Growing number of new websites are built with simple cloud-based tools like Edicy and Weebly these days. Cloud means that everything is online and accessible through browser. No software is installed. Nothing needs to be set up, maintained or upgraded on the customer side.

Oldschool way

Still, a lot of the web agencies continue building their customer sites in the old way. Every website is set up separately, upgrades and maintenance is manual and IT guy needs to be around. There are occasions when this might be a rational way – for example with large webstores or if the customer is a software developer itself. But most of the time it's a waste of time and brain cells of the customer.

Some 5 years ago every agency created its own website builder in-house. It was sold to each customer along with the website for an average of $1000. Quality was poor, upgrades seldom occurred, maintenance was expensive, tools were very difficult to use. It was a disaster.

Situation has improved. Agencies are moving onto well-known tools like Wordpress, Joomla and Drupal. Quality is much better and any developer knows how to work with them. But this way websites are still expensive to maintain and difficult to use. You still need schooling and the IT guy to be around for upgrades and occasional maintenance.

Why is cloud better?

Why stick to the old way? Cloud-based website tools are just so much more rational:
  • It costs almost nothing
  • Technical side is set up and invisible
  • Upgrades are automatic
  • Tools are easier to use
That's why non-tech-savvy people turn to cloud tools when they want to build websites on their own. But if you want to have a more sophisticated site (eg with unique design), then doing it all by yourself won't work. You turn to an agency, get a great service, a beautiful and well working website... and an oldschool system under it. Win some, loose some.

Why remain oldschool then?

Why do most of the agencies avoid cloud-based web editors?
  • Inertia. Remaining on the same path as you've accustomed to for years is more comfortable
  • No pressure. Customers feel lost in tech issues and rely on the agency
  • False assumptions. Developers believe they need to modify the system for every custom site (actually in most of the cases all the customization can be done on the same system)
  • Love for open source. Most of the widely used non-cloud web editors are open source software. For the developers, open source is a good way to get things done. For the end user, open source doesn't help – the system must still be installed somewhere and maintained by some expert. The hosting must still be paid for.

Cloudy future

Probably we see some bigger changes in this space in the next couple of years. Innovative agencies are already moving towards simple cloud-based solutions while these systems themselves develop further and allow more and more complex customization by the agencies.

Chances are that even Wordpress and Drupal will release some kind of developer-friendly cloud solution with user-friendly interface in coming years.

Let's spread innovation already now. Next week we'll publish a small but growing index of companies and freelancers who have experience building your site cost efficiently on Edicy. Agencies, join the movement!

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