DIY vs. Pro: When to Hire a Professional Web Developer
With countless easy-to-use website builders on the market today, business owners and managers find themselves asking one question, “Should I build my own website or hire a web developer?”
Much like with IKEA furniture, website builders are user-friendly and look great but they’re also limited in their functionality and features. Conversely, hiring website developers—much like hiring a bespoke furniture designer—guarantees you a high-quality, personalized website but can get costly quickly depending on your needs.
If they’re smart, businesses—especially small to medium-sized businesses—can reap the cost-savings benefits of DIY website builders while still tapping into the profit-boosting skills of web professionals.
Website Builder vs. Web Developer
Before we “hack” into the pros and cons of website builders and web developers, let’s first make sure that we understand the differences between them.
Builder: Broadly speaking, a website builder is a tool that allows you to build a website without having to use or understand coding languages and programming though some builders allow varying amounts of access to program and feature coding. The more complex web builders—referred to in the industry as content management systems (CMS)—often require some minimal amount of coding competency for enhanced functionality. Web builders can be both online proprietary products or offline programs, though offline options are more tailored towards web design.
In essence, website builders are tools that empower you to “build” a website without having any knowledge of internet engineering or architecture.
Pros and Cons of Website Builders
Website builders are great for small businesses looking to create a basic website. Builders such as Wix and GoDaddy offer “click and drop” interfaces that allow you to edit, customize and personalize existing templates for website features such as image galleries, blogs, contact forms, and even digital stores.
- Cost-saving: Most website builders offer affordable monthly subscriptions, bundling services such as web hosting and domain names into various packages.
- Time-saving: From set up to launch, website builders, save you time. Bundled services create one-stop shopping and pre-built templates bring you closer to completion.
- Easy-to-use: Website builders pride themselves on their ease of use. Once again, pre-built templates take care of user experience and interface hurdles while downloadable applications make customization as simple as “drag and drop”.
- Built-in Features: Most website builders have pre-existing features such as blogs, image galleries, and stores that make setting up a business website easy. With some builders, there is no need for third-party applications that can interfere with functionality.
- Scalable: Once you’ve built your own website and loaded it with your own content, it’s easy to seek the help of a professional web developer as your business grows. Web developers can take what you already have and use their skills to scale it up—not unlike an engineer reinforcing an existing structure and adding a new wing.
- Hidden Costs: As affordable as website builders are, they often have hidden costs and fees. Many businesses—especially large businesses that need multiple logins and accounts or that have media-intensive websites—may also have to opt for expensive premium packages that are, in the long run, comparable to hiring a professional.
- Generic Features: Part of what makes website builders so easy to use and efficient is the fact that they offer variations on generic, basic websites. Websites offer an opportunity to further brand your business and establish your voice and working off of templates can limit your ability to capitalize on the benefits of a branded website. Additionally, businesses that require more complex features will have difficulty finding compatible third-party applications or may have to hire a web developer to build the features.
- UX, UI, and Cross-Platform Functionality: Since about 2017, at least 50% of web traffic originates on mobile devices. DIY web building tools tend to focus inordinately on desktop functionality while offering little to adjust to mobile traffic. Web developers, designers, and content creators work closely together to optimize the user experience and interface across platforms, creating mobile-friendly websites that help to grow your business.
It’s Time to Call in the Geeks
There’s nothing wrong with website builders and savvy business owners know how to take advantage of the cost savings they bring. Nevertheless, there comes a time when your business will outgrow its DIY website and require the skills of a team of geeks to take it to the next level.
Whether you’re hoping to build a whole new website or you simply want to update and upgrade the site you built yourself, Geek Power can get you there. Our team of developers, designers, and content creators can help you to grow your business through your website, handling everything from foundation to finish.
Check out our portfolio and find out why we’re the best web design company in Toronto.