Should You Use a Website Builder or Hire a Professional?
In recent years, the high demand for websites has led to the establishment of companies that offer free, low-cost web design and development. There are so many to choose from, including Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, and Jimdo. What makes these services unique is their do-it-yourself nature, allowing customers to create their own web portals using intuitive and incredibly user-friendly platforms that both simplify and expedite the process. What’s best, however, is that no expertise in the design and development fields is required. Beautiful, modern templates are provided, and functionality is readily accessible with a click or drag-and-drop.
With these websites as an option, you no longer need to be a designer and developer to craft your own web presence. In addition, if you’re responsible for your business costs, the idea of not having to hire external parties to create your website sounds like a dream come true. While this might be true, there are certain instances in which hiring a web designer and developer to create your custom website might be the better route to take.
I’ve come up with a few questions you should ask yourself to determine if working with a website builder or one-on-one with a professional might make the most sense for your next website project.
1. ...Am I looking for a unique website experience?
Web builders offer a nice array of visually-appealing design templates that can be easily customized from design and content standpoints. You can take out or add new features and enhance predefined widgets, all to mold your website’s ideal functionality. But what if you’re looking to have a website that’s highly unique in both its design and user experience? What if you’re hoping to innovate and “wow” your target audience? A web designer can create something for you that’s distinct and fully engages your viewers. You’ll avoid taking the risk of having a website that looks, feels and acts like others out there.
2. ...Do I know exactly what I want and need out of my website?
When embarking on your website project, there are many questions you need to ask yourself beforehand.
- What is the main goal of the website?
- What’s the appropriate look and feel?
- What functionality do I need?
These are just a few of the questions that would define your choice of template, sitemap, design choices and widgets. If you’re unsure of how to proceed, need advice or want to expose yourself to other possibilities, working with a professional web designer or developer would benefit you tremendously.
3. ...Do I envision my website changing over time?
Your business will evolve and with it your website will as well. If you want a website that’s fully flexible and responsive to future changes in structure or design, working with a website builder may disappoint you in the long run.
For instance, some services do not give you the option of switching to a different design template with your content untouched once one is selected and refined. Since some functionality is dependent on templates, you may lose the opportunity to make enhancements or major overhauls, unless you don’t mind picking another template that supports your desired features and doing it all over again. On the other hand, working with a knowledgeable web designer and developer would allow you to make your website changes in a much more efficient manner, without the limitations that website builders present.
4. ...Do I have the time to do this on my own?
Creating a successful website through a website builder requires a good amount of your time. From deciding which service to use to researching solutions to creating and populating your pages, there’s a big time commitment there. If your website is even a little bit robust or requires template customization, forget about the magical experience you were once promised.
Moreover, keep in mind that you would be responsible for updating its content and making any needed changes moving forward. Considering that extra time is crucial before you start your do-it-yourself experience.
These four questions should give you a better idea of what path is best for you. So think about your options and choose wisely!