Website Builder vs. Custom Development: Pros and Cons

Website Builder vs. Custom Development: Pros and Cons

According to recent research conducted by a marketing agency, online retail sales are expected to touch the $6.5 trillion mark by the year 2023. With more businesses moving online, your business must also move online to create a compelling digital presence. Moreover, when establishing an impactful digital presence, one is frequently confronted with a critical choice: should I use a website builder or opt for custom website development? Well, depending on your specific requirements, you can have arguments in favor or against this discussion. Lets dive into some key factors that can help you decide which path to pursue. Lets first understand the pros and cons of each approach.

Defining Website Builders!

Website builders are online platforms that offer tools and techniques to design a website without any prior knowledge of coding. Talking about the best website builders, we can list down names like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly in the same category.  

Pros of of Website Builders :

User-Friendly: With a drag-and-drop interface, these website builders can help people with little or no technical knowledge to design a website. You can relate it to the Lego blocks, where each block talks about a distinctive component of your site.

Cost-Effective: Website builders usually come with multiple membership plans that are cheaper than hiring a separate web developer. For instance, if you are a local plumber looking to create a website to showcase your services, a website builder like Wix can help you do it for a mere $14/month. On the other hand, custom development may charge you as high as $1000 or more for the same task.

At the same time, Website builders like WordPress offer free plans to help you begin your journey in the website development domain. Thus, getting a full-fledged functioning website without paying a penny.

Quick Implementation: You\’ll have a standard website up and ready within hours or days. So, if you are an SMB looking for a faster deployment of your website, these website builders are the right choice.

Support: Most website builders like Wix, WordPress, and GoDaddy handle backend support, including security patches and web-hosting services.

Cons of Website Builders :

Restricted Customization: In case you are using a free plan, your website will not get many customization options.

Adaptability Issues: As your business grows, you may find certain scalability issues with the website builders. For example, an e-commerce store on a platform like Wix might struggle as it expands its outreach for new products. This is where choosing the right website platform is the key. In the scenario mentioned above, it is useful to opt for Shopify given its scalable features like inventory management and its built-for e-commerce websites.

Performance Issues: You may also experience certain performance-related issues at times.

Defining Custom Website Development!

This includes using the services of a web designer or a team to create your website from scratch, custom built to your particular needs. This may include utilizing open-source platforms like WordPress or using more complex systems or code it from scratch.

Pros of Custom Website Development:

Custom-made to Your Needs: You can build whatever you would like based on your business’s needs. Let\’s say you\’re a residential cleaning service business that needs a website where your clients can easily book an appointment. Custom website development allows you to build a complex booking system as per your specific needs. Ex: creating a recurring booking calendar that includes options like weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly. In this case, going for a custom development service works best for you as a regular calendar booking system wouldn’t work.

Scalability: As your business grows, your custom-developed website can scale better as compared to the limitations of predefined templates of website builders. 

Highly Optimized Website: Your website can be optimized for speed, responsiveness, and user experience. For example, Amazon learned that a 100ms delay in the website load time cuts their overall profit by 1%. That said, custom development provides more control and thus guarantees such issues can be taken care of vs relying on website builder platforms. 

Integration: With custom development, you can simply integrate any third-party service or tool into your website. That way, you can take your business to new heights in no time. Imagine you are a real estate agent, you can add a VR( Virtual Reality ) tool to give Virtual house tours to your potential clients without visiting the property physically. Sounds amazing, isn’t it?

Cons of Custom Development:

Higher investment initially: Custom development is expensive. So, if you are a small or medium-sized business, you may not have the budget to incur huge expenses in the same regard.

Time-consuming: Unlike website builders, custom sites can\’t be set up overnight. It might take weeks or even months depending on who you work with.

Delayed Support:  if there\’s a technical issue, you can\’t just call customer support and get it resolved. Instead, you\’ll need ongoing web developer support that comes at a hefty cost.

Comparing website builders with Custom Development with a Real time example!

Let\’s consider the example of Bob, a local contractor from Minnesota. He at first opted for a website builder Squarespace due to tight budget and time constraints. Within a day, her developed website was live showcasing the wide range of services he offers and testimonials from his clients about his great work. He’s ready to take on work within a day.

Over time, as his reputation developed, he needed more customized features, like a virtual tour of his past residential project and an online booking system with certain qualifying questions. Realizing the restrictions of Squarespace, he moved to custom website development. Now, his site not only offers virtual tours of his projects but can also pre-qualify his leads with the new online booking system. While the shift was expensive and time-consuming, the custom-made website saved him time and eventually boosted his sales by taking on the right projects.

So, we can say that both website builder services and custom development services have their relevance at different phases of business development. Still, if you are an SMB( Small or Medium-sized business) website builder service is a better fit for you as you are starting. While custom website development works better as your business gets bigger and has more unique needs.

Summing it up

Both Website builders and custom development have proved their mettle on the digital landscape. Hence, your choice should depend on your business stage, needs, and budget. Hence, starting small with a website builder and shifting to custom development as you grow, like Bob, might be the way to go for most. Remember, the best option is the one that aligns perfectly with your end goals.

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