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Which is the better option, Hiring a Web Design Company or using a Web Builder?

50 milliseconds…

On average, this is all it takes for people to form an opinion about your business online. You literally have the blink of an eye to convince the user that your product or service is the right choice for them.

As the good old saying goes, ‘first impressions count’ – so having a professional website that not only is well designed, but that is also filled with great content will immediately build confidence in the user to continue scrolling or clicking through to other pages.

In this article, we will weigh up the pros and cons of each website option to help you decide which is the best direction for you to take. This will also help you make the most tactical, cost-effective decision when it comes to designing your new website.

So, let’s get started.

What is a Website Builder?

These days, there are so many different types of website builders online that allow you to create your own fully functional website without having any technical background or programming knowledge.

For example here are a few of the leading website builders that are quite popular: Wix, WordPress, Squarespace & Shopify, just to name a few. They all have their own content management system (cms) which allows you to login and update / edit your websites content as you go.

Pros : The Benefits of Website Builders

  • User-friendly. These systems are built primarily with beginners in mind. It’s usually as simple as selecting a theme, changing the colours & font styling, then uploading your content and images (in a very brief nutshell).
  • Drag and drop interface. Majority of DIY website builders have a drag and drop functionality. This helps you rearrange the visual elements of your website without any existing coding and programming skills required. Just select the features that you want to add, drag them to your chosen position, and you’re all set.
  • Free. Many website builders either offer free packages or have some really cheap templates to purchase.

Cons: The Downside

  • Not unique. If you are going to use a web builder, there’s a good chance you’ll be using a ‘pre-existing’ template design. This means that your website will look like thousands of other websites using the exact same template.
  • Not compatible. Overtime, you may decide to completely move your website over to another hosting provider or even web builder platform – for example, moving your WIX website over to WordPress. Transporting your site from once site builder to another can be a real pain in the ass as most website builders run on their own individual servers – which mean, you can’t transfer / export the files and basically need to start from scratch.
  • Technical Support. They all offer a support service, but trying to get through to their support can at times be quite challenging, or may take a few days until you hear back from them. Remember, their customer base is tens of thousands, so if a server issue happens, or other general enquiries – you basically just have to take a number and wait.
  • Hidden Costs. Some well known web builders may seem quite cheap at first but when you start adding up their monthly costs (usually in USD) as well as the plugins needed to run your website smoothly (sometimes are third party plugins that also are charged at a monthly fee) – you’ll soon find that after 12 months, those costs really start adding up. You want to make sure you’re making enough money online from your website to justify the total expense.

So What Can Web Design Companies Do That Web Builders Can’t?

When working with a professional web design company, you’ll find that the first thing they want to do is get a strong understanding of your business. The second part is to understand your ideal customer. You see, when building a website, it’s not just about designing the best possible layout, it’s understanding your audience and building a site that solves your customers problem. After all, a potential customer is coming to your website not to look at pretty pictures, its because they have a problem that they want you to solve.

The overall web design briefing process is very detailed and specific. The designer and digital strategist will work with you on colours, layouts, competitors as well as lead generation and conversion strategies to really make sure your website is working hard for you 24/7.

Working with web design experts on your side, you are able to focus on building your individual business online, not only to create a visually stunning online presence, but also strategise with you to create a high converting website that drives enquiries and sales.

Pros : The Benefits of Web Design Company

  1. Dedicated Team. A really good Web Design Company will focus on lead generation as well as designing a great looking website. Their staff are highly skilled in all areas of design and marketing and can offer a complete service to help launch your business online.
  2. Your web design team will be available to assist you with all aspects on your account, in most cases they will assign you an account manager to deal with the one-on-one requests.
  3. Your web design company will be able to provide a maintenance service to make sure you websites system and plugins are always kept up-to-date.
  4. Custom Design. Majority of Companies offering a website design service provide a ‘custom’ website design service. This means, all their sites are created from scratch, so no templates are ever used.
  5. In-house Developers. Web Design Companies will have their own team of developers, which means any customization is all done with the team / company you are working with and you don’t have to outsource or hire a third party – all programming will be done by the original development team.

Cons: The Downside

  • Price. Paying for a custom website isn’t cheap. End of the day, if you want quality, if you want individual features and functionality that are unique to your brand and customer experience, you need to pay for that service. In the end of the day, ‘you get what you pay for’. If someone is selling you a $500 website, there’s a good chance it’s going to be average… probably below average (let’s be honest!)
  • Time frame. Custom designing and developing a website will take time as your web design team is building everything from scratch.
  • Avoid the Web Cowboys! If you decide to get a custom web design created, this doesn’t mean every website design company out there is going to do a great job. Like any industry, you have leaders in their field and you have average service providers that are only interested in your money and not building you a successful online business. So make sure you check their reviews, see what people are saying. Check their portfolio – is the quality of work what you’re after, if not – there’s a very good chance you won’t be getting what you’re after from that Company, so shop around!

Conclusion    

Now that you’ve been given a little insight into the Pros and Cons of web builders compared to a web design company, the choice is ultimately up to you. As business owners, you have to weigh up the good and bad for each option and see which option works for you right now.

Lethal has been building successful custom websites for our clients world-wide for many years now and the one thing that sets us apart would be the online marketing integrated into our website strategies. After all, you’re investing in a website for your business to make you money right? If so, why bother with a website builder that only focuses on design and doesn’t really consider any marketing / lead generation strategy.

I would love to hear your feedback, feel free to leave a comment below.

To your success.
Lee Rekman