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Hiring a website designer or working with a web design firm could be a real strain on your pocket. So, you might be wondering if there’s a way out to get yourself an excellent website without having to bear such massive costs. When you speak about this, what first comes to mind are professional web builders like Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, etc. that allow you to build websites for free.
But this could be a tedious and tough choice for you! You may need to ask yourself a few questions and give your answers a thought. How many hours would it take you to learn a web building platform? Will those platforms allow you to add in elements you need and want on a templated website? Would you be hiring a professional to make updates for you? What would you do if the person is not available when you are facing an issue? Will the site be suitably optimized to deliver a seamless performance? Would you get your SEO options to rank on the SERPs?
The fact is that hiring a professional web designer or web design firm is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you own a new business without much revenue, then using an affordable web builder would be a wise decision.
On the contrary, if you are the owner of a small or medium-sized business, a free website builder could actually cost you thousands of dollars in wasted working hours. Also, the opportunity cost of lost potential revenue will increase.
Understanding the underlying meaning of a web builder and a web designer
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Online Website Builder Platforms
A website builder is a technologically automated substitute for a web developer with web design and coding knowledge. To build a website with a web builder tool like Squarespace or GoDaddy, you will not need any knowledge of CSS or HTML code.
The website builders come with a user interface and several templates with which you can build your website. You can develop your own website with a user-friendly drag and drop interface in return for a small monthly payment.
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A good web designer transforms your vision into reality. The artistic part comprises of the designing, along with a skill set that involves the visual layout and the ergonomics of your website. The developer covers the programming and the coding part. He works on the functionalities of your website. If you are thinking of hiring a professional, you better go for someone proficient in both design and development.
A web design firm comprises of a team of designers and developers who work together, along with an SEO expert or a digital marketing expert. Agencies do use several platforms, but WordPress is the most used among all.
A developer/ designer takes a good look at your business and your offerings and comes up with a website layout that complies with the vision of your business and combines all of it to bring out a cohesive online presence for your business.
Benefits of a Web Builder
User-Friendly Interface: Online website builders are incredibly user-friendly. They are built for novice users; hence, the learning curve is virtually zero. You just have to select a theme you like and rearrange a few elements the way you want it and finally add in your content.
Drag and Drop Website Building: Most web builders come with a drag and drop interface, allowing you to rearrange the visual elements of your website without you needing to have any coding knowledge. You only have to choose your favorite features and drag them to fit in your desired location.
Built-in Technical Support: Web builders know that their users are pure beginners with no technical knowledge. Hence, the web developers come with an accommodating support staff that help you with any issue that you face while building a website. The support staff and the educational resources help you start your site without much difficulty.
Affordable: A web builder involves minimal costs per month, and you can put up a website in a couple of hours.
Fast: Web builders enable business owners to put up a full-fledged website within 24-hours.
Handy Design Templates: Most of the web builders offer decent looking templates, and the best thing you can do it make them work is to copy the templates precisely like they are.
Benefits of Hiring a Web Designer/Developer or Design Agency
Professional Design: When you hire a designer, you get yourself a professional design. You get a competent design from someone who understands design, best practices, colors, fonts, balance, and harmony. A professional also has a sufficient understanding of user interface, information architecture, and visitor flow.
Unique Design: You get your own unique and original design that is not similar to any other design in the online market.
Optimized for conversion: Most web builders have templates that are not optimized to generate visitor conversions. It is because they are trying to appeal to a broader user base, and they cannot tailor it to facilitate a direct conversion path to your specific user path. A good web designer will help structure the design such that it optimizes conversions, leading to more leads and more sales.
SEO Optimization: A competent web designer will have basic SEO knowledge and will know how to do keyword research. He will help you identify the best keywords for your business and structure your website to optimize those keywords.
Constant Support: When you hire a professional, you do not have to look for support or worry about solving issues yourself, if any. You just pick up your phone, give a call to your hired professional, and he will be there to resolve your problems.
Time-saving: When you hire a web designer instead of doing things yourself, you save yourself a lot of your own time that you can use to focus on the other more important aspects of your business as a business owner. If you chose to do things by yourself, you would spend hours banging your head trying to solve the issue, that a designer could solve in a couple of minutes.
