What is the difference between a website designer and a website builder?
For a small business it is tempting to use free tools to create a website for your business. But in the end, it will often cost your business a lot of money in wasted hours and potential lost revenue.
To use a web designer to create a website may not seem like a good idea initially but in the long run it will be far more beneficial and cost effective for your business.
What is a website builder?
This is a tool such as the likes of Wix etc, that you can use to create a website without having any design or code knowledge.
Instead of knowing how the coding works you are encouraged to choose from set templates and to fill in the pre-set spaces with your information. That way you don’t have to learn any coding language. However, it is not as great as it sounds.
The builder will allow anyone with a computer to setup their own website that looks reasonable and works ok. You may have come across these types of websites whilst browsing and found them not to look brilliant or work ok. Hence you may have moved onto another website that works a lot better. Because of this those businesses would be losing money if no-one is going onto their site.
Creating a website using a website builder on your own may sound tempting to you because it seems easy to use.
However, you need to consider the 6 reasons below before you are tempted to go for a website builder.
1) Potential Cost
You may be tempted by the ‘from only £6 per month ‘advert with a domain name and hosting included. Sounds to good to be true and affordable paying monthly as opposed to paying a big upfront cost. However, this charge would be for a very basic site and if you wanted it to have additional features such as a sliding gallery etc form either the provider or a 3rd party service provider, then that would be extra cost. So, from starting off as a cheap investment it can become quite costly in the long run. Or you may think that you will have addon’s later when you can afford them but that may never happen. You could well be left with a half-built website that you are not happy with and which in turn will not attract the customers that you need.
If on the other hand you paid for a web designer to create your website for £1500+vat. Yes, you will have a bigger cost to pay in the first year (the web designer may let you pay in three monthly instalments) and you will have the website that you wanted working and with all the features that you desired.
You also have to consider the value of revenues. If you have a professional, clean and easy to use website then this is going to rank much higher in the search engines, bring more traffic to your website and in turn generate more leads. You may get a much better return on investment then you initially thought. A well-designed website will build your online reputation and also build trust with your visitors.
On the opposite side if you have a low-quality site that is not so easy to navigate and has no features what so ever then your audience will not want to visit your website and could favour a competitor’s site instead. Thus, you will miss out on potential revenue.
2) Transferring files
If you use a website builder and then want to transfer your site to a new server you’re going to run into several issues. Services like Wix are built on their own specialised system which makes migrating their files almost impossible. The chances are that you’ll have to start over again, as the time that it would take to figure out the migration will likely take longer than building a whole new website.
Other web builder services may let you transfer some files but they also have their own native systems so things like shops and forums will not be able to be transferred and you will lose valuable data meaning you will have to start from scratch again.
By using a web designer means that you will never run into this type of issue as you will be able to host on the design agencies server. These will be standard systems and will mean it will be easy for you to transfer files from one server to another. You just need to clarify with them that they are using an open platform such as WordPress and not their own custom made system.
If you start with a website builder and then your business and traffic increases then your site may not be able to cope with the demands. You will then require faster and up to date features that a web designer will be able to add but this may not be as easy via a web builder.
In the long run it is best to start with a web designer as you will eventually need one to help and support you as you grow with demand. They will have to create you a new site in the end because it will be too difficult to transfer sites from a web builder.
3) Time intensive
If you use a web builder, then this means that you will have to do everything yourself. This would include teaching yourself how to use the specific system that the builder you chose operates on, as well as the time to build the site.
Do you have the time to do this? How much is your time worth? As a business owner would you be better off spending it on what you know ie running and growing your business. How many hours do you have to spare to focus on the website? Can you really give up your weekends to focus on the website and how many weekends are you willing to sacrifice?
Website design companies are professionals, they know their trade and, in the time, that it takes you to build a generic, low quality site they could build you a high quality bespoke, well designed site with lots of helpful features for your business.
Work out your hourly rate times the hours saved by not having to learn how to use a website builder and you could be part way to paying for a website built professionally.
4) Poor Design
While a website builder can make sites look ok, none of them look great. You never go to a site built by Wix and say ‘Wow’ that site looks amazing.
A lack of creativity and design knowledge means your site will be uninspiring to your visitors. They are more likely to move onto another site that looks and feels more inspiring. A web designer will build you a site that catches your audience’s attention so that they will come back time and time again.
According to statistics 48% of people think that a website’s design is the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business. With website builders your design is using a generic template therefore there will be hundreds of thousands other websites out there that will look exactly the same.
Customers know that a business that can’t spend more then £20 on their brand should not be trusted as they look spammy. Without that confidence they will not invest into yours.
‘You get what you pay for’.
6) Poor SEO
Something that a website builder will not tell disclose to you is that the Search Engine Optimisation is terrible. Because of the way the website is built the coding will be messy thus making it difficult for search engines to interpret. You will not have control therefore you will not be able to optimise it yourself for local search and making it hard for your site to rank for search terms relevant to your business.
Do you own a local business? Having a site professionally designed can mean that you are optimised for local SEO, giving you the chance to be one step ahead of your competitors, building brand awareness and generating more traffic to your site.
If your business already does most of its transactions via online searches, then by using a web builder you could damage your reputation by having a poorly built website.
If you have an enterprise business that is generating large sums of money, then your customers expect you to have a professionally designed website. By having a poor site, you will not be reaching out to new customers.
If you are setting up your own business on your own as a service provider, then you need to have a well-designed website. Unlike established bigger companies who already have a reputation you need to sell your self to compete with them. A poorly designed website will not convey the right message and you will not be taken seriously with your work.
A start-up business needs to do well and as quickly as possible, so a great website could be the difference that will make your business a success and not a failure.
You may be tempted to keep costs down but start-ups plan for the long term and expect to be in business 3 years from now. They know that to keep customers happy and meet demand they need a well-built website. Hence, they will invest in a web designer to create their website.