Whether you are thinking of creating a website from scratch or updating your existing website, you are likely to come at the cross-road where you have to choose between using DIY website builders or professionally developed websites. A little more than a decade ago, people had no choice but to rely on the services of professional developers to construct a website and make changes to its existing layout.
Over time, website builders and tools have gained popularity and soon became a preferred choice of the tech savvy and even non-techies, as they enabled them to create functional websites without having to hire a professional web designer or developer. However, while website builders provide the ease and convenience, that doesn’t mean they can do or take place of professionals.
Drawing the Line Between Website Builders and Custom Websites
Website builders provide you with the necessary tools and techniques to set up with your website in an inexpensive manner. You get a whole host of free and paid templates to choose from, while the software used for creating a website is fairly user-friendly and intuitive. They often offer free or cheap hosting, add-ons, and support that allow you to add features like contact forms, newsletters, and social feeds.
Generally, their code is proprietary – this means that the private development team of the website builder are the only ones working on updating the software, introducing new apps and extensions, etc. Due to this, they continually fix bugs and issues arising in their software to provide DIY website creators with the ability to seamlessly make their own virtual front of their online business. Website builders are a great option for individuals and small business owners who are on a budget and can do with mainstream design and functionality, without the need a lot of customization.
On the other hand, businesses and brands requires more customization, expertise, and support, prefer working with a web development professional. For them, website is one of the most important elements of their online presence, as it is the face of their business in the digital realm. It serves as an essential marketing tool, and need to get everything right to ensure that their website is the true reflection of their brand, allowing them to effectively send their message across their target market.
Professional web designers are well-aware of the latest technology and industry trends, and pay attention to every detail when making your website. The placement of content and media, calls to action, color palettes, and how everything flows on your website – they take into account everything to ensure that finished product is in line with your brand image and business’s goals.
Depending on your needs and the impact a website has on your organization, you can choose the best option to create the virtual front for your business. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each option, so that it becomes easier for you to make a well-thought-out decision.
Professionally Developed Website
For a customized website, you will have to hire a website development company or an individual developer for create one for you. Here are the pros and cons of getting a custom website for your business.
- Integrate a full range of design customization capabilities to give a personal touch
- Attention to detail on every aspect of the website
- A domain name similar to your business name
- Personalized ongoing support from an expert developer who created your website and knows everything about it
- Personal attention to setting up with the website from ground up
- Use of the latest technologies and advanced marketing tools to enhance its functionality and user experience
- Complete ownership of the web design, even if the designer’s contract gives them some ownership
- The final product is more in line with your expectations
- SEO compliance, which is essential for visibility and credibility among the target market
- You may require searching for and select a competent designer from a mountain of options
- They are more time consuming than DIY sites, as designer requires approval and revisions from time to time
- They are more expensive than DIY sites, costing a few thousand dollars
- You will have to communicate your specifications to your designer, which can lead to back and forth a few times
DIY Website Builders
Many entrepreneurs and business owners are opting for DIY website builders for a number of reasons. However, like every other thing, they have their fair share of pros and cons.
- Inexpensive, and likely to cost you not more than $100
- Pre-prepared professional templates available for free
- Takes a lot less time to launch as compared to custom websites
- Equipped with basic SEO groundwork
- Easy to use – some website builders only require you to drag and drop things you want to add
- Safe and secure web hosting
- Proprietary software updates automatically
- Free plans may not provide the required features and functionality
- Customization is likely to be limited
- Access to only basic SEO and marketing tools and techniques, which may require you to hire an SEO professional
- You may not get ownership to your design – this means that when you decide to switch website providers, you may have to start all over again.
- It takes time to grasp the tools and functions to fully utilize the builder’s capabilities
When you are stuck between the decision whether to opt for a DIY website builder or custom website, one of the top determining factors can be your budget. There is no doubt that DIY website builders make creating website inexpensive, while you may have to invest heavily to get it designed professionally. However, a well-planned website budget and scope that focuses on the objectives of your business will get you great bang for the buck for your investment. Furthermore, it is likely to pay you back in a short period as your sales increases and you establish a professional online presence among your target audience.
While there is no substitute for the expert assistance and personal attention a professional web designer can provide, websites created using DIY builders are not bad either. It’s a matter of how good you are with the online tools and what your priorities are in terms of brand image and online presence.
by Bobby J Davidson
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