Decision Time: Web Designer vs. Website Builder

The World Wide Web continues to expand exponentially. This opens an interesting debate that focuses on choosing between a professional web designer vs. website builder. The key difference between the two is a website designer builds from scratch. In contrast, a website builder provides ‘canned’, customizable solutions.

The Great Debate – Web Designer vs. Website Builder

Right now, there must be tens of thousands of people scattered around the world trying to decide between hiring a web designer vs. website builder. As you might expect, there are sound arguments in favor of both camps, hence this article.

Take 1 – The Value a Website Designer Adds

Hiring a professional website designer means finding someone with the right, proven skills set. They should be able to share an impressive portfolio with contactable references, irrespective of whether they are self-employed or working for a firm. Do the research before deciding. They must have the vision to interpret your requirements and translate them into the perfect website. Agree a written requirements specification before starting the assignment. Then,

– What impression does their website make on you?
– Do they have a Review button? If so, read the feedback
– Are they offering a turnkey solution?
– Is the turn-around time to your liking?

Read and understand the contractual obligations carefully, particularly clauses relating to guarantees. Voice your concerns if the contract favors the provider. Moreover, what provisions are in place for minor changes after initial development? Finally, is a service level agreement available for ongoing maintenance and at what cost? Do they have membership of the American Marketing Association?

Now it’s time for a quick crosscheck to find out if you are happy to proceed with a web design company, or an individual web designer. In other words, how comfortable are you with the fit?

Take 2 – Choosing a Website Builder

For many, this might be the only choice because of capital costs. There are many impressive offerings out there in cyberspace, so you need to do some homework before deciding. Here are some helpful tips about what to look for before choosing a website builder:
What range of services are available from the website builder? For example,

– Web hosting
– Is cloud hosting an option?
– Do they have dedicated servers?
– What email services do they provide?

Study the apps hosting available and ask if tutorials are included – here are some popular apps:

– WordPress *
– Joomla *
– Drupal
– Magento *
– PrestaShop
– WooCommerce
– Note: The * denotes optional themes/templates

Check the Support and Back up Levels

This is very important, because you are pretty well on your own. What happens when you need urgent help while setting up your website?

– Is the support free?
– How quickly do the agents respond?
– Is live texting an option?
– Can you get transcript copies?
– What about ratings and reviews for the service provided?

Before signing, understand the tariff structures – precisely what do you get for your chosen option. This should include domain registration and renewal costs. Can you migrate to higher / lower service options? Understand the contractual obligations and the notice are you required to give.

What You Know vs. What You Need

Your decision to have a go yourself or hire a professional depends largely on the scope of your business and your goals. If you need a simple web presence, a website builder is a good enough option. You follow the walkthrough, set up a few pages and go online.
If you’re looking to generate revenue – i.e. attract traffic and convert – you need to be well aware of modern requirements:

Are you familiar with the principles of effective web design?

– How up -to-date are you with users behaviors?
– Can you ensure your site is compatible with mobile technology?
– Do you have the tools to optimize visuals?
– Do you know enough to correct set-coding and improve it?
– Can you identify bugs and fix them?
– Do you have the time to build AND manage a website while running a business?

Bottom Line

The choice between web designer vs. website builder hinges entirely on your human and financial resources. Assuming you have at least a mid-size budget spend, a web designer is a good choice. Since no designer is going to work for less than the going rate, rather sign up for a website builder if your budget is insufficient.