In today’s world, almost every business needs a website. When getting a website up and running, or redesigning a website, your business has two options:
1. Hire a web development agency to build a custom website, or
2. Build your own website using one of the do-it-yourself platforms (such as Wix, Weebly or SquareSpace).
At Digital Fuel Marketing, we have an in-house website design and development team – and we know that there are pros and cons to both approaches. Which method you decide to choose for your business depends on a number of factors including your budget, needs, timeframe and internal resources.
Our design and development team have put together the pros and cons for using an online website builder versus using a design and development agency, to help you choose which option is right for you. Taking the time to choose the approach that will work for you will ensure you get a website that is most effective for your business.
What is a website builder?
A website builder is an online tool that allows you to create web pages without any coding knowledge. In most cases, they provide you with pre-built modules for specific features, and enable you to place those modules wherever you want within an existing design template.
Benefits of using a website builder:
- There are a huge range of templates available to choose from
- Many website builders have easy to use editors, often with drag and drop functionality
- No specialist coding knowledge required
- Website builders can be relatively inexpensive to get started with your new website
Disadvantages of using a website builder:
- Often website builders embed their brand on free (and low cost) plans, so when potential customers look at your website they see who has created the site.
- Advanced options, such as tracking or analytics tools, require more expensive paid plans. Over time, this can exceed the cost of using a specialist agency.
- There is a lack of advanced customisation on templates, so your website may not look or function exactly how you want it to.
- The templates can be design heavy, meaning limited space for copy and less opportunity to target valuable keywords and convey your brand message.
- Page load speeds can often be temperamental with website builders. Page speed is especially important for websites that rely on online conversions, such as in retail or gaming.
- Some builders only allow for one layer of navigation. This is not ideal for larger websites with lots of pages.
- Bi-lingual sites (and sites requiring more than two languages) can be an issue with website builders, and are not easy to create.
- Website builders often rely heavily on strong professional photography, which can be expensive.
- Many website builders still rely on Flash, which is a dated technology. Search engines cannot read flash, which therefore limits your organic visibility.
- You will need to point the domain to your website.
What is a design and development agency?
A website design and development team will create websites for their clients. They employ experienced web designers and developers to create bespoke websites both from scratch and built out from existing templates. At Digital Fuel Marketing, our design and development team team have built multiple B2B, B2C and e-commerce websites for clients in a multitude of industries. They are responsible for both the website you see (design) and the functionality of that website (development).
Benefits of using a design and development agency to create your website:
- You have full creative control, and can work with a designer face to face (or over video conferencing/the phone).
- As a client, you’ll usually get assigned an account manager for any specific questions.
- A good agency will factor in not only design, but also user experience, search engine optimisation capabilities and conversion rate optimisation.
- You will have the opportunity to see your vision for your website come to life, creating a website using a design and development agency needs no set templates or restrictions.
- It is often easier to connect with your external tools (like a CRM) via a custom built website.
- Content management systems like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla have easy integrations with apps across SEO, E-commerce, CRM and analytics.
- The design and code is uniquely yours, and owned by your business.
- Often an agency can also assist with marketing activity post launch, such as training, optimisation, graphic design, hosting, domain assistance and ad campaign setup. At Digital Fuel Marketing, we regularly help our clients with all aspects of post launch marketing support.
- You will have direct contact with an agency, rather than raising a support ticket and waiting for a response. This is especially helpful when you have time-constraints on your website build project.
- You will have the opportunity to access ongoing development and site-maintenance support post launch.
- An agency will have up-to-date technical knowledge and a good grasp of common issues that may arise.
- Complex websites that require advanced integrations may not be possible with a website builder.
- If you choose Digital Fuel Marketing, you get to work with awesome people like Oli, Jake and the rest of the DFM team…
Disadvantages of using a design and development agency:
- Using an agency will be more expensive than a website builder. You pay for years of expertise, to build something unique – but this personal service costs more.
- Translating your vision into the website you want is a lot more time intensive than picking from a set number of pre-designed templates.
- If you decide to use a cheaper overseas agency, communication can sometimes be problematic, especially if there is a language barrier.
Should you hire a web design agency or use a website builder?
When it comes to creating a website, no single approach is right for every company. Your choice will ultimately depend on your business’ needs.
If you have a lot of time and limited financial resources, a website builder may be the right approach for you.
If you have a healthy budget and want a bespoke result that incorporates search engine optimisation and other factors, a design and development agency will be the best fit.
An additional factor to consider is if your website is responsible for generating a significant amount of your revenue, it’s likely to be a site that will have more customer demands and will need to perform multiple functions. In this scenario, using a professional agency is a safer bet for your bottom line.
If you have questions about how we can help with your next website design project, get in touch with the design and development team at Digital Fuel Marketing today.
Get in touch with the team at Digital Fuel Marketing today