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Website Builder vs Web Developer

As developers and end users, we have all asked ourselves this question – “Are DIY website builders better than hiring a Web Developer? You may have come across these “free” build you own website ad campaigns while browsing through the web. They started gaining popularity around 2011. This article compares using a website builder with hiring a professional developer.



What are Website Builders?

According to Wikipedia’s definition, website builders are tools that enable you to build a website without any manual coding. Their user interfaces are very intuitive and easy to use. They normally come with free predesigned templates that you can easily edit by literally dragging and dropping items such as images or text.

Most website builders are “free” – nothing really is for mahala 🙂

Website builder companies normally generate their income through;

  • Hosting (charging you an annual / monthly fee for storing your site on their servers)
  • Offering a customised domain name (www.yourcompanyname.com)
  • Selling plugins (additional functionalities for your site like a booking calendar etc.)
  • Advertising on your site (third party ads or ads specific to the website builder company)
  • Charging a fee for helping you build your site using their “free” website builder (in which case, you should have just hired a developer 🙂 )
Is using a website builder a good idea?

Sometimes. If you are a start-up company and you are just looking at having some sort of online presence and you are on a low budget then using a website builder may not seem like a bad idea. Website builders are great if you have a tight budget. The only problems with website builders are

  • They normally don’t offer great SEO. This means that people would have difficulty finding your site unless they explicitly enter your url in their browser. This may be problematic if you are looking for a website that will generate sales leads.
  • Some website builders have responsive issues and may not correctly scale down to be viewed on mobile devices or tablets
  • You may get hit with a shocking “Annual website builder fee”. Please make sure that you read the fine print before signing up to use a “free” website builder.
  • Functionalities are limited. Lets say that you’re looking for a website that will enable you to create events and sell tickets to these events via your website. This may require some coding skills. Using a website builder could limit functionality capabilities.
  • Although they are built to be user friendly, some users may struggle to use them.

I know we sound pessimistic and one sided. So lets look at the advantages of using a website builder;

  • Templates – website builders come with tons of fancy premade templates that you can personalise
  • Reduced costs – Finding the right website builder can save you money
  • Reduced time – If you’re good at it, you can create your site with just a few clicks
  • Drag and Drop design – No coding skills needed

In conclusion, website builders are not all bad. They are instances when they would prove to be the best option. However, you would need to consider what exactly you intend to use your website for. Do you just need an online presence? Are you looking to drive sales? Does your website need to have complex functionalities?

These questions should help you decide between using a “free” website builder or hiring a developer. If you have found this article to be helpful, please leave a comment in the section below.

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