Website Builder vs Hiring a Web Designer - The Truth
Let's face it, for most people starting a new business website project, there are two things that get put to the top of the priority list - price and speed. That's when services offered by companies such as Wix and Squarespace seem really attractive - especially at free or low cost, with the ability to build your own website quickly. So, if these services exist, why hire a web designer? Let's delve into these options a little further.
For most people looking to get a website started, the ads for Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy, etc. will mean a DIY website builder will be their first call. The adverts are slick, celebrity-backed and showcase just how quick and easy it is to set up your own website. They aren't lying either. You really can quickly and easily build a good-looking website using these services.
A website builder is simply a tool that substitutes design and coding knowledge with pre-made templates, drag and drop functions and, point and click features. They help build basic websites quickly and most companies offer a free option to get started.
A good website developer, designer, or other similar description is generally someone who can take your idea, brand and story, and turn it into an online presence for your business. They will have experience with design, coding/programming and help you understand how to join up your business with your customers online.
Website developers can build something bespoke and beautiful in a sea of similarly designed websites and set you apart. With a website designer, you can be more creative and have more control over your design. So, if you want to make a button slightly bigger, change this image style, set that text to a different font and for all of those, as I call them, "can you just..." moments, a web developer is the way to go.
What makes a good website builder?
Before buying any product or service you should get to know your options, try it out and do some research. It's the same story for website builders. Browse the templates and try out ALL of the features to see what restrictions exist and whether it will be a good fit for your idea. If you get stuck or have any questions, get in touch with the company by email or online support to test out their customer support and find out what the service limitations are.
A good website builder should offer great value (after all this is the main reason most go for this option) and be very easy to understand.
What to look for in a website developer?
I believe that the most important attribute of a website developer is their listening skills. If you book a meeting and your developer starts to go through design options without first getting an understanding of you, your business and your dream - it's a red flag.
You will also need to double-check that you will own all of the rights to your website and be able to access any admin areas or the backend to make changes if you wish.
Your developer should also be able to demonstrate how they can turn your idea into a website, be able to show examples of their work and communicate with you without using jargon. The first meeting is not the time to go through their preference for using a PHP CMS!
Website Builders - Pros and Cons
Low cost - This is an obvious one - some website builders are even free.
Quick to set up - You can build and launch a website within a day.
Look good - Because you'll be using a tried and tested template, most websites built with a builder will look good.
Good, not great - Because you'll be using a template, the website will be generic and won't necessarily match your brand.
Bad SEO - SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the way you optimise your website for search traffic from Google and other search engines. Most website builders are VERY poor performing for SEO.
Time - You'll be doing all the work. When you factor in the time it takes to build a website using a builder, the cost can be huge.
Challenging - Builders are double-edged swords. The thing that makes them popular, their simplicity, is also their downfall. Making simple changes and trying to bring your vision to life can be difficult and even impossible, using a restricted framework.
Website Developers - Pros and Cons
Design - Hiring a website developer means you will get a professional and unique website designed to meet your vision and targets. The developer understands design, user experience and best practices to build a website just for you.
SEO - A good website developer will build your website with SEO in mind, conduct research and optimise everything to deliver results.
Service and Support - If your website developer is anything like us (or is us 👍) then support and their service is incredibly important to them. It's their reputation and quality of service that leads to long relationships and referrals. They will handle all of the domain configurations, security updates and all of the other technical stuff that you have no desire to touch.
Time - Your web developer is building your website for you. Yes, you will need to dedicate some time into providing an insight into your business and vision, but the majority of the work will be carried out by them.
Cost - We can't avoid this one - hiring a web developer will cost more than using a builder. But, not as much as you might think... Although, the price can vary greatly amongst designers.
Time - Building a bespoke website takes time and you can expect a professionally designed website to take between 4 and 12 weeks depending on the complexity.
Risk - You put a lot of trust into a developer. You're trusting them with your reputation and your money so it's vital to check them out and seek reviews.
So, which is right for you - website builder or developer/designer? The short answer is - it depends. If you are looking to start a blog, hobby website or just want to try an idea out then a website builder is probably the way to go.
If your new website is for a business, if the design is important to you, or if you have the budget - you'd be better going to a professional. Going down this route will ensure you end up with the website you want and one that will work for you and your visitors.
Are you ready for a new website or would you like to discuss your requirements? You can get in touch with us by clicking here and we'll be happy to go through your requirements free of charge and with no obligation.