In a world where more and more people use the internet to gather information before making a purchase decision, your website is an invaluable tool. But, if you're relatively new to the e-commerce world, how do you know who to hire to build your site?
Deciding whether to hire a website builder or a website designer isn't cut and dry. Besides their costs, you should know what kind of service you're paying for and what the benefits of each are.
Before making any final decisions, keep reading to learn what each of these terms means and what's best for the size and type of business you run.
With a website builder, you can get your website up with very little prior knowledge about coding and design, if any. You use free templates instead of fundamental design tools like Photoshop. You also don't need any experience with coding language, because those items are pre-set for you.
A web builder is a great way to get a website up and running. You simply sign up with one of many web building services and utilize pre-made themes to build your site. You can drag and drop content and get a decent-looking website up within a matter of minutes.
With a website designer or the best website design companies, the sky is the limit. Virtually anything you can imagine in terms of the design and function of your website is possible. They specialize in taking your vision and concept and making it into a website.
But website designers offer more than just design and function customization according to your needs and desires. They offer a degree of creativity that goes beyond what your average developer brings to the table. A really good website designer will take your ideas, and tell you what will work and what won't work.
Beyond that, a professional website designer brings an in-depth understanding of user experience to the table. That means that they'll take the time to understand your business and your customers. Then, they'll design your site with that in mind.
They'll make it easy for your audience to navigate the site and they'll customize the design and structure to make your customers want to stay and engage with you. They work on everything from fonts, colors, and animations that are specific to your business. This not only sets you apart from your competitors, but it facilitates more conversions and sales.
Because of the degree of customization and added value of an eye for user experience, a professional website designer is far more expensive than using a website builder. Most firms cost upwards of $5000 - and that's on the low end.
New businesses, small businesses, and businesses without much revenue simply can't justify that kind of cost. These businesses usually don't need much more than a website builder to get started anyways. We'll discuss this more in the next section.
But there's also a catch.
Using a free or low-cost website builder might not have the same upfront costs as hiring a website developer designer, but they could end up costing more in the long run. First, they could end up costing a lot of money in man hours trying to get them set up and perfected. Second, you could be losing the potential revenue you'd gain by having a professional website designed for you.Who Needs to Hire a Website Builder versus Website Designer?
It's not always easy to determine what type of service you need based on your type of business and where you're at in terms of the stages of growth. To make it a bit easier, we've outlined when you would hire a website builder versus when you would hire a designer.
Hire a Website Builder
- Small non-profit. Non-profits don't generally have a lot of money to spend on things like advertising or websites. And the smaller they are, the further that generalization goes. For these purposes, a website builder should do the trick.
- Hobbyists. When your website is just space for you to write about what you're passionate about and share it with others - rather than something to monetize - you don' t need to invest in website design.
- Bloggers. When you're first starting a blog, your audience probably isn't big enough to justify hiring web developers. If and when your audience grows and you're looking to monetize the blog, you might consider having it professionally designed.
- Startups. Until your startup proves itself to be profitable, it's best to start with a website builder. This can help you get your concept out there and see if there's a market for your product or service. This is especially true if you have little to no funding behind you.
- Solopreneur. Until you start generating more than $75k/year in revenues, a website builder will likely serve your needs just fine.
- Local Businesses with lots of competition. If you run a local business that relies heavily on online searches (like a restaurant), you can put yourself ahead of the competition with your website. Consider that almost half of US small businesses don't have a website, and then research the benefits of local SEO. The investment you make could pay off big time in the long run.
- Businesses with revenues of over $250,000/year. With that kind of revenues, you can afford to have your website professionally designed. You likely have a large customer base that you could potentially grow with a better website.
- Businesses with high transaction value. If most of your transactions are over $5,000, you should invest in a good website. With transaction values worth thousands of dollars, just one online sale makes the initial cost of professional website design worth it.
A website builder is a great way to get started when you're new to the online game, don't have a big budget, or aren't sure what the ROI will be. But if you're well-established, have a lot of competition, or the cost of professional website design can be made back in as little as one online sale, you're leaving money on the table.
Knowing when to hire a website builder versus a website designer isn't an exact science. So check out our blog for a host of resources to help you learn more.