In the hustle to start up a website, many aspiring webmasters skip the homework phase of researching the market for the optimal web design & publishing solution. They sign up without hesitation for what they think is the easiest and cheapest way to get their site up and running. Others hire expensive designers and coders to pay thousands of bucks for a 5-page corporate website. How to find the optimal solution? Are website builders good enough to use them for business purposes? Should I hire a professional designer? Well, it depends…
Website Builders vs Custom Design
Benefits. One of the most obvious benefits is cost. Site builders rarely cost more than the average cost of a web hosting package offering the same parameters. Besides, there are many free packages allowing you to test the system before upgrading your account. With Wix for instance, your account will remain free as long as you need until you decide to connect your own domain and unlock more features.
If you opt for a website builder, you’ll be the boss of your project. You’ll get control over everything – design elements, layout, functionality and content. There will be no need to ask your designer to make edits and send different versions of the same button to you over email. This will significantly speed up the process and make it more fluent. Additionally, you’ll be able to update and maintain your website independently in the future, while with a custom made site you’ll have to hire a content manager and have a designer-on-call.
Disadvantages. Web design is an art and vast subject that requires many years of training, experience and constant research. This is actually what you are paying for when hiring a professional team of designers, developers and SEO experts. Though leading website builders tend to introduce new features and templates as soon as new web design trends emerge, they will not assist you in making the right decision when selecting the right layout, color palette, imagery, button style and other important elements that make up the overall look and feel of a website. Website builders are brilliant, incredibly easy-to-use tools, but they still require a great sense of style and aesthetics.
It’s also important to touch upon security and reliability issues. While with custom made sites you get full data control and are free to move your website to any web hosting, transporting your site from a site builder can be a real pain. In most cases, website builders run on the company’s servers only. Just a few website builders (mostly offline site construction kits) work as independent site building applications. With MotoCMS for example you are free to host your website anywhere on the web. You pay once for a CMS template that comes equipped with an inbuilt CMS, set of widgets and other features, and then you can upload it to the web server of your choice.
Website Builders vs WordPress
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems used to create blogs, portfolios, business and other website types. So I’m often asked what is better: WordPress or website builders? The answer depends on your webmastering experience, project requirements and some other aspects.
Benefits. Website builders are easier to use. WordPress isn’t complex either, yet it does require some HTML knowledge. It’s easy in terms of content management, but when it comes to design configuration it can be a headache for non-tech-savvy users. As opposed to WordPress, online site builders like Webydo for example allow users to make pixel-perfect edits in the What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get editing environment simply by dragging, dropping, resizing and rotating web design objects.
When it comes to security and maintenance, website builders seem to be the clear winner. Their systems are being updated automatically, and their servers are monitored 24/7. In other words, you get everything you need to run a website easily in one place. With uCoz for example you can get a domain, hosting, templates and professional assistance under the same roof. No need to create multiple accounts: one for your web hosting, another for domain, one more for your site builder etc.
Disadvantages. WordPress websites are easier to transport than sites created using website builders. While site builders usually have fixed feature sets (some offer App markets), there are thousands of WordPress plugins allowing you to expand your website as your business grows.
Hopefully, this brief post has shed some light on the topic of website builders’ place in the web design industry, as well as their benefits and disadvantages.
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