Website Builders vs. Designers: Which One Is Right for You?

A man designing a website on a white board

The ever-growing eCommerce industry makes website development a necessity for business success. International eCommerce sales are projected to reach $4.8 trillion by 2026. Having a professional, visually-appealing, and user-friendly website is crucial to snatch up some of that revenue and boost your business profitability. As more and more consumers move online to shop, merchants without a website will struggle to keep their businesses viable.

An effective online presence is also essential for lead generation. Having an engaging website is important to create a positive impression of your brand and convince potential customers that you’re the right company to work with.

More than 70 percent of consumers visit a company’s website before doing business with them. If you don’t have a website, your business will lose plenty of conversion opportunities. Fortunately, the widespread availability of website development tools and services makes it easier to have an online business presence than ever before. Merchants can use website builders or hire website designers to create a digital presence. 

What Is a Website Builder?

Website development requires technical and design knowledge. A website builder is a DIY software solution that allows people without any technical and design skills to construct a simple website within a few hours. The tool provides a variety of pre-made templates to choose from. After choosing the desired template, you can use their intuitive drag-and-drop functionalities to build a basic and professional-looking website cheaply and quickly. 

Some popular website builders include:

  • BigCommerce
  • GoDaddy
  • Shopify
  • Squarespace
  • Weebly
  • Wix
  • WordPress

Each one of these tools provides its own ready-to-use templates and pre-set functions for you to choose from. You can use these popular tools to create basic sites that are mobile-friendly and easily integrable with your social media accounts. However, if you need a more unique and custom online site, you will likely need to hire website designers.

What Is a Website Designer?

Website designers are freelance professionals or digital marketing agencies that will build an online site from scratch. Unlike website builders’ generic templates, web development specialists create an online site with a customized and unique design to help your brand stand out from the rest of the competition. Stanford research on web credibility found that 75 percent of online shoppers judge a business’s credibility by the quality and design of their website.

A man in a blue dress shirt working to develop a website

You can find professional website designers on Upwork and Fiverr or work with a web design agency to build a customized online site for your business. Some of the best web design agencies that can help you build a unique website include:

  1. Coalition Technologies
  2. Red Spot Design
  3. efelle creative
  4. Dept Agency
  5. WDG (Web Development Group)

Web design companies have a team of professional web developers, designers, and marketers that will turn your concept or vision into a reality so you can achieve your business goals. These specialists study your business and customers to create a website design and structure that represents your brand and maximizes conversions. Hiring a website designer instead of using a website builder can improve customer experience online, generating more sales for your business.

Website Designers vs. Builders: Which To Pick?

If you want to create a new site for your business, you’re probably wondering whether you should build one yourself using a DIY tool or hire a professional to do it for you. The choice between developing a website yourself or having it professionally built will depend on your business’s needs and budget. 

Below, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using a website builder and hiring professional designers to help you choose the best web development method for your business needs.

Advantages of Using a Website Builder

For solopreneurs and small businesses with inadequate skills and financial resources, building a website using a DIY tool can provide plenty of benefits. Some advantages of using pre-made templates to create websites include:


Using DIY tools to create a website is much more cost-effective than hiring website designers. For $10 – $40 a month, you can have an attractive, modern, and functional website with a custom domain name, shopping cart, shipping calculator, and phone and email support. Website builders allow businesses with a tight budget to have a site up and running in no time.


You have to write thousands of lines of code to create a website from scratch, resulting in weeks or months of development time. When you use pre-made templates, you use their drag-and-drop feature to develop and design a functional website within a few hours. Website builders help businesses establish a digital presence on the internet in less than a day.


To build a website the traditional way, you must be proficient in web development languages such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and many more. In addition to markup and programming languages, you also need to be knowledgeable in the principles of design and color theory. Fortunately, you don’t need any technical or design know-how to develop an online site using website builders.

