We are used to web services like Facebook, Gmail and Edicy. Sign up and go. No tech side to worry about. Data is securely online. All upgrades are automatically delivered, all hackers are routinely repelled. A dedicated team is taking care of it silently.

Puke bag
Wait, some of you aren't really there yet. The beautiful, thoughtfully crafted websites made by web agencies are most likely not built on web services. Instead, they are running on custom installed pieces of software called CMSs (content management systems) in the servers of some local hosting company.

It's time for a change. Drop software. Let your agency build your website on Edicy, Squarespace or some other web service.

It sucks to be the owner of such website (unless you're a web developer), because:

  • Tech becomes your responsibility.
  • Customization of any engine becomes a future cost.
  • Any CMS is feature- not user-centric.

Tech becomes your responsibility.

Any custom hosted website needs to be set up in the server first. That's the simple part. Agency takes care of everything — till the end of the web project. After that there's no one left in the room to take care of the website day and night. No one is responsible. No one really cares but you.

Terminal screen
Hosting company manages everything "under" the website engine — hardware, underlying software, connection. Web agency can help you with everything above — design, content, marketing.

The people developing the engine should be helping you out with the middle part. But it doesn't work that way. They can't help you to execute. Their updates and bug fixes reach you only if and when you ask web agency to do it manually.

If something happens, the process to get it right is slow and costly. Being responsible for something you have no expertise in isn't worth the risk. You could just switch to a web service instead.

Customization of a web engine becomes a future cost.

Developers love customizing software. Changing a piece of code to make it fit with some random idea you had. Programming. It's like practicing a language you understand. And he gets a reward — you are happy to see your idea implemented along with other changes.

Rusty tools
Enter everyday. Two months later you accidentaly hear that the particular version of the open-source CMS set up for you is easily exploitable by hackers. They could just deface your website and replace its front page with some steamy porn.

Turns out that the developer from your web agency is on a long vacation. Some other developer is allocated for you a week later. It takes him 2 days to upgrade the CMS behind your website. It should have taken only 30 minutes. But the piece of code written specifically for you didn't work with the new CMS verion. The other guy wasted time rewriting it.

And then you get the bill. It's generous. You only pay a couple of hundred of Euros. And it even didn't take a whole month to get it done!

It sucks. Instead you could've just used a web service and never have had to bother. There's no waiting, no extra payment, no need to point out the exploits yourself. It wouldn't have been your responsibility. 

Any CMS is feature- not user-centric.

One way of creating an application is to build everything around what user wants to acheive. It's an ascetic path. The key is to keep it simple. To drop any excess step, any unnecessary decision point, any long tail tool. It's about predicting the workflow. It's about constant improvement. Edicy is born this way.

Edicy blog post editing view

Another aproach is how the CMSs are made. It's about building everything around features. And there's any feature or plug in you can imagine. Not to mention the unimaginables. All this fun comes with a payoff. No one curates this load. Your experience is bloated with options, decision points, excess tools.

Joomla blog post editing view

The drawback is huge. Simple tasks take time and effort because the interface is too crowded. Every new user needs to be trained as the workflow isn't intuitive. Behavior differs per plugin. The only optimized thing is the developer experience.

Combined with everything else that sucks about owning custom hosted websites, you should think twice before investing in them.

Replies to this post

  • Tom Jun 07

    Looks like a cleverly made article marketing stunt. Has some valuable points tho. Even if you install custom CMS like joomla, drupal, wordpress or any other, you still have to go through a lot of unneccesary stuff to get a website up and running. But on the second hand, let's admit it, Edicy is kind of a mix between joomla and wordpress, isn't it :)?

  • Tõnu Jun 07

    Edicy is like Wordpress where the bloated parts are removed. Hope we actually don't resemble Joomla in any way — that's a broken platform and I can't see a way how it can be fixed.

  • kevin lindsay Jun 09

    Man - just had a recent play with Wordpress for a client - you need a degree in rocket science to figure out the UI - up there with google ad words. Keep the powerful simplicity and beauty of the edicy system going and you'll have us not so techie designers coming back for more.

  • Max Pierpont Jun 09

    I hate joomla

  • Thomas Jun 09

    Enjoying working with edicy... It just works!

  • Robert Jun 12

    I like the aura, the way of thinking around this Edicy-thing and all, from time to time I've thought about beginning using Edicy (I've done around 4 tries with different projects) and I've pretty much always managed to end up with a headache (for example because of lack of certain functionality) and switched back to writing html myself or use WP on some of the virtual servers I already have. Hopefully there will be a day I really feel the flow and I finally get along with this environment.

    And second is that "edicypages" is simply too long and confusing to tell :)

  • Tõnu Jun 13

    Guys — appreciate your feedback! Thanks. Robert, everyone — let us know what Edicy is lacking. We are improving Edicy mostly based on user feedback. Thomas here can confirm. It doesn't mean that we take every request into development. But we really listen and react. Try us. BTW you can have your own domain instead of .edicypages.com.

  • Caspar Sep 04

    Hm. Any CMS is feature- not user-centric. That one makes me think, you sure make a point here.

    On the other hand, a clear downside on services like edicy is: you never know if they go away. And when.

    My brother-in-law is a professional photographer. He used a web service for his business to build a photo database and sell pictures. The service had 100thousands or so of users, and all seemed fine. From one day to the other they were GONE. And so was his business foundation.

    Such a thing would never happen to a software like WordPress. It's open source and it's big. It'll be here in 10 years, regardless of how Automattic will be doing then.

    Anyway, thanks for the input!
    Btw, typo: it's "version", not "verion".

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