When it comes to a new website, there are many options and considerations for you to choose from. Do you build the website yourself using a website builder? Do you hire a professional web designer? What should your budget be? How do you maintain the website? The list goes on….
In this post, we’ll attempt to answer at least some of these questions whilst covering the pros and cons of the different options available to you.
So let’s go…
What is a Website Builder?
A Website builder is a software or a set of tools which has been built by Software Developers. The aim being to help those with little to no knowledge of coding, designing or building their own websites, with doing just that (build their own website).
To do this, Website Builders comes already coded, ready to use out the tin if you like. There are predetermined functions and templates which are used by dragging and dropping to get the result you want.
You’ve likely come across some website builders as they rise in popularity. These being, Wix, Squarespace, Weebly etc.
What are the advantages of a Website Builder?
The main advantage of any Website builder without a doubt is the simplicity. They are easy to use as they provide drag and drop functions meaning you have no need to learn or know any code before getting started.
Simply upload images, change the text of template and your good to go (sure there’s a little more to it than this, but you get our meaning).
Website Builders are relatively cheap with Wix’s most basic plan working out at £6.00 a month to give you an idea. Some features are free of charge however further charges may be involved if you want to upgrade your website for example, or if you wanted to add more functionality.
Disadvantages of Website Builders
Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks to using Website builders. One of the main problems being the lack of flexibility. When you use a Website builder you are limited to using the platform’s themes and as such, that themes code.
Depending on your needs, this may not be a problem for you. However, if you are wanting to further customise and tailor your website to match your brand, you may find yourself unable to get things exactly how you’d like them.
In addition, if you did decide that you wanted to move across to another platform in the future, you’d have to start over from scratch.
Although we had cost down as an advantage, this is highly dependant on what you will be using your website for. Wix for instance, offer a limited storage capacity and, once this is exceeded there are additional payments which need to be made in order to upgrade – Not very useful if you’re looking to add more pages/products etc.
There can also be limitations on the number of pages along with certain clauses limiting websites to personal use only.
This may not be a problem for you depending on your business and what you’ll be using your website for, but like most things in life, it makes sense to go into this with your eyes open to avoid further costs down the road.
Finally, the built-in templates which are used for Website builders are the same which are used by thousands of other websites. As you are restricted with the modifications that can be made to code etc, your website isn’t as unique as it could be.
Professional Web Design
Hiring a professional to create you a website, specifically tailored to your business, from scratch is a more thorough procedure. You’ll be working together with them to ensure that your final website looks and works the way that you want it to.
Advantages of professional web design
Unlike using a website builder, you won’t be as restricted with the design of your website. You’ll be able to alter navigation menus, images & colour schemes along with plenty of other aspects. Your website will look professional and branded specifically to your company.
As well as having control over the look and feel of your website, any functionality needs would have been discussed prior to the build. This means that you’re not going to have to upgrade packages and payment plans etc, at a later date when you start adding new content.
Your website will be fit for the task as and when it is made live.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
With a professional website comes more control – especially when it comes to SEO. Your website code can be amended to keep search engines like google happy where needed. Meta descriptions and Schema can be added letting search engines know what services are offered or locations covered etc. And of course, your website can be optimised to ensure that it is as fast as possible.
All of the above makes for an optimised website (of course there’s plenty more to SEO) which helps your business get seen.
Disadvantages of professional web design
Bespoke web design is more expensive – at least upfront.
The reason behind this being, ready-made templates are not used when creating your bespoke website. Instead, time is spent initially in understanding your business along with your requirements and then in the actual build/coding of the site itself.
Most business owners we work with are flat out most of the time so building their own site with a website builder (or otherwise) is extremely difficult to find time for. If your time is more valuable spent on other tasks, this should be weighed into your decision process.
Given that all that a bespoke website involves, it does take time. So if you’re after an over-night website, this may also be considered a disadvantage.
Both website builders and professional web design/developers can get your website up and running. Both are good options to consider when looking to move forward with a new web project.
The goals you have for your website should factor strongly in which option you decide to choose from. Personal/Non-commercial sites can work really well with website builders but if you’re serious about a professional website, its worth having a discussion with a professional.
If you did want to discuss any further, feel free to get in touch – we’re happy to help.