Drawbacks of Web Builders
Unprofessional Design: Even though you will find website builders with templates that look good, but you will find only a few of them that look great. You will also not have anyone who understands the significance of marketing to guide you through your website design journey.
Generic Designs: People have flocked around web builders, mainly because they are free. But if you look closely, you will see that all the templates offered by web builders are beginning to look almost the same in some way or the other, and there is no originality because you can never be the only one using a template provided by a platform. There will be tons of other people using it too.
The Template Look: Also, when you use a template, it is noticeable. One who is quite familiar with the internet and the websites coming up in SERPs can very quickly identify whether a site is professionally designed or designed by a free template, just by looking at the site for the first time.
Poor SEO: Most website builders have really pathetic SEO functionalities. They have no robust tools for optimizing your website to rank higher in the SERPs. Also, a web builder cannot do keyword research for you whatsoever.
Loss of Potential Sales: As mentioned earlier, the opportunity cost of lost potential sales will always be a factor when you are considering the cost of having used a namely “free” website builder.
Time-taking: The time that you will be consuming trying to learn and figure out how to make a website using any web builder, you could use that time doing something for your business that would add to its growth and increase the revenue, while a hired professional to build you a website faster than you could do it by yourself.
Complicated Back-ends: Web builders are supposed to and expected to come with an easy-to-use back-end interface. But that is seldom the case. The rigid framework limits your capabilities, and it becomes frustrating when you already have a set visual idea of how your website should look like. Still, these rigid frameworks don’t allow you to do much.
Drawbacks of Hiring A Website Designer
High Upfront Cost: The first challenge that you face while hiring a website designer or a professional web design firm is the high upfront cost. If you have a limited budget, this could be a serious problem for you.
More Time To Launch: Having a website designed professionally does take considerable time. Only the development is likely to take up to two or three weeks. The design is supposed to take three more weeks. Hence, an entire website deployment will take near about six weeks, which is long if you need your website to go live immediately.
You May Not Like the Delivered Design: You might have spent huge amounts on the best designers ever, but you still may not end up liking the design they have given to you. Hence, you will have to ask for revisions, and that will take additional time. And you may not like it even after the alterations have been made.
Variant Pricing: If you ask five different agencies, how much your website development would cost, all the five agencies are likely to offer you extremely various packages. It could be challenging for you to decide which is the perfect pricing deal for hiring a good web designer.
Quality Will Differ: The quality of websites developed in the web design industry could vary wildly. You will find the most inferior designs at the hugest prices and the best designs at the lowest costs. Hence, you can never decide what would work best for you. What you can do is you can look through the portfolio of an agency before you hire it.
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Comparion between Web Builders & Web Designers
|The cost per month is minimal and affordable.
|The upfront cost is enormous, but there are no possibilities for more prices shortly.
|The designs are generic.
|The designs are unique and original.
|Web builders come with WYSWYG drag and drop editors, which works as a CMS.
|A web designer may not offer such a CMS along with the website they have made for you.
|Access & Support
|Web builders come from big companies that are challenging to reach out to in case of minor or major issues faced.
|Professional web designers are just one call away.
|Web builders offer limited customization options, and hence, often, you do not get the design you want.
|With web designers, you can freely customize the design of your website without any limitations. They can accurately deliver the design you have briefed them about.
|Most web builders do not come with competent SEO features, which minimalizes your chances to rank higher in the major SERPs.
|Professional designers have basic SEO knowledge, and hence they make websites that enable SEO proficiently, along with including keywords in the content at times.
|Website builders could take you just a day or two to deploy a website.
|Web designers take at least two to three weeks to deliver a fully functional website.
Still, stuck at which one to choose- web builder or web designer/ developer? The conclusion is that websites are best built by professional web designer sand developers, especially when the site is for commercial purposes. But whether or not you should hire a web designer depends on the financial resource you have in hand and the risks you can afford to take.
If your business has not brought sufficient revenue yet, and you do not have much money to spend on a professional, yet you need a website, you should go for a web builder for the time being.
On the contrary, if you have earned sufficiently and have the budget to spend on a professional service, you should surely hire web designer of a web designing agency to build your website.