Website Developer vs. Website builder – Which should you choose?

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Website Developer vs Website builder – What are the pros and cons of a website developer vs a website builder?

In this post, I will explore the question Website Developer vs Website builder, which is should you choose?’ I will explain some of the reasons why I think a site built by a website developer is better than any website builder.

What is a website builder?

Website builders are tools that typically allow the construction of websites without manual code editing. While these fall into two categories the most popular one (and the one we are discussing here) is the online proprietary tools provided by web hosting companies such as WIX.

Website Builder Examples

The pros and cons of the increasingly popular website builder:

Cons

  • Often flash based, higher long-term costs, site builders do not care about your success, littered with ads and annoying banners, spammy URLs, a limited number of pages, no domain name, company branding and overall reduced credibility for your business.

Pros

  • Cheap as chips (often free), quick to set up, do it yourself and I genuinely couldn’t think of any others so please tweet me any suggestions @cebcreative!

Let’s explore what some of those points above actually mean for your website.

Flash is an outdated software that is no longer supported on some browsers. If your site is built in flash, it’s pretty much useless and as for SEO, forget it!

flash website error

The fact that these companies don’t have any vested interest what so ever in how successful your website is at winning you work means they put little effort into facilitating tools that would enable you to do this effectively. Website builders often make big claims about SEO capabilities but these are often vastly over stated. They work on volume and advertising revenue.

Your website is the online face of your brand so having someone else’s logo and branding splashed all over it isn’t a good start. Free website builders will add their name to your URL and in the footer of your site, so it appears on every page!

Cheap or free? Here’s the thing, free website builders are never really free. Almost all the ones I know of do offer a free plan of some kind but the problem with most free website builders is that while they are a great starting place, they’re typically inadequate for fully building out a professional website. 

The most common scenario is, you’ll sign up and invest a lot of time and effort creating your free site, only to find the result to be disappointing. At this point, you will either have to upgrade or switch to a new service and repeat the process all over again. Either way, you’ve caused yourself a lot of undue frustration and wasted a lot of time (time is money and hence why nothing is ever free).

Don’t feel bad if you are reading this thinking “that’s me!”, We’ve all flirted with free website builders. I built my first website on WIX, and it was, well, crap. Unfortunately, we can’t see how truly awful it was because even Wayback Time Machine didn’t capture a snap shot of it which means Google probably didn’t see it either!

Now we have given everyone’s favourite, the website builder; a bashing, let’s compare it with a website developer.

Website Developer

What is a website developer?

A Website developer is a programmer who specialises in or is specifically engaged in, the development of World Wide Web applications, or applications that are run over HTTP or HTTPS from a web server to a web browser.

The pros and cons of using a website developer:

Cons

  • Expensive (no, I mean really expensive), the process is complicated, they’re probably a weird super geek, on-going costs for changes, building websites is pretty much black magic, you don’t understand it, and you’re worried you won’t get what you asked for.

Pros

  • Best for long-term, one less thing to worry about, expert advice, a well designed and built website and fully optimised for SEO.

Again, let’s explore what some of those points above actually mean.

How much does it cost to hire someone to build a website? Is it expensive? If your definition of expensive is not free then yes, it’s going to cost you a fair bit! If by expensive you mean thousands of pounds then yes, it could potentially, depending on who you hire and what you want.

Can you get a website from a developer for less than £1000? Definitely, you can come to me for that! Want one for less than £500, not if you want expert advice on important things like best practice, user experience and SEO.

Is the process complicated? Not for my clients, I’ve made it very easy and even broken it down into bite size stages.

Am I a weird super geek? No, not at all, you can read my CV just to check though!

Will you have to pay me every time you want to change stuff? Definitely not, I use the WordPress CMS to build all my sites so you can manage your website yourself.

Is it black magic? No, it isn’t, but it can be complicated so best to hire an expert like me to help you.

Will you get what you asked for? Yes, but only if it’s what you need, and a professional website designer is the best person to advise you on that.

A professionally built and well-designed website on a stable platform like WordPress is ideal for your long term plan. I will give you the best advice based on my experience of best practice and user behaviour to ensure your website appeals to your target market. Search engines love WordPress so your site will be ready to get you found in the search results and allow you to grow your business.

Isn’t WordPress a website builder?

Yes, WordPress.com is a website builder, but I don’t use that to build my websites. I use the self-hosted version of WordPress or WordPress.org. You can find out more about the differences between the two here.

WordPress.com Websites

If you can’t decide whether to hire a website developer or do it yourself, I hope this post has cleared up a few things for you and made your decision easier. If you want to hire a freelance website designer, contact me today to talk about your project.

Hire a freelance web developer!