The recent rise of online website builders has enabled business owners to publish websites, landing pages etc. quickly and efficiently. Once the domain of the IT department, almost anyone can now readily build a fully functioning and attractive website. It's also undoubtedly cheaper; what once may have cost thousands of pounds and months to complete can now be published in a few hours and for just a few pounds per month.

Creating a website from scratch can be intimidating for people who’ve never done it before. If you're not familiar with HTML, CSS etc. it can be hard to know where to start. To address this, many web hosts offer as part of their hosting plan, a way for people without the necessary technical skills, to build a fully functioning website. Be aware though, that there are pros and cons to this method: just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

When looking for a host for your website, one of the first decisions you need to make is which host to use for your website. Platforms with drag and drop features like HarryAdney Internet Services, SquareSpace, Wix and Weebly can be useful for beginners and people who want to put up a simple landing page.

The Pros

  • Ease of Use. Drag and drop functionality means that within the platform you can drag widgets and design elements to create your site instead of delving into the actual HTML code.
  • Easier and cleaner designing. The main pro of using a drag and drop website builder is that you can design without knowledge in HTML or CSS. There’s no need to learn HTML because you can edit place headings, text, photos and other content.
  • Speed. The ease with which you can edit your content quickly.
  • Tech support. Some website builders will have a dedicated customer service team to help when you get stuck. Be aware though, that you may have to pay extra for support, so this could be considered a "con".

The Cons

  • You can’t personalise the site as much. The lack of customisation is where you may run into problems with your site with a drag and drop platform. There are limitations to what you can and can’t do which is restrictive.
  • Looks generic. The lack of customisation can make your site look like many other sites because you’ll be using templates that many other people are using. To combat this, take some time to do what you can to personalise. Play around with fonts, colours, and content to make your site stand out.
  • You will probably have to pay extra to remove the name and/or branding of the website builder's platform.
  • The cost. Some companies charge you extra to use their website builders with drag and drop features. Sometimes it's free as part of the hosting package, so it's well worth looking for a host that provides a free one. WordPress will host your WordPress website for free and the whole point of the platform is that you can customise it with themes, functions and your own content. On the other hand, to make your website look more professional, you'll need a domain name, which they'll charge you for.
  • Email addresses. This'll maybe cost extra too.
  • Your time. This is an almost "invisible" cost, but don't discount it; your time is literally worth money, especially if it's better spent with customers or clients!

What should you use?

Choosing a website builder depends upon the needs of your site. If your website is basic, just needing to explain what your business does and how to contact you, then a website builder with drag and drop features may be a good DIY solution. For more complicated websites, a custom website design and development would be better.

There are many tools and tutorials available online that'll show you how to build a website. Online tutorials can show you what you need to know to customise your site on almost any platform. Whether you choose to use a drag and drop builder, customise a template or build a bespoke one a website is a necessary marketing tool to build your brand and bring awareness to your business online.

What's the alternative?

Well, a good web designer/ developer will save you time and money. It could cost you more, but the end result will be a professionally designed, unique website with the functions you need and nothing you don't need and which will pay for itself over time. In fact, at HarryAdney, our highest priority is making sure that the websites we deliver for our clients have a definite ROI.

You can discuss your requirements with the designers and developers and give them feedback on their work. Don't like a design choice? Ask them to change it. Of course, like in so many cases, the customer does NOT always know best. That's where a professional design pays for their selves. It's definitely worthwhile listening to why, for instance a designer has chosen a certain colour, specific font or particular layout, because design is obviously an art as well as a technical endeavour.

In summary

Whether you choose to go the DIY, page builder route or get a professional to do a proper job, keep in mind what you want to achieve. If it’s a simple online presence that doesn’t cost you very much, and you're happy with the restrictions of a template, then by all means do so, but if you are looking for something unique and tailored to your business, it has to be bespoke.


Want to find out more about bespoke website design? Get in touch with HarryAdney!


 Friday, January 11, 2019

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