Building a website sometimes means having a professional web designer to set it up. However, working with a firm can cost up to $5,000 and it can cost more depending on the details. That’s why it’s important to weigh your options before investing in a competent web designer.
You can build sites for free. But is it the right way for you or are you better off investing in a dedicated web designer to work on your project? In this article, we’ll help you sort out if you have to hire a professional website designer or just use a free website builder. Read on to find out more:
What is a website builder?
Website Builders are a tool that may substitute design and coding knowledge. Now in building a functional website, you don’t have to know Photoshop or any design fundamentals.
Instead, you can just select from the many available pre-made template designs. You can go past the website building process without learning a thing about HTML, CSS, and other complicated coding languages. You can just rely on the website builder and its preset codes and functions.
The obvious advantages of using website builders are that they are cheap and quick for setting up a website. The best part is that the final product isn’t terrible-looking and sometimes even looks professional enough.
What do website designers do and how is it different?
When you’ve got a good web designer on board, you can bring your vision into reality. These people can take concepts and turn them into functional and priceless designs. Hiring a design agency or a web designer can help you play with what concept you’ve had in mind for years. If you’ve tried using pre-made designs before, then you should know how much this means.
If you’ve employed a really good website designer, you can trust that they can get a clear understanding of your customers and business. With this, they can tailor the structure and design of your website to help facilitate an awesome conversion rate to help generate more sales.
Also, having a good web designer helps you have that interesting and unique design that can set you apart from your competitors. These days, all websites may start looking the same. Having a custom site can help your company start getting noticed in crowded e-commerce website design space.
With all things considered, hiring a good web designer can be equivalent to having a professional wedding photographer. You can employ them once and in return, you can have an artistic representation of your vision that you can keep for as long as you want.
Who Should Utilize a Website Builder?
Should all those who wish to hire a professional web designer get one? The definite answer is no.
Although having a web designer around can give you clear advantages, like the website designer in Auckland,, it can’t always be the best move. So how do you know if it’s optimal for you to just use a website builder?
If you’re aiming to create a site and your business falls under one of these categories, then you might need to go for a website builder:
Hobby: If you’re aiming to share your hobby with others, then a website builder can serve your purpose.
Blogger: Unless your blog has a well-established audience, then having a professionally designed site isn’t urgent. You can then improve your web design later on and proceed to import your previous posts to your new ones.
New Business/ Unfunded Startup: If you’re running an unfunded startup, then it’s better to start humbly by using a website builder. You are still in the process of proving the concept to the world so you’re better off establishing a market first. Once you’ve got a well-established customer base and you’re already generating enough revenue, then you might need to start upgrading your site with a professional designer.
Solopreneur: If you’re flying solo with less than $100k a year in revenue, then a website builder can take you far enough.
Unproven Concept: If you think you have a great concept but it’s yet to be tested, then you can use a website builder to see if it will be well-received. If it starts making you enough money, then you can start considering getting a professional website designer.
Small Non-profit: For those non-profit organizations that are low on funds, it’s alright to use a website builder for the organization. After all, what’s important is telling the world about passion rather than generating income.
What’s the deciding factor in using a website builder?
With all the considerations related to the nature of your business, the bottom line is simple:
If you have to pay for that website instead of it paying for itself, then you might only be losing money instead of earning and growing your business.
Who would be better off hiring a professional web designer?
Since website builders can save everyone money, then why isn’t everyone using them? If settling for a website builder can save you money, then why isn’t it that easy to choose it over hiring professional website designers?
Well, in website design, not everything is black and white. It’s not always about how much you pay for a professionally designed website.
It’s how much you’re losing if you don’t step up with your professional design website. So if you’re running a business that makes over a million dollars every year, then you need to get a competent and professional web designer, like the website designer in Auckland,. If you don’t hire one, then you might be losing more than you’re saving from not hiring one.
In any investment opportunity, it’s always great to weigh the opportunity cost.
Opportunity cost is when you’re not only considering your ROI for a specific transaction. But it’s about comparing all the available options to see what the optimum overall decision is.
Let’s say that you’re running a construction company with a million dollars’ worth of the transaction. In scenario A, you’re paying a website design firm around $10,000 for a personalized design. In scenario B, you’re using a ‘free’ site builder and you don’t pay anything for the site. So, which one offers the better value?
In scenario A, if your business lost even a million-dollar contract, it might have won if you’ve had a more professional-looking website. The total cost of this scenario needs to be factored into the total cost.
In scenario B, you have been paying the hidden cost of employing people who made the site using the website builder. If it took the paid employee 150 hours to put the site together and they get paid $50 per hour, then you need to factor the total time into the total cost.
Taking both scenarios into consideration, you might be better off utilizing a professional web designer’s help if:
Your Business generates over $150,000 a year in revenue.
It can be challenging to put an exact number for the revenue to advise that a business needs to get a website. However, it’s safe to say that if your business generates over $150k every year, then you might be missing out on more income by not having a professionally designed site.
Local business in a competitive industry
Local business usually generates most of its transactions through online searches by people. If you’re running this kind of business then you have the advantage if you employ a professional web designer.
Solopreneur generating over $150,000 a year in revenue
For real estate professionals, consultants, accountants, lawyers, and other solo business owners that offer professional services, having a website that mirrors your professional credibility would be advantageous.
