Once you or your business decide to take on a website, you have two major options. First, you can choose to use a website builder like Wix or Squarespace. This option means using a web page or set of web pages that have already been designed. All you have to do is to load your own content and photos into the pages.
Second, you can choose to commission a custom web design. This option means hiring a website developer to design and build your site from scratch. While a template offers you a faster and less expensive way to build your site, a custom design allows you to build a site that is unique, tailored to your business, targeted to your customers, and, in the end, likely to be more profitable.
When comparing the cost of website builders and custom web design, the builders will almost always be less expensive in the short-term, but, they will quickly start to add up with expensive hosting fees, SSL certificates, and package upgrades. Your site will also be on a shared platform, sharing the same resources as hundreds of other websites.
Custom web design usually costs more than a builder because it involves more time and expertise. For this type of web development, you hire an experienced website developer to build your site from the ground up. In addition, you often receive maintenance and support for your site after it is completed. Typically, the fees for this service run anywhere from $1,500 to $35,000 (or more).
While the cost of your website is an important consideration, you need to weigh it against the benefits you get for your money. A builder might appear to be cheaper, but you also do not get the features and customization that a web developer can provide. In addition, there are times when a builder might not be cheaper. Unforeseen costs (such as needing to hire someone to customize, or needing to pay for ongoing support) can increase the total amount of money you pay for your site.
If you are looking for the shortest possible set up time for your website, a builder might be the way to go. Because the templates are pre-designed and do not require a great deal of customization, they are often relatively simple to set up.
Custom web design, on the other hand, usually takes more time to set up. The reason is that you must work with the web development company to create a design from the ground up. The planning and designing that go into the site naturally lead to more time invested in the project.
However, as with cost, time is not the only consideration. You may get your website running faster with a builder, but the finished product may not be as effective as you want. When it comes to getting features such as customization and scalability, taking a little extra time for a custom web design may be the best choice.
Website builders and custom web design also differ when it comes to the level of customization they offer. As its name implies, custom web design provides significantly more options for customizing your site than do builders.
Custom web design offers you almost unlimited options for customizing your website. Because this type of site is built from the ground up, you can work with your web development company to choose the features that will work best for your business. Your web developer will design the solution around you and your needs, instead of trying to fit you into a box. As a result, they give you the chance to create a site that accurately reflects your unique business.
Creating a website that will serve your business well means understanding what you are getting when you choose a builder or a custom web design. In general, a builder will cost you less up front and take you less time to set up. However, the greater customization, scalability, and maintenance available through a custom site make this option a more appealing and profitable choice for many businesses.