When the first website appeared in 1991, nobody could imagine how easy it would be to do the same in 20 years. And as we are rolling into 2021, we don’t even need to hire a web developer to craft professionally looking websites. Instead, most smaller businesses, freelancers, and firms are opting for drag-and-drop platforms that let you design and publish websites without writing a single line of code.
But what are the tradeoffs of creating websites using ready-made solutions versus hiring a web developer? And do we even need these web guys today? Let’s dive into it.
In case you haven’t stumbled upon this software yet, drag-and-drop builders are software platforms that enable you to put together a website with little effort or coding skills. Most platforms allow you to construct a website without manual code editing. However, some website builders like Velo by Wix allow you to add extra functionality and interactions to your website with code if you’re capable of, and comfortable with, using it.
You can subscribe for one of these services, drag and drop content on top of built-in themes and you’re ready to roll. The beauty of these tools is that anyone can start the ball rolling in minutes.
In a broad sense, a web developer is someone who takes a web design and transforms your idea into a reality. Let’s say, you want an extremely creative web layout with hundreds of buttons all over the screen and with bouncing letters that have a different color, font, size, and… Well, in short, if you need a website that can knock your socks off, blow your mind, and take your breath away, this is all possible with a developer. Or was it possible?
Let’s get closer to the point.
For your convenience, let’s divide our comparison into several consideration points that will affect your choice.
Complete flexibility is never a forte of pre-made solutions. In this case, a drag-and-drop solution can provide a nice amount of versatility, especially if the functionality can be further expanded with coding skills. And although you can drag-and-drop anything and anywhere, a web developer is the one who can make your wildest web dreams come true.
Even if you don’t have an idea of the future look-and-feel, a pro developer will perform competitor research and analyze your needs to yield the best possible results. (We are talking about professionals here) But this comes at a cost, which brings us to the next point.
Do you see it? An awkward question of ‘How Much” is hanging in the air. Well, custom web development can start in thousands of dollars. After all, you are commissioning an experienced developer to work his magic. But the costs do not end here. Once your website is up and running, you will also need regular maintenance and support for your platform. Let alone constant changes, edits, and additions that you’ll likely have to make. Yes, you’ll be paying each time you want to do something on your website.
And we shouldn’t forget that not all specialists are created equal. So you may shell out for the website of your dreams and end up with a middling product way behind your expectations.
In this case, the reward for cost-effectiveness goes to website builders, since there are simply no overhead costs. You pay a subscription fee and enjoy the freedom of creativity. If you need a generic solution with basic features like free hosting, access to a website builder’s features, and a custom subdomain, you won’t have to pay at all.
Have you ever tried hunting for talent? Screening candidates and scheduling meetings with them? Then you know the drill and the staggering amount of time this activity guzzles up. Therefore, if you need to set up a website in the very nick of time, a builder might be your go-to guy. The templates are pre-made, hence you don’t have to zhuzh up your online platform for dozens of hours.
On the other hand, web developers require lots of time to create a design from A to Z. The planning and designing naturally ramp up the number of hours needed to set up your website.
And the reward for supersonic speed goes to drag-and-drop platforms as well.
Okay, you got us with this one. In terms of customization, the builder’s capabilities will be limited by your skills and potentially the amount of pre-made functionality this software offers. When it comes to tailor-made web development, the sky's the limit and you can twirl and twist your website to meet your expectations.
Also, custom web development allows you to choose the features that will work best for your business. In the end, web developers provide you the chance to design and construct an online destination that channels your unique business message.
Having broken down the pros and cons of all options, which one should you go for? The decision is up to you and your needs. If you own a small business or trail the blaze as a freelancer, drag-and-drop builders will do the trick at less cost compared with hiring a web developer. If you can fork out for a bespoke product fine-tuned to your expectations, custom web design is the way to go. Finally, if you have the coding acumen and want to build robust web applications with zero setup, full-stack development platforms can add a new twist to your everyday routine.
This article is part of a writing contest hosted by Hacker Noon in partnership with Wix. Learn how to enter here and take a shot at winning $1000 every month, from March 1st, 2021 to May 31st, 2021