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Web Builder vs Web Designer: Do You Need a Pro??

As a web designer, one question I get a lot is: “Can’t I just build my website myself with Squarespace or Wix?” The answer, like most things in life, is: it depends.

Think of a website builder like a fancy Lego set. It’s easy to use, with pre-built pieces that snap together to create something functional. But if you want a unique and high-performing website, a web designer is like having a professional design/build team on your side.

Here’s why using a web builder might not be the best fit for everyone:

happy clients

Limited Design Flexibility: Web builders offer pre-designed templates. This gets your site up fast, but it can also make it look generic. Imagine a whole street of houses that all look exactly the same – not exactly standing out from the crowd, are they? A designer can create a custom look that reflects your brand perfectly.

Mobile User Experience: Mobile site design matters – a lot. These days, most website traffic comes from mobile devices. While website builders offer mobile-responsive templates, they might not be as optimized for the smaller screen as a custom-designed site. A clunky mobile experience can frustrate visitors and drive them away.

Scalability Issues: Web builders can be great for simple websites, but as your business grows, your website usually needs to grow too. Adding complex or new features can be very difficult, or even impossible, with many web builders. A designer can build a site that’s flexible and can adapt to your future needs.

SEO Challenges: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps people find your website online. Web builders might not offer the fine-tuned controls needed for good SEO. A designer can build a site that’s optimized for search engines, making it easier for potential customers to discover you.

Hidden Costs: Free web builder plans usually come with limitations, like a subdomain instead of a custom domain name (think “www.your-business.square.site” instead of “www.YourBusiness.com”). Upgrading to get the features you need can add up quickly. And unlike a website built by a designer, you’re essentially “renting” your website from the web builder. If you ever decide to switch platforms, you’ll typically lose your entire site and have to start from scratch. This can lock you into a monthly fee with limited control over your own online presence.

Of course, there are situations where a web builder shines. For a simple one-page website or a landing page, a web builder can be a great option. And platforms like Shopify are fantastic for online stores, often with built-in features that a designer would need to code from scratch.

The key takeaway? Consider your needs. If you just need a basic online presence, a web builder might be enough. For a website representing your business to the world – a designer might seem expensive upfront, but you’ll get a website that’s truly yours and works better for you in the long run.

So, if you prioritize a unique, scalable website that grows with your business and boosts your online presence, a web designer is a smart investment.

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