Max Yarchevsky is the CEO and Founder at Boxmode, an award-winning website builder operating across more than 190 countries.
Ever since the drag-and-drop website builders emerged in the early 2000s, business owners began to question their worthiness.
When I started my IT career making websites for various businesses, I often used website builders to help my clients establish their online presence. Not every business owner immediately agreed to this, and we often had to weigh the pros and cons.
After more than 15 years of using everything from web builders to hosting providers, I must say that site-building platforms sometimes do not completely cover the client’s needs. Consequently, I want to help entrepreneurs understand whether their projects need a development team or a site builder (sometimes even a free one).
When Should You Use A Website Builder?
First, I want to emphasize that there is no right or wrong way to build a website. However, you have to choose wisely before diving into the development process. Correcting mistakes that you could avoid can entail high financial costs and sometimes even reputational losses for the brand.
Website builders provide a ton of incredible opportunities for building an online presence, and they continue to evolve. However, while I might generally recommend using a website builder for all business owners, organizations sometimes need some peculiar features that none of the site-building platforms can offer.
• If your organization is looking to create a complicated website with a large volume of customization, a generic website builder might not be the best option. You may come up against some platforms’ limitations on your way.
• If your organization is building an elaborate platform that requires particular technologies to develop, I would not recommend using a website builder. To meet the specific requirements of the end user, various frameworks may need to be combined, which is hardly possible with a website builder.
If you’re considering developing a custom website rather than using a website builder, you should also know the following:
• Websites become outdated. This is not only in terms of design but also in terms of the technology it was built with. Along with its obsolescence, developers familiar with the technology become as rare as hen’s teeth. You simply may not find a specialist ready to redesign or, a far more common case, add some functionalities to your site in five years from publishing it.
At the same time, website builders usually offer cutting-edge technology as they aim to stay on the market for a long time. Plus, they keep their platforms up to date to stay competitive.
• Security issues. Reliable hosting providers monitor their servers carefully and often update their software for security purposes. There’s a danger that a relatively old custom-developed site may not support the new software of the hosting provider. This may cause the website to have security issues, malfunction or not function at all.
Website building platforms usually keep their finger on the pulse of all current security demands. They are keen to ensure that their customers’ websites remain fully protected with high-end technology. If a threat emerges, a website builder generally has more capabilities and power to react and resolve the issue at a moment’s notice.
• Sites need maintenance. Though regular website maintenance is essential, many business owners skip it. The two most popular reasons for this are underestimating its importance and saving money.
Maintenance costs for a custom website may vary depending on your site’s scale. Correcting website errors detected during maintenance can cost you a pretty penny, not to mention the time it takes to fix them. At the same time, site builders do not charge any maintenance fees. This makes them a cost-effective solution on a long-term horizon.
Challenges of Building A Site With A Website Builder
Though creating a site using a website builder is easy and cost-effective, you may still encounter some challenges. Admittedly, they are not critical, but still, you should be prepared to overcome them.
• Learning curve. If you’re new to website building, you may face a learning curve issue on some platforms, which can affect the speed of your website creation.
The first thing I recommend doing to avoid this is careful research. Start with reading reviews about the platforms you like, sign up for a free trial or a free plan and check how user-friendly and intuitive the interface is. This may take some additional time, but it can save you effort in the long run.
• Support issues. If you’re having trouble while creating a website with a site builder and can’t solve it by reading help center articles, you’ll need to contact someone from customer support.
Sometimes, reaching a real person in site builders’ support is quite a challenge. Most of them use a ticketing system for processing customer requests, meaning that you will have to wait 24 hours before you get a follow-up question or, if you’re lucky, an answer.
However, such platforms usually provide live chat options for premium subscribers, which can significantly simplify your website-building process.
• Platform issues. Like I mentioned before, website builders are usually secure. When using a site-building platform, you don’t have to worry about backups of your website; the platform takes care of it. No one is safe from various sorts of external attacks, though. So if your website builder is experiencing technical difficulties, as a user, you can do nothing more than wait until they solve those issues.
Yet you are unlikely to find yourself in this position if you choose a reliable website builder with a good reputation. Such platforms use the latest backup, monitoring and mirroring technologies to prevent your site from being out of service due to their fault.
To sum it up, the website builder’s worthiness mainly depends on whether or not you choose the right platform for your needs. I hope the aspects I drew to your attention will help and greatly simplify your choice between custom development and a ready-made solution from the website builders.