You may have seen articles online explaining why hiring a website designer is a thing of the past. Well as a web designer, for over 20 years now, I find this hard to believe, at least not yet. Here are some of the reasons why I think you should hire a website designer to build your website, rather than using a page builder or AI.
Web Design or Graphic Design Skills
A good website designer has a design background. Yes, you can build your own website with a page builder, but will you design it exactly the way you want or need it to be? Do you know how to create a website that looks good, loads fast and converts visitors into customers?
Conversion Optimization Skills
A good website designer knows how to build your website, but they also know about conversion optimization. For this reason, I recommend hiring a well-established, well rounded website designer that knows web design, SEO and website conversion optimization.
There is no way a website builder can do all that. Sure, you can create search engine friendly websites with a page builder, but only if you know how to optimize the website in the first place. You will need to know how to setup all the tracking scripts and optimize your pages, add site maps, Google Analytics, conversion tracking? Also, you will need to know how to make sure all your images load fast; your site loads fast and they are all correctly tagged and optimized? Not to mention thousands of other things.
Many Skills Involved
To build your own website correctly with a page builder you need to be a website designer in the first place. Then you need to learn SEO and some online marketing. Then you need to learn how to convert your traffic into sales and leads, so that when you have built your website it makes you some money. I mean that is the point, right?
When it comes right down to it, you can build almost anything yourself and you can get a machine to build things for you also. However, when it comes to your business it’s important that your website can convert your traffic, ranks well and looks great.
Most page builders are hosted for you, meaning your website is stored on their server and you pay a monthly fee. Now some might say this is a bad thing, but it really depends on what you want. Having them host your website might be exactly what you want and in this case you are golden. The hosting company usually hosts your email and domain too. So it’s a one-stop-shop for all your website needs.
However, if you are like me and enjoy actually owning your website then I recommend building it without a page builder with something like WordPress or Joomla! A page builder cannot design your website for you, it will give you options to choose from, usually starting with a template and then you modify this template to fit your needs. However, unless you are a designer it’s very likely your website will not look anywhere near as good as what a professional website designer would be able to build.
Have you tried giving your kid a haircut lately? How did that turn out? Has the trauma warn off yet? Have the kids stopped bullying him/her yet? Most website designers have a degree in design and know about using color, fonts, space and other design elements to make sure your design looks great on many types of devices. Sure, many page builders have come a long way, but they can’t select your colors and images or modify them to make them look their best.
Do you like traffic? Then you might want to make sure your website is optimized for search engines. Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing each page of your website as well as your entire site’s structure to give it a good chance of ranking in search engines. A WordPress website or almost any of the leading content management systems, are easier to optimize and have a better website structure than any page builder. They simply are not the same breed. If you have buckets of gold nuggets, then you can build your own custom designed content management system from scratch with all the bells and whistles you can dream of. You can use advanced programming to build anything.
But if you are looking at page builders then your budget it a little more down to earth, so I’m going to focus on the best low-budget options that will allow you to fully compete with the big guys.
Yes, I know you new I was going to mention WordPress right? But that’s because it’s the best CMS on the planet and it’s free. You can build almost any website you can dream of with WordPress. Also, the advanced themes with page builders built in will allow you to build your own websites quickly. I highly recommend WordPress and the Divi Theme along with Divi page builder. Combine this with Yoast for your seo, some speed optimization plugins and you are all set.
Yes you may have to hire a designer to build the initial website and setup your SEO, but you will own the website afterwards and have just as much control, if not much more than you would have with a hosted page builder.
For example, you can easily add ecommerce to your website if you want to turn it into a fully functional online store by using a plugin called woocommerce. Woocommerce only takes a few hours to install and configure and it has everything you need. If you need more then there are tons of great plugins and more being built constantly.
Another great system is Joomla!, which is also a CMS. Joomla! May have a slightly higher learning curve than WordPress but some say it’s a bit more powerful. I have used both for over a decade and we have developed plugins for both and I would say WordPress is a bit better in many respects. There are more plugins, it’s easier to work with and easier to optimize for search engines.
If you are serious about your business, then you should be thinking long term, if you use a page builder to build your website you don’t own the website. You can’t move your site to another hosting company if the company that owns your page builder goes out of business or is taken over by a company with bad support. If you sell your site then you can simply move it somewhere else. If you sell your business one day you have the chance to sell the site to the new owner without requiring them to stay with the page builder host.
After 20 years in the web design industry I have studied many systems and methods for building websites. The only page builder I would recommend, and it’s not really a page builder, is Shopify. Shopify is mainly for ecommerce websites, but it’s also used for regular websites. Shopify will allow you to build a very good online store very quickly and there are various plugins to make it SEO friendly. However, it must be hosted on the Shopify servers and you will need specially trained developers to work on a Shopify store if you require custom development.
In closing, if you want a real website, then hire a real website design company. Don’t hire one website designer, hire a team. One person cannot build, host and provide online marketing to the level you need to grow your business. An automated website builder can only build your website, it cannot design, optimize, maintain and promote it like a web design company can.
It’s sort of like building your own house. You can build your own house, but will it be up to code? Will it be safe? Will you do it correctly and how will you know if you did? Would you want a robot to build your house or a craftsman?
Websites should be an extension of your business and not just a thing you pop up online, so you can say you have a website now. Most businesses make most of their money from their website and this is increasing every year.