Over the course of the last five years or so there have been many advancements in the web design industry. Advances such as responsive design, improvements in core languages, and even the slow elimination of Adobe Flash. The most notable change in the industry however is the slow elimination of a website designer thanks to the emergence of the website builder.
A website builder is aimed at helping those that consider themselves less “tech savvy” when it comes to the world of web development. The goal is to be able to drag and drop your website together without the need or expense of hiring a freelancer or design agency. Companies such as WIX provide such a solution but are not the only option.
New site builders are launched every year, and it’s easy to buy into the hype from them with their large marketing budgets. Like any other technology on the market, there are pro’s and con’s to using a website builder or hiring a developer.
As a designer myself you’d probably be surprised to hear me say that choosing a website builder can be the right choice.
The trick is to know when that is and which service to use.
Being sold on the ease of use for a website builder is one of the big draws. The second is the price.
Businesses big and small all want to save money. When it comes to marketing your product or business this reigns true. The web development world is one of a great range when it comes to pricing. You can spend over $10,000 for a website or as little as a hundred. As the old saying goes though, you quite often “get what you pay for” .
It seems too good to be true, and quite often it is. A designer charging almost 90% off the regular price should raise red flags for anyone investing in their business. You’ll find yourself paying more money to fix the problems that arise, or you’ll be pulling your hair out because of the communication barrier. $400 on a project should indicate to you that they don’t do this for a living. If you don’t have the money to invest into a website, you’re better off postponing the development of it. Hiring amateur or foreign works to do your business can lead to a lot of headaches down the road.
Not everyone has the budget to spend to hire someone who knows what they’re doing, which is where website builders are helpful.
Builders are conventional and for many it works.
Take a local restaurant. Simply put you need your menu online, contact information and perhaps reservations or reviews. It’s highly unlikely that a restaurant owner needs to go out and spend thousands of dollars to accomplish this. These types of things are typical features of a website builder.
Most problems for owners will come to personal preference through look and feel. Having a niche specific style, you’ll probably want to replicate that feel on your website. Perhaps you’re a rustic Italian pizzeria and want to mimic your old Italian feel on the website. These things will be harder to accomplish without hiring a website designer.
Probably 80% (or more) of all websites these days are conventional. All business owners are looking to do nothing more then advertise their product, location, or service. In most instances, a website builder will accomplish this.
Convention for the builder, the customization for the designer.
If you’re not particular on the look or feel of a website and just want the functionality, a builder is the way to go.
There’s always a catch with things being easy and cheap. In the world of website builders, it comes in the form of marketing and more specifically SEO (search engine optimization).
Website builders accomplish great things to help people get their website online. The end user typically ties that into social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. The problem lies with people who are searching to find that website.
Every day hundreds of thousands of people search Google looking for an answer to their problems. Reviews on products, companies, and such are just the beginning. Having a Facebook fan page of 500 people is great for any local business but most fail to realize that this rarely (or slowly) builds a bigger customer base. Page owners advertise their products and services to existing customers when potential new ones are using search engines to seek out and find their competitors.
Many website builders come with poorly structured code resulting in them reaching the top of search results. A properly designed and well structured page can push your business into the next stratosphere.
Note: Keep in mind that hiring a designer won’t guarantee results, hiring an SEO expert will.
Let’s not forget the time it will take to learn the system as well. As mentioned “Time Is Money” and learning to use a new program could be better spent elsewhere.
In this day and age, of course, there is an in between. That being premium themes. If you’re willing to spend the time to learn a website builder, you could be better off investing into a one-time fee for a premium theme on a popular CMS like WordPress.
I’ve done all my recent work on the WordPress platform and as an SEO and designer it’s one of (if not) the best options available.
Every day new themes are uploaded to sites like ThemeForest, and every day thousands of sales are made. The learning curve is greater than using a website builder, but it will give you exactly what you’re looking for when it comes to design.
It won’t guarantee any top ranking results either, but the clean and structured code of the WordPress platform will set you higher on the Google totem pole.
In this day and age there are countless of solutions to getting your business online. A custom designer will cost you more but will provide a better experience, better design, and less headache. On the other hand, a website builder will save you money potentially in the long run but will lack in certain areas like SEO. If you’re a hands on type of person then buying a theme could be the way to go. You’ll have to take a good amount of time to learn the system but in the long run you’ll get the website you or your business are looking for.
My advice, if you just want something online without the worry of building a customer base through your website, use a builder.
On the other hand if you’re looking to market and grow your business you can do one of these two things.
First, if you have a lucrative budget, hire a designer (preferably Sixo Media) and use the money to invest in both the design and SEO aspect. If you don’t have the budget, but need to do both, buy a theme and hire a designer to set it up while spending the rest of your budget into SEO.
Sixo Media provides such service. Clients looking to build their business are better to spend more of their budget in marketing. A great design is important but if no one can find it, it’s irrelevant.