By Louise Harris
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 keep up with the latest market trends and fulfill changing customer requirements.
The emergence of advanced tech tools has given birth to website builders that made it possible for non-techie business owners to create and design intuitive websites without writing even one line of code. These digital platforms provide businesses with an easy way to enhance and maintain a robust online existence.
But have you ever thought whether these DIY site builders have curbed the need to hire an experienced web development agency? Or it’s the other way around? Also, the availability of multiple options has made it even more challenging for entrepreneurs to choose the best 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. Moreover, it will also give you an idea of factors to consider before making your final call.
What is a website builder and how is it different from custom web development?
Site builders are online tools that allow users to create websites without doing any web designing or coding. They comprise pre-built templates and visual page editors which you can use and edit all the elements of your website.
Squarespace, GoDaddy, Wix, and Weebly are a few of the most popular site building platforms with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface with which makes the process seamless for users who have no experience working with HTML, CSS, and any other programming languages.
On the other side, custom web development is the more professional approach where you need to work with experienced web developers and convey your specific business requirements so that they can build a tailored website accordingly.
You can also have an in-house development team but in most cases, it’s quite expensive. So, partnering with one of the many custom web developers is a better choice. But don’t forget to do your homework before making the final decision.
How are these approaches different from each other?
As each and every coin has two sides, these two methods also have their own pros and cons. So, let’s compare them on the basis of different factors and find out which can work best for your business.
1. Functionality and Learning Curve
Website builders allow you to build simple online sites with easy functionality. It’s tough to create sophisticated websites with these tools as they are blessed with pre-built templates in which 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 you might find it hard to work with a particular tool and need to spend extra time in learning and mastering its functionality.
In case you want to develop an elite website, it’s better to custom develop it with the help of an industry expert. They can create responsive sites quickly and can also integrate complex design components to make it look visually appealing.
Moreover, in custom development, the learning curve is usually small because website owners, programmers, stakeholders, and users all are thoroughly involved in the process and their feedback is important.
2. 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. Also, with digital tools and templates, it becomes easier to launch your website quickly.
Hiring professional programmers can be a bit expensive and hence you should choose this alternative only when you have sufficient bank balance. But this investment proves to be valuable because efficient web development partners will make sure to roadmap your idea in order to give you more control and make you aware of the project progress and regular intervals of time.
To design a customized website you need to hold your horse as it might be a time-consuming process. But because you know there is a professional team working on your project there is no need to be anxious.
3. Flexibility and Customization
The flexibility when working with website builders is limited as you have to work with pre-built themes, plug-ins, and templates. You can’t freely determine the look, feel, or functionality of your site. On the other hand, custom developers provide you with optimum flexibility to take all the major decisions related to the look, layout, and functions of your web portal.
In addition to flexibility, custom development also gives you an opportunity to tailor the product in accordance with your end users’ requirements and market scenario. This isn’t possible when you choose an online tool.
4. Uniqueness and Performance
With website builders, there is a risk that your site might end up looking similar to another website. Also, these sites might have a few performance issues such as dead slow web pages. Generic and sluggish websites won’t appeal to the audience.
But in custom-fit web development, you can give a unique look and feel to your website as well as make it super fast which will definitely attract more visitors and helps in building a sales pipeline for your business with which it will become easier to nurture quality leads and in turn maximizing conversions.
5. SEO, Security, and Post-Launch Support
Digital site builders work with pre-designed themes and templates that are publicly accessible. This increases the risk of websites getting hacked by people with malicious purposes. Also, many of these tools aren’t developed by keeping SEO the sites built might not perform well on search engine rankings. Moreover, these platforms don’t provide prompt support so there is a chance of you getting stuck with a glitch or bug.
On the contrary, custom websites are not as vulnerable. You can easily integrate them with essential elements which can make it rank higher on major search engines. These companies have a dedicated team who is always ready to support you can resolve your issues.
In a nutshell, 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.