How to fix on whether you need to custom develop your website or leverage a site builder
Websites have become the digital identities for every business and the web development landscape has evolved significantly in the past few years. Entrepreneurs either redesign their existing web presence or create a new website at regular intervals in order to keepup with the latest market trends and fulfill changing customer requirements.
The emergence of advanced tech tools has given birth to website builders which has made it possible for non-techie business owners to create and design intuitive web pages without even writing one line of code. These digital platforms provide businesses with an easy way to maintain an online presence.
- But have you ever thought whether these DIY site builders have curbed the need to hire an experienced online marketing company?
- Or is it the other way around? Has the availability of multiple options made it even more challenging for entrepreneurs to choose between custom web development and website builders?
Let's explore these two approaches in detail and identify the differences so that you can make a well-informed decision for your next web development project.
What is a website builder and how is it different from custom web development?
How to define each of these two platforms
Site builders are online tools that allow non-technical users to create a website without doing any web designing or coding. They comprise pre-built templates and visual page editors which you can use to edit all the elements of your website.
Squarespace, GoDaddy, Wix, and Weebly are a few of the most popular site builders and all have an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Web development becomes seamless for users who have no prior experience of working with HTML, CSS or any other programming languages.
Custom web development is the more professional approach. You will work with an experienced web developer and convey your specific business requirements so that they can build a tailored website that meets your brief.
A medium sized business, may also have an in-house development team. This is cost prohibitive for a small business so, partnering with a professional web developer is often a better choice. But don't forget to do your homework before making the final decision.
How these two approaches are different from each other
Both of these two methods have their pros and cons.
1. Functionality and Learning Curve
Website builders allow you to build a simple online website with basic functionality. It can be a challenge to create a sophisticated website with these tools as they are based on the use of pre-built templates. You can make basic changes but can't integrate complex functionality.
The majority of site builders promise to provide users with an easy-to-use interface, but the limitations of the product and a non-technies lack of experience, often presents a challenge. You will still need to invest time and effort into mastering its functionality.
To develop a sophisticated website that is on brand and matches the UX you need for your target audience it may be better to custom develop it with the help of an industry expert, who will create a responsive website quickly and can integrate complex design components to make it look visually appealing.
If you do down the custom development route, your own learning curve is usually small. Your feedback as the website owner is important, but the developer will be fulfilling your brief and carrying out most of the design and development work for you.
2. Uniqueness and Performance
With a website builder, there is a risk that your site could end up looking similar to one of many others that have used the same tools. Another consideration is performance issues such as slow page load, which will have a knock on with your SEO. Aside from SEO implications, a generic and sluggish website won't appeal to any target audience.
With custom-fit web development, you can create a unique look and feel to your website as well as making it super fast which will definitely attract more visitors and help you build a sales pipeline for your business.
3. Budget and Time To Market
Site builders are affordable and the best choice if you have a limited budget for your web development project. You can easily pick one of the many pre-designed themes and build the site at a reasonable cost. With the digital tools and templates available, you will be able to launch you website quickly.
Hiring professional programmers will be more expensive. But this will likely prove to be a good investment in the longer term, as an experienced web development partner will be sure to roadmap your idea. You will have control over the ongoing development of your website and won't be tied to the restrictions of a site builder.
A custom designed website will probably have a longer development timeline, but your own time input will be much reduced with a professional team working on your project.
4. Level Of Flexibility and Customization Offered
A website builder offers limited flexibility as you will be working with pre-built themes, plug-ins, and templates. You can't freely determine the look, feel, or functionality of your site. In comparison, a custom developer will provide you with optimum flexibility with regards to the look, layout, and functon of your website.
5. Concerns With SEO, Security and Post-Launch Support
Digital site builders work with pre-designed themes and templates that are publically accessible. This increases their vulnerability to visitors with malicious intent and there is more risk of your websites being hacked. Also, many of the site builders have a reputation for being difficult to optimise for Google, which could have a negative impact on your SEO.
On the contrary, custom websites are less vulnerable although not completely risk free. Your web developer will also have access to many plugins and extensions, which they will have tried and tested which all helps with developing a unique website for your business.
What to look for before working with website builders?
I. Intuitive and hassle-free drag-and-drop functionality.
II. The credibility of the seller and seamless support.
III. Variety of plug-ins and pre-built themes and templates.
IV. Past reviews and types of the project accomplished on that platform.
What to look for before working with a customer web developer?
a. Experience and technical know-how.
b. Work culture and market image.
c. Communication policy and projecs completed to date.
d. Clients testimonials and development practices.
In summary, it's better to go for site builders when you want to build a simple website with limited resources. But custom web development can be the best choice for creating sophisticated sites with complex functionality.