High transaction value business
For businesses that have high transaction rates and generate $5k or more per transaction, hiring a professional web designer is essential. When you have such high transaction value, a single additional sale would be enough of a profit to make up for the cost of getting a personalized site.
Follow the money
As implied earlier, your website is a valuable investment. Like any other worthwhile investment, it can generate an outpouring return. It means that your new website should attract more revenue and it should be more than the cost of the website itself.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Having A Web Designer VS Website Builder
So now that we know who should be going with a website builder let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of going with it.
Affordable: Price is the obvious main benefit of a website builder. It’s a small investment to make for a presence on the web.
Fast: You can set your new website up within a day or two by using a website builder. When you’re getting a design firm on board, it might take around 4-6 weeks to launch.
Decent design: Lots of the current site builders today offer decent-looking templates and designs. The primary way to make them work for you is to copy the site template design exactly. If you want to add personalized touches, it might not be optimal.
Not professionally designed: Many website builder templates allow decent projects. However, you need someone on board to reap the benefits of marketing and visitor conversions.
Generic: Lots of people are already jumping in for this ‘free’ website builder trend. Because of this bandwagon, tons of businesses are using the same designs and templates. The result is the most sites are starting to look the same and losing the originality of the brand.
Looks like a template: When you’ve seen enough websites, it’s almost too easy to know if a website uses a template. There’s always a factor that gives them away so one can say the site uses a template. If a potential customer spots it, it may throw them off at some point especially if you’re trying to make a mark in the industry.
Poor SEO: It’s not a secret but you might be unfamiliar with this factor. Most of the website builders that people are using today offer terrible Search Engine Optimization. They don’t allow robust tools for website optimization for Google searches.
Also, a competent web design firm can offer tons of benefits when it comes to proper website optimization and proper keyword research. That said, getting a designer wins.
Lost potential sales: As discussed early on, the opportunity cost of losing potential sales should be factored in when thinking about the cost of choosing a ‘free’ website builder.
Can be frustrating: Website builders offer sites built with an easy backend user interface, but in some cases, they don’t. If you’re new to this turf, it can be frustrating to work within a framework that doesn’t let you realize the vision you want for the site.
Time intensive: If you put a price on your time or your employer’s time for working on setting up a ‘free’ website builder, then you might be surprised at how much is the total cost. Factoring this consideration shows the true cost of choosing a free site with free templates.
Advantages and Disadvantages in Web Designer VS Website Builder
If you’re still unsure about whether or not to hire a professional web designer, here are more thought processes to consider:
Professional design: When you take a website designer on board, you’re employing the knowledge and skills of a professional. It’s someone whose job is to deliver designs using the best practices in web design.
Not only this person knows the right colors, fonts, balance, and harmony for your site, but they can also work on the user interface. They can also build proper information architecture and how the overall design will impact the visitor flow. You’re having all these skills on your armory once you decide to hire a professional web designer.
Unique design: When you work with a website designer, your site will be spared from all the website clones that use the same templates. Your site can mirror your brand image with a unique, original, and functional design.
Optimized for conversion: Most free website templates aren’t optimized for powerful visitor conversions. They can’t do it because they’re trying to offer designs that will appear to a wide set of audience. These designs don’t have a clear audience conversion path fit to your specific user path.
When you hire a web design, they can make a site that may increase the conversion rate. This advantage would mean more leads and eventually more sales.
SEO optimized: A great website firm or designer must have proper knowledge of SEO and be able to do keyword research. They must also help you point to the right keywords to rank for and make sure that your website is structured and tagged to be optimized for such keywords. As mentioned earlier, website builders offer minimal SEO tools.
Ongoing support: Have you ever been on the phone with tech support and they’re talking about techy stuff that you don’t understand? It’s not a fun experience. When you’re getting a professional, you don’t have to deal with problems like this. You can just pick up your phone and speak to a person that is tasked to solve your issues without using confusing tech jargon on you.
Saved time: You don’t have to learn how to set up your site using a ‘free’ website builder. You don’t have to spend hours perfecting a site that you have no idea how to handle in the first place. Having a web designer around lets you know the time frame of when you can expect a unique and personalized site to be ready.
Higher upfront cost: Hiring a professional web design firm means you should be paying upfront costs. If your cash is tight, then this could pose problems.
Longer time to launch: Aiming for a custom-designed website will take time. The development time frame alone may take 2-3 weeks. You need to expect almost two months to have a professionally designed site. However, when you choose to use a website builder, you can enjoy the instant gratification of having a site today.
Quality varies: Choosing a proper website designer can be tricky. If the odds are against you, you might end up with a poor-quality website. You need to keep looking and it may take time.
Wide range in pricing: Different design agencies can give you a wildly different price range for their projects. That makes it challenging to know which one is a good price and which one is the trap.
Bottom line: Using a website builder offers its advantages and it’s great for those who have no budget at all. However, if you’re postponing hiring a web designer even if you have enough annual ROI because you’re afraid it won’t be worth it, then you need to reconsider.
We hope that this article helped you decide. If you need a website design firm to work on your site at a great price range, feel free to contact us.
If you need further help on this topic, Web Digital can help you in many ways. Aside from offering web design services in NZ, we also provide web hosting and other plans. To get more information about digital services in NZ and website design services in Auckland, contact Web Digital!