Disadvantages of Using a Website Builder

A computer screen displaying a web page with templates

Using ready-made templates to build a site has many advantages over hiring website designers. But building quick, inexpensive websites also comes with disadvantages, including: 

Unoriginal Design

The ready-made templates you will work with to build your site are also being used by thousands of other businesses, which can make your website look and feel unoriginal. Many consumers can identify a generically designed website, which may leave an unfavorable impression of your business and the quality of your products.

Poor SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) helps bring more people to your site, leading to increased sales and business profits. Most website builders have inadequate to nonexistent SEO tools, reducing your business’s visibility in Google’s search results. Poor online exposure will lead to lost sales opportunities, threatening your business’s long-term viability.

Inflexible Framework

Website builders have a rigid framework, making it very difficult to edit code. If you want to change the design or structure of the template, you will have to modify the HTML and CSS code in the editor. Most companies that offer DIY website building services do not allow users to modify the backend code, so you’re stuck with the template you have. 

The inflexible framework also makes code exporting and data transferring impossible. If you want to switch to a different platform or hire a website designer in the future, you will have to build your site from scratch as you can’t transfer data and content out of the website builder’s servers. 

Advantages of Hiring Website Designers

Working with professionals to design a site that meets your business’s unique needs and challenges has many advantages over using DIY website development tools. Some benefits of working with professional web developers and designers include:

Original Design

Many sites look similar and unoriginal, as they were built using the same free templates from a few popular website builders. When you work with website designers, they will build a unique and customized site that is perfectly tailored to your business’s needs. An original website design will help you create a unique brand identity, helping your business stand out in a sea of competition.

Optimized for Conversion

The goal of all businesses is to convert site visitors into paying customers. The templates offered by website builders are not optimized for conversions as they are made to appeal to diverse audiences. 

ecommerce-selling-online-2140603/  Alt text: Two

When you hire website designers, they will work with you to understand your target audience and customer base. They will use your buyer’s journey information along with their digital marketing and web development skills to build a website structure and design that facilitates conversions to generate more sales.

Better SEO

Unlike website builders with insufficient SEO tools, web designers can use their technical expertise to improve your site’s placement in Google’s search results. Web design professionals will optimize your XML sitemap, on-page and off-page SEO, and conduct research to find out which keywords provide the best opportunities to improve your site’s ranking and visibility. Better SEO helps more shoppers find your business online, increasing sales opportunities.

Disadvantages of Hiring Website Designers

Despite giving you a professional, unique, and optimized website, working with website designers can also have its disadvantages. Some of the drawbacks of working with web design professionals and agencies include:

Higher Cost

You can build a functional site for as little as $20 a month on website builders. But you should expect to pay significantly more than that if you want to work with web designers to create your website. Building a customized website for a small business can cost up to $30,000.

More Development Time

Using a website builder’s pre-made templates, you can create and launch a simple and attractive site within a day. But when you hire website designers, you should expect to wait for weeks or months to build and launch your site. Web designers must build your site from a blank canvas, writing thousands of lines of code to create an original and customized website for your business. 

Quality Issues

It isn’t always easy to find a quality web design agency. If you hire the wrong one, you could still find out the site is slow to load or has other performance issues after paying thousands of dollars for a customized website. Even worse, the developer you hired could take a long time to fix the bug in the code, adding to your frustration. Make sure to conduct thorough research on the web developer or agency’s quality of work before hiring to prevent these problems down the road.

Website Builders vs. Designers: Which To Choose?

By now, you should have a good understanding of the pros and cons of using a DIY tool or hiring a professional to build your website. If you’re a new business or making less than $100,000 in annual revenue, it is often best to use a website builder, as it will be more compatible with your budget. For more lucrative and established businesses, though, not having a professional, customized website will cost your business in sales, leading to reduced profits. 

If you want more information on how to hire website designers, we can help. Best Web Design Service Companies offers an up-to-date list of the best agencies available. Read our blog to learn more about the latest developments in the web design industry.