Website Builder ‘Drag and Drop’ vs Website Developer

By September 17, 2019 Website

Website Builder vs Website Developer

The (probably) surprising truth about about what’s best for you and your website.

Buckle up for this trip through the pros and cons of our experiences of using a website builder compared to professional developers – and what it means to you.

Getting the Right Advice

There’s no ‘one size fits all’ for this so we’ve broken this article down so you can get the the advice that’s most relevant to you. Websites are our world and we see first hand how exciting, challenging and ultimately worthwhile creating your website can be.

Our aim is to provide the information and guidance that lets you progress with confidence having considered the key influencing factors. To make this as relevant as possible, feel free to click on the tab that is fits your situation.

You’re not expected to have all the answers. At least not right now. As long as you ask these questions you’ll be able to find the right people and resources that want to help.

Personal / Hobby: Website Builder vs. Professional Developer

Personal websites tend to be more about the journey than the destination. They’re a great way place to express your interests, showcase your thinking and engage with friends and other like-minded individuals. So if you feel you fall into this category, we would tend to recommend a website builder. It might sound shocking we’re saying this. We know.

Many of the common issues and challenges that come from website builders simply don’t apply to you. If you have time on your hands and don’t need to worry about scaling your website, detailed analytics or uniqueness of your website’s design, chances are a website builder is the way to go. Simply because the limitations of ‘drag and drop’ website builders affect you less. The only thing to consider is ownership. If you want to own your website, this could be an issue but otherwise, a website builder is an ideal option.

Which website builder you choose depends on what you’re looking to do. We recommend you look at alternatives to find what suits you best. Here are our thoughts: If you want to focus on the look and style of your website, we’d recommend SquareSpace. Particularly for people with creative or artistic tenancies, we’ve seen some nifty personal SquareSpace websites. If your ambitions for a personal website are more focused on selling products at a small scale, then we’d advise you to go with Shopify. It’s not quite as easy to use but with a little more time you’ll be up and running and thankful it’s designed with a focus on e-commerce.

Thinking of something slightly different? Don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’re happy to point you in the right direction based on your needs and ambitions.

Start-Up: Website Builder vs. Professional Developer

This can be tough to call. Start-Up websites can work with either so let’s figure out what suits you best. It’s tricky because you need to strike a balance between working on a bootstrap budget and winning the early success you need from your website.

If you have money available, we’d tend to advise opting for a website developer. The reason being that if you start on a website builder and your startup enjoys some success, you’ll quickly need to replace your website with something that you own and is more bespoke to your needs. When you start with a builder, you really need to start again from scratch when that moment comes. This costs money and time – all while trying to scale a business. With a good website developer, this isn’t an issue as the website should be built to scale and evolve over time. This means the time, effort and money you put into it isn’t lost over time.

There are situations where Website Builders can be better. Usually if you’re strapped for funding or looking at a small lifestyle business that won’t scale much. In these situations, it might be safer to go with a Website Builder initially, like SquareSpace or Shopify. Just be careful to watch the amount of time and money you spend on it. It’s easy to invest huge amounts of time into Website Builders just to hit a limit on it’s functionality and have to replace it with a bespoke website.

Thinking of something slightly different? Don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’re happy to point you in the right direction based on your needs and ambitions.

Worth noting here that just because you get a website developer doesn’t ensure a better website – especially below ¬£1,000.¬†Always seek advice and request to see past work before going ahead with developer.

Organisation / Business / Charity: Website Builder vs. Professional Developer

Website developer all the way. Not that it’s impossible to do well using a Website Builder such as Shopify, but it’s few and far between. Even a quick search online can highlight how rare Website Builder websites are in a professional business environment. There are some outliers however there’s good reason to suggest using a Website Builder is actually hurting their business. Considering using a Website Builder for your professional e-commerce website? There are a few things to consider below. If these effect you we’d recommend opting for a website developer instead:

  • Need quick results?

Website builders require your own time and effort on all fronts. Having skilled developers to help improves your focus and timeline.

  • Want to scale your business?

There are horror stories about how badly Website Builders scale. This really isn’t usually as much of an issue as people make out. Nonetheless, it can be costly and ownership becomes more of a concern.

  • Design

Some Website Builders can have quite cool designs, the only drawback is that it’s fairly rare they look unique. This is more important for some than others.

  • SEO

Arguably the biggest concern is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – how near the top you are on search engines like Google. It’s important to stress that there’s more to SEO than the website itself. That being said, the concern with Website Builder websites is that much of the underlying code is the same. This means it’s harder to set yourself apart and stand out in search engine rankings. Thinking of something slightly different? Don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’re happy to advise based on your needs and ambitions.

If getting found on Google and other search engines is important to your website, we have an an article on SEO which is a good intro coming next week. It’s particularly useful if you just want an intro to the key things you need to know. If you’re looking for a deep dive we recommend checking out Moz here.

A Final Thought

We love website development, so we keep a keen eye on the different options, offerings and trends out there to stay ahead. It’s also about bringing our own style to the work be do and ensure we can give the best advice possible. We don’t have any ties to any of the parties mentioned.

Our advice is based on experience, research and personal preference. We’re confident it will help you make a decision on what’s best for you. Naturally, we’re also keen to hear feedback and answer any questions you may have.

Your thoughts…

The aim of our blog is to share our experience and advice in the hope it saves you time, hassle and money. We’re keen to hear your ideas for future posts so if you have any questions or requests please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Thank you!

At Ngage, we’ve had the pleasure of developing websites for amazing organisations and entrepreneurs from around the world. From clean landing pages for aspiring start-ups to a ‘first of its kind’ tourism data platform for one of the most respected tourism data research organisations in Europe. So what have we learnt so far? More importantly, how can we use it to help you?

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