickly by choosing from pre-loaded fonts and colors and adding in their own content to the template; however, using custom CSS is also an option. Users can even install multiple templates for a single website. For those who get too crazy with changes and want to start over, Squarespace’s Example Content Restore will come in handy.
Features for Specific Purposes
Squarespace advertises custom features for seven different types of websites: shops, restaurants, photographers, artists, musicians, bloggers, and weddings. Each of the templates come with features needed by any of these groups. For instance, photographers and artists will benefit from the automatic cropping feature, full-screen images, lightbox, slideshows, and the Squarespace Portfolio app. Musicians can easily add tracks, wedding sites can easily connect to a registry, bloggers can add contributors, and restaurants can add a calendar. But no matter the purpose of a site, every feature is always available on any of the templates.
Social Media Integration
For many of the types of websites mentioned above, social integration is a huge part of gaining loyal visitors and maintaining relationships. Squarespace offers a variety of tools for social interactions, including publishing to, syncing with, and importing from various social platforms.
SEO and Analytics
Many do-it-yourselfers do not know much about SEO, which is why Squarespace makes sure that SEO is already built in to each template with clean article links, valid XHTML code, correct tagging, and XML sitemaps.
Analytics are also available so that users can much easier track their visitors. In real time, users can see traffic and the behavior of visitors. They can also see keywords used to find the website as well as see from where each visitor comes to the site.
Amateur designers need not worry too much if they run into trouble with their website design. Squarespace provides 24/7 customer service, which includes only team members that are highly experienced in using Squarespace. In fact, their Customer Care team all work within the Squarespace office and never outsourced.
Both Webydo and Squarespace are excellent web design platforms. They simply offer different features and functions for a different niche audience. Professional designers benefit much more from Webydo’s advanced design suite, while do-it-yourselfers will feel much more comfortable with Squarespace’s customizable